Collectible Barbie Doll
Barbie and Ken The First
Explore the wonderful world of the Barbie Doll. Since the beginning the Barbie doll has been a toy not just something to look at. My children have played with Barbie and Ken for years and I am reaching into my 60's today. Today it is not the Barbie and Ken that my kids grew up with, oh no, today there is a Barbie in almost every conceivable nationality. "In the 1950s Ruth Handler, "creator" of the Barbie doll, noticed that her daughter, Barbara, preferred to play with dolls that resembled adults rather than infants. At that time, most three-dimensional dolls were made to look like babies or small children; however, Barbara preferred playing with paper dolls that looked like adults. Realizing that there was a hole in the marketplace, Handler suggested the idea of a three-dimensional adult-bodied doll to her husband, Elliot Handler, a co-founder of the Mattel toy company, but the idea was scoffed at. Mattel's directors told her that it would be impossible to create such a doll.
However, during a trip to Germany with her daughter, Handler discovered a German doll named Lilli in a shop window. The adult-figured Lilli doll was exactly what Handler had in mind, so she purchased three of them. She gave one to her daughter and took the others back to Mattel.
The Lilli doll was based on a popular character appearing in a comic strip drawn by Reinhard Beuthin for the newspaper Die Bild-Zeitung. Lilli was a fashionable "society girl" who knew what she wanted and wasn't above using men to get it. The Lilli doll was first sold in Germany in 1955. Although the doll was initially marketed to adult men in bars and tobacco shops, it eventually became popular with children, who enjoyed dressing her up in outfits that were available separately. The doll was so popular, she was even exported to other countries, including the United States.
At some point, Mattel acquired the rights to the Lilli doll. A new sculpt was designed (with help from engineer Jack Ryan), the concept was revamped, and the doll was given a new name: Barbie, after Handler's daughter, Barbara. The doll made its debut at the New York International American Toy Fair on March 9, 1959. (This date is also used as Barbie's official "birthday".)
The first Barbie doll wore a black-and-white "zebra-striped" swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail with tightly-curled bangs. The dolls were available either as blonds or brunettes. In succeeding years, Barbie dolls were made available with other hair styles and colors. The doll was marketed as a "Teen-age Fashion Model", so many fashions were available for her as well. Barbie's wardrobe was designed by esteemed Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson, whose inspiration came from the fashion runways of Paris.
Ruth Handler stated that she felt it was "important to a little girl's self-esteem to play with a doll that [had] breasts", believing it would allow them role-play and imagine their future lives as adult women. However, Barbie's exaggerated proportions have always been a point of contention for her detractors. Mattel asserts that Barbie's exaggerated proportions are necessary to allow clothes to fit properly on such a small scale, but many have suggested that Barbie's unrealistic proportions may contribute to self-esteem and body image problems in young girls. Mattel has adjusted Barbie's proportions in recent years as an answer to current fashion trends, but the present Barbie doll body is still uncharacteristic of most women.
The Barbie doll is a $1.9 billion dollar a year industry. Mattel has claimed that approximately three Barbie dolls are sold every second.
Biography of Barbara Millicent Roberts
Barbie's fictional biography has developed with her continued sales. She has been given the fuller name Barbara Millicent Roberts, and a family and friends have been manufactured for her, starting with her beau Ken. Additions to the family tree include Skipper (debut 1964), twins Tutti and Todd (1966), Stacie (1992), Kelly (1995), and baby Krissy (1999). Barbie and Ken began dating in 1961, but broke up in early 2004. Rumor has it that the end of their 43 year romance was at least partly due to Ken's reluctance to get married. After a long estrangement, Barbie was reunited with her best friend Midge in the early nineties. Other longstanding friends in Barbie's ethnically diverse social circle include Hispanic Teresa, African-American Christie and Steven (ostensibly Christie's boyfriend), and the ethnically-ambiguous Kayla.
Barbie has been said to attend Willows High School in Willows, Wisconsin and Manhattan International High School in New York City (based on the real-life Stuyvesant High School). Barbie has thirty-eight recorded pets, including cats and dogs, horses, a panda, a lion cub, and a zebra. Barbie has used her driver's license to the fullest, with pink convertibles, trailers and more. She also has a pilot's license, and operates commercial airliners, when not serving as a flight attendant". All from the Wikipedia of the net.
Like other things the Barbie has had off shoots from other places. We have now really started to recognize the Barbie as a hugh collector fancy. Some of the early Barbies have been bringing a handsome price in the collector circle. If you are interested in Barbie we have some collectors that are considering giving up some of these wonderful Barbie Dolls. Talk about exciting the collector's world is about to turn upside down as we go through the next few years and all of the baby boomers catch on to the doll collecting business. Unfortunately we of us that are getting older who have appreciated the collecting of dolls have to give way to the youngsters of the future and new collectors are getting excited as older collectors give up their collections. I don't say that lightly either, the business of collecting dolls has a new meaning since ebay came along. Now collectors can see what a collectors doll is and what it is really worth to other collectors. We do of course have the antique collector doll like the Jumeau, Bru, Steiner, Huret and all of the great new manufactures of the modern dolls like Lee Middleton, Madame Alexander, American dolls, American Girl, American Girl Doll, Bratz and a host of others that are waiting in the wings to become collectible dolls. The fine bisque porcelain, wood, plastic, vinyl, paper, china and other materials will be replaced by other unknown materials that will last longer, be tougher, be almost carefree to clean and thanks to all of the doll makers before us we have learned new processes to make them faster. We will never replace the original Terri Lee, Bratz, American Girl, or any others like Barbie for collectors desire.
These names will always stand out in our minds as long as there are collectors like you and I to keep the market alive.
Barbie Terri Lee Jumeau Bru Steiner Huret Madame Alexander
Note: All prices in US Dollars