Collecting Barbie Dolls for Fun & Profit
Collecting Barbie dolls can be fun if not always profitable, and there are some things any novice doll collector needs to know to get started. Many collectors got into the hobby in the mid 1990s when prices skyrocketed and Barbie dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids and Beanie Babies were perceived as an “investments.” Those buyers have been sadly disappointed as closets full of modern Barbies are now only worth pennies on the dollar.
However, collectors who got into the hobby for nostalgia, fun and fashion have had a much more rewarding experience. While attendance at collector clubs may have fallen off since the heyday of Barbie doll collecting, doll enthusiasts around the country are still enjoying putting up doll displays and meeting with other collectors to discuss the latest Barbie doll releases.
5 Things You Need to Know to Get Started Collecting Barbies
If you are considering collecting Barbie dolls or are new to the hobby, here are five things you need to know to get started.
1. Barbie Doll Collecting as a Hobby
Barbie doll collecting is a fun hobby that can be shared with mothers and daughters as well as grandmothers and grand-daughters. The diverse amount of Barbie dolls and the fact the doll has been produced for more than 50 years means there is a wide assortment of dolls and collections to choose from. Find out more about Barbie dolls at Doll Collecting 101: Who is Barbie? Barbie Millicent Roberts – teenage fashion model by Mattel.
2. Barbie Doll Collecting as an Investment
Barbie dolls are rarely a good short-term investment. While some dolls shoot up in value at first, typically Barbie dolls drop in value shortly after they are released. Don’t buy Barbie dolls for an investment unless you are willing to store them for 20 years as toys typically start to go up in value about 20 years after they were sold in stores. For more on why people collect dolls see Doll Collecting 101: Why do people collect dolls?
3. Books and Price Guides
There is a wide assortment of books to help Barbie doll collectors identify dolls and that assign value to the dolls. The price guides are not worth much as typically prices are determined by sending forms to dealers asking for the values of dolls. Since dealers are motivated to sell high, price guide doll values are often inflated. Prices vary dramatically around the country as well as seasonally and are influenced by the current economy. A better way to determine value is to look at dolls shows and on ebay to see what prices the dolls are really getting. Also see Doll Collecting 101: Books and price guides
4. Learn What Collecting Terms & Abbreviations Mean
When you get into collecting, you will want to learn what the collecting terms mean so you can speak the language when you shop. It can be like a foreign language to read about OOAK and NRFB Barbies! For more on terms and abbreviations see Doll Collecting 101: What do doll collecting terms mean? Defining doll terms and abbreviations
5. What to Look for in a Barbie
Look for what you like. If you are collecting for nostalgia, you will probably be drawn to the dolls sold when you were a child. If you collect Barbies for the fashion, you will probably find specific collections that appeal to you. If you are looking for investment Barbies, you may want to look into vintage Barbie dolls. For more tips on examing dolls see Doll Collecting 101: How do you examine a vintage doll? Problems to look out for in vintage dolls.
For more info:
Doll Collecting 101: Do repaints and re-roots affect a doll’s value? Examining repainting/re-rooting
2009 marks Barbie Doll’s 50th anniversary: collectors celebrate Barbie’s 50th birthday
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