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Vintage Barbie Identification & Value Guide

The Beginning:  1959 to 1961 Mattel Barbie Dolls

Originally Published:  November 2009   |   Updated:  February 2014

Number 1 & Number 2 Ponytail Barbie

 
  There's really no mistaking Mattel's first Barbie dolls for any of the others because of their dramatic cat eyes and arched eyebrows.  The #1 and #2 Ponytail are just alike except the #1 will have holes in the feet and the #2 will not.  Most likely the doll will be very pale or even a ghostly green because the vinyl that was used to make the body fades over time.  
 
 
  Issue Date:  1959     Model:  850
Hair Color:
  Blonde/Brunette (might look strawberry blonde), flocked head.
Face:  No iris eye color, heavy eyeliner, dramatically arched blonde or brown eyebrows and large red lips (might fade to reddish-orange).
Body:
  Heavy solid body that smells of crayons, faded and pale, small neck knob.  The #1 Barbie has holes in feet with copper tubes inserted.  The #2 Barbie does not.  Red nails.
Marked: 
Barbie™ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
Average Value:  $3000 - 7000 value guide key  (#1's more $$ #2's)

Accessories sold with the Barbie doll : 
1959 Barbie Fashion BookletBlack & White Swimsuit
Black Mules
Gold Hoop Earrings
White Sunglasses
Black Disc stand with Prongs
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet (left - cover graphic)

 
 
 
 
 
 

Number 3 Ponytail Barbie

 
  The same faded body with brown eye shadow makes the #3 Ponytail look rather anemic.  But that's what collectors love -- the brown shadow is preferred even though less were made with blue.  It's sometimes difficult to tell the 3's and 4's apart if the shadow is blue.  You have to rely on skin color, but it's still confusing because Mattel cross-utilized body parts.  See this.  

  Issue Date:  1960     Model:  850
Hair Color:
  Blonde/Brunette (might look strawberry blonde), flocked head.
Face:
  Blue eyes, blonde or brown brows, blue or brown eye shadow, red lips (might fade to reddish-orange).  Less dolls painted with blue shadow.
Body: 
Heavy solid rubbery body that smells like crayons, faded and pale, small neck knob.  Red nails.
Marked:  Barbie™ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
Average Value:  $300 - $850 value guide key

Accessories sold with the Barbie doll : 
1959 Barbie Fashion BookletBlack & White Swimsuit
Black Mules
Gold Hoop Earrings
White Sunglasses
Black Disc Stand with Wire
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet (left - cover graphic)

 

 
 
 
1960 Barbie Ponytail Barbie 3
 
 
 

Number 4 Ponytail Barbie

 
  Originally, the #4 Ponytail looked much like the #3, minus brown shadow, but a new vinyl was used for the #4's that doesn't fade like the previous dolls so the #3's and #4's look very different today.  The body is still the heavy solid body, and some were marked "R" during the transition into 1961.  The head is more supple.  These #4 Ponytails age very well and, I think, are very underappreciated.  
 
 
  Issue Date:  1960     Model:  850
Hair Color:
  Blonde/Brunette (might look strawberry blonde).  Flocked head.
Face:
  Blue eyes, blonde or brown brows, red lips, blue eye shadow only.
Body:  Heavy solid rubbery body that smells like crayons, small neck knob.  Red nails.
Marked:  Barbie™ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc. or
Barbie®​ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
Average Value:  $175 - $350
value guide key

Accessories sold with the Barbie doll : 
1959 Barbie Fashion BookletBlack & White Swimsuit
Black Mules
Gold Hoop or Pearl Earrings
White Sunglasses
Black Disc Stand with Wire or Black Wire Stand
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet (left - cover graphic)

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Number 5 Ponytail Barbie

 
  The #5 Ponytail's had a new hollow body and  poodle curls gone in favor of big coarse curls.  The #5's are plagued with problems.  Often, the new plastic "sweats" and makes the face look greasy, the head darkens and/or leg stance is splayed.  But they are blessed with original Barbie big luscious red lips and are a challenge for collectors to find without these problems. #5 Ponytail Barbie  
 
 
  Issue Date:  1961     Model:  850
Hair Color:
  Blonde/Brunette/Titian.  Big coarse curls.  No flocking.
Face:  Blue eyes, light blonde, brown or reddish brows, blue eye shadow and red lips.  Sometimes the doll has a greasy-looking face.
Body:  Hollow torso, small neck knob.  Red nails.  Often leg stance is splayed.
Marked:  Barbie®​ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
Average Value: $100 - $350 value guide key

Accessories sold with the Barbie doll : 
1961 B&K Fashion BookletBlack & White Swimsuit
Black Mules
Pearl Earrings
Optional White Sunglasses
Black Wire Stand
1961 B&K Fashion Booklet (left - cover graphic)

 

 
 
 
#5 Barbie oily face
 
 
 

Number 1 Bubble Cut Barbie

 
  A new Barbie with a bouffant hairdo!  The first Bubbles are very distinct from the others.  They had tight, short bubbles, the big red lips and, unfortunately, they still have the same problems as the #5's:  greasy and/or darkened face and splayed stance.  The rare 1961 Bubbles are the white ginger and the brownette.  Krista of "Doll Restoration" describes 1961 White Gingers.  
 
 
  Issue Date:  1961     Model:  850
Hair Color:
  Brunette, Titian, shades of Blonde and the rare colors: white ginger and brown sable aka brownette (see middle photos below).
Face:  Blue eyes, blonde, brown or reddish brows, blue shadow and red lips. Gingers have pink lips, turquoise eyes and green-blue eye shadow.
Body:  Hollow torso, small neck knob.  Red nails.  Often leg stance is splayed.
Marked:  Barbie®​ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
Average Value:  $45 - $175
value guide key

Accessories sold with the Barbie doll : 
1961 B&K Fashion BookletBlack & White Swimsuit
Black Mules
Pearl Earrings
Optional White Sunglasses
Black Wire Stand
1961 B&K Fashion Booklet (left - cover graphic)

 
 
 
 
 
 

Number 1 Flocked Ken

  First issue Ken dolls had "lifelike" flocked hair, so there's no problem distinguishing them from later painted-hair Kens.  They also have larger eyebrows.  Many have lost their flocking and some have greasy faces and faded body color like early Barbie.  Rare Kens are JC Penney's flocked Ken with light brown hair(see below, and with red towel) and some have painted legs. First Ken Doll  
 
 
  Issue Date:  1961     Model:  750
Hair Color:
  Blonde/Brunette.  A rare Ken doll issued by JC Penney had light brown hair (see photo below).
Face:  Blue eyes, brown or reddish brows, mauve lips.
Body:  Hollow plastic torso.  Some early Ken dolls have painted legs.  Some bodies fade to ivory or ghostly green like early ponytails do and some have "greasy" faces like the #5 Ponytails.
Marked:  Ken™ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLX by Mattel, Inc.
Average Value:  $10 -  $75
value guide key

Accessories sold with the Ken doll :
1961 B&K Fashion BookletRed Trunks or Red with White Stripe
Red and White Striped Jacket
Red Cork Sandals
Optional Yellow Towel
Black Wire Stand
1961 B&K Fashion Booklet (left - cover graphic)

 
 
 
Brownette Ken
Flocked Hair Ken
 
 
 

Explanation of Vintage Barbie Values

The 2014 Vintage Barbie doll values listed on this page are meant to give someone new to Vintage Barbie collecting an approximate idea of value.  Value depends greatly on the condition of the doll and the conditions of the sale.

Values given are based on dolls in average condition -- not near mint dolls with original box and accessories, and likewise, not a doll with major damage such as missing digits, green ear, cut hair, gouges, or swingy limbs.

Examples:

  • Barbie's hair may be missing the original hair bands and be out of the original style, but there are no haircuts or missing plugs
  • She may have a lip rub or rubbed eyebrow, but she is not missing all of her lip or eyebrow paint
  • Ken may have a few hair rubs, but he is not missing large amounts of flocking.
  • The doll might be in great condition, no problems -- it just shows minor playwear

Dolls being sold by established dealers that collectors trust or being sold in person will bring more than dolls being sold on eBay because of the fraud risk eBay poses.

The amounts posted do not include values for rare versions of the dolls.

 
 
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