All about collecting barbies

Barbie dolls have been popular for years but more and more people are collecting them for fun. Check out these tips to get started!

In 1959 Ruth Handler watched her young daughter playing with paper dolls and wondered why there were only baby dolls on the market. After all, babies were fine but what if someone put out a doll that depicted a young woman and all the possible futures that could happen? She named this teenage girl doll Barbie, after her daughter - and history was made!

In over forty years since the first Barbie hit the market there's been many different styles and lines branching off the original doll. Ken arrived on the stage along with Skipper and a plethora of accessories for Barbie to use as well as fashions that would put any Milan model to shame. And as those young girls grew up with Barbie they began to collect the many different themed dolls, creating a market for collectible Barbies that thrived and grew until it became a major market in it's own right.

Maybe it started when you opened that old box in the garage and found some prized old Barbie doll from your youth; or perhaps you spotted some doll on the shelf that grabbed your attention and now you want to get into collecting this popular doll - but where to start? Read on for tips to get your feet wet in the world of collecting Barbies!



First, decide which type of collector you wish to be - the Barbie doll has a variety of different lines that offer something to everyone under the sun as far as choice goes. Maybe you're into celebrities - the Celebrity Barbie shows off her ability to transform herself into such stars as Lucille Ball and Diana Ross. Or why not travel around the world with the Dolls of the World, depicting Barbie in the traditional costumes of Holland, Imperial Russia and the Pacific Islands, among others. Looking for something a bit more upperclass? Well, check out the Designer Line with Barbie wearing the latest and hottest fashions designed by no other than Bob Mackie and DKNY!

As you can see, there's so much choice that a new collector can be easily overwhelmed. But take heart, there's thousands of Barbie collectors out there who will be able to help you out. Many books and websites are dedicated to displaying their collections as well as help others complete their collection or start one.

Let's look over a few rules for the discrimating buyer and get you off on the right foot. First, Barbies that are still in the original box and unopened are worth more than one that's been pulled out and played with. Sad to say, your little girl's collection may be worth more if she doesn't sit around on the floor and play with them. Mind you, some of the more expensive models aren't really suited to the wear and tear of a child's play anyway. It may take some explaining, but your dolls are worth more staying sealed in the box over time.

But even sealed boxes can fall prey to moist dark spaces, growing mold and deteriorating over time. Make sure that your dolls are in a well-ventilated area with dim light, allowing them to stay fresh. Direct sunlight may cause some of the colors on the fabrics and the box to fade so keep them away from the windows. And keeping them out of the eager nimble fingers of children and the teeth of animals goes without saying.

One of the things that you need to keep in mind, however, is that the hot new doll you just stood in line for three hours to purchase is not guaranteed to go up in value. Sometimes they even go down in value over time, depending on the number out on the market and the popularity of that particular line! So be a discriminating collector and buy what appeals to you, not necessarily what you think will be double or triple its original value in a few years.

There are many Barbie collector clubs around the country and around the world that can help the new collector decide what lines to collect as well as how to display and maintain them properly. As well, they can help you avoid potential counterfeit dolls and estimate your collection with an eye towards the future. If you check your local library you may also find some of the many books printed that deal exclusively with the collectability of this popular young woman. And don't forget the Internet websites devoted to Barbie as well! Conventions are also happening all the time, allowing collectors to meet and discuss their activities as well as helping each other out.

Over the past forty years Barbie has been a doctor, an astronaut and a fashion model, among others. She's showing no signs of slowing down in this new century and for the avid Barbie fan becoming a collector can be a great new hobby, leading to new friends and much more. Why not check out what this new adventure can hold for you?

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