In 1959, Barbie was featured in a TV commercial and she sold for $3.00. A new Barbie doll doesn't cost that much more today, however, if you want to buy a vintage Barbie from the 1960s get ready to open your wallet.
Like some other baby boomers, Barbie came of age in the 1960s. The 1960s style Barbie doll reflected the style of the times, which was best exemplified by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
The 1960s-era bubble cut hairstyle is one of the most recognizable connections between Barbie and Mrs. Kennedy.
Speaking of hair, Barbie dolls were manufactured with three shades of hair: blonde, brunette, and titian (red). Some rare examples of Barbie dolls during this period had sable brown hair similar to that of movie star Elizabeth Taylor or white ginger colored hair to reflect the light colored hair of the starlet Marilyn Monroe.
Barbie's bubble cut hairstyle was not cropped short but showed full body and volume.
In 1963, Barbie dolls came with interchangeable wigs in keeping with the fashion interest of the early 1960s.
In the 1960s, Barbie's face had distinctive features including blue eyes with eyebrows to match hair color. As if Barbie stepped right out of the beauty salon,
Barbie's lipstick color matched the popular make-up used during the mid 1960s. In the early years of the 1960s, Barbie had traditional red lips - a continuation from original, circa 1959, Barbie dolls.
By 1962 and continuing for five years or so, Barbie's lips were shaded in a coral color in keeping with the trends put forth by California girls and other fashionistas of the time.
Clothes make the doll
Mattel was ever cognizant of the fact that like all contemporary girls, Barbie was a clotheshorse. Barbie dolls from the early 1960s sported a black and white striped one piece bathing suit, white sunglasses with blue lenses, black peek-a-boo toed high heels and signature pearl stud earrings.
A tip for the jewelry connoisseurs - it is common for Barbie's pearl stud earrings to leave behind a green residue on the doll's ears.
While unattractive, green ear syndrome on Barbie dolls helps to authenticate the doll.
By 1962 and throughout much of the rest of the 1960s, Barbie donned a red one-piece bathing suit, red opened-toed high heels to match and the traditional pearl stud earrings.
Barbie's red bathing suit is one of the most popular of all Barbie's outfits. It was sold as an accessory in something that Mattel marketed as a "fashion pak."
Fashion paks were accessory outfits for Barbie packaged together in plastic. The red swimsuit was part of a Helenca fashion pak sold in 1962 to 1963 including white cat eye sunglasses with blue lenses and metallic gold wedge shoes. In fact, the red swimsuit was the outfit that was included when purchasing any bubblecut or ponytail style Barbie dolls from circa 1962 to 66.
Condition is key to value for your Barbie doll from the 1960s. If you have the original packaging, that will impact value. Clothing, complete with the Barbie tags, shoes, hats, jewelry and other accessories will impact value and attract collectors to your vintage Barbie pieces. Hair color, clothing and doll skin tone all are important. If they are faded or damaged, that will negatively impact value.
The markings on Mattel's boxes for Barbie can be confusing and it is not unusual for one Barbie doll to end up in another Barbie's storage box over the years.
Once Midge is introduced to the Barbie line in 1963, the boxes will have various markings. For instance, some Barbie boxes are marked Midge T.M. 1962; Barbie 1958 by Mattel, Inc. However, in 1964, the company adds the word "Patented" to the box markings. Of course, just having the original box will help the value of your vintage Barbie doll to soar.
To get the real story, it is a good idea to look at the markings on the doll's buttocks for the date of manufacture. When evaluating Barbie dolls, there are many factors to consider, however good examples of vintage Barbie dolls from the mid-1960s in their original box command $150 to $200 to start. Of course, there are the rare occasions when Barbie has brought significantly more money from collectors. A sign of the times, Barbie remains a sought-after American collectible.
Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.
Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on Discovery channel's "Auction Kings." Visit www.drloriv.com, facebook.com/doctorlori or call 888-431-1010.