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Vintage Barbie Identification & Value Guide

Early Barbie: Dolls from the years 1959 to 1961

Values updated: 2016

Number 1 & Number 2 Ponytail Barbie

 
  There's really no mistaking Mattel's first Barbie dolls for any of the others because of their distinctive cat eyes and dramatically 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 used to make the body fades over time.  
 
 
  Issue Date:  1959     Model: 850    Box Date: 1959
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 skin color, small neck knob.  May have indented lines on hips (see photo of mold marks on #3 Barbie).  The #1 Barbie has holes in the feet with copper tubes inserted.  The #2 Barbie does not.  Red nails.
Marked: 
Barbie™ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
 
 
Box and Accessories sold with this Barbie doll:
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet 1959 Box (Gay Parisienne fashion bottom-right)
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet
Black Disc stand with Prongs #1/Wire #2
Black & White Swimsuit
Black Mules (open-toe shoes)
Gold Hoop Earrings
White Sunglasses

 
Value:  Average - $4500  |  Excellent w/Box - $6000
value guide key  (#1's dolls have a higher value)
 
 
 
 
 
 

Number 3 Ponytail Barbie

 
  The same faded body color as the #1 and #2's but with brown shadow makes the #3 look rather anemic.  There were less #3's made with blue shadow.  It may be difficult to tell 3's and 4's apart if the shadow is blue.  You can rely on skin color, but it's confusing because Mattel cross-utilized body parts creating "transitional" dolls.  See this image for an example.  

  Issue Date:  1960     Model: 850    Box Date: 1959
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 skin color unless she is a transitional doll (see #4 row 3 middle and this image), small neck knob.  May have indented lines on hips (see photo of mold marks below).  Red nails.
Marked:  Barbie™ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
 
 
Box and Accessories sold with this Barbie doll:
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet 1959 Box (Gay Parisienne fashion bottom-right)
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet
Black Disc stand with Wire
Black & White Swimsuit
Black Mules (open-toe shoes)
Gold Hoop Earrings
White Sunglasses

 
Value:  Average - $400  |  Excellent w/Box - $900
value guide key  (brown shadow has a higher value)
 
 
 
1960 Barbie Ponytail Barbie 3
 
 
 

Number 4 Ponytail Barbie

 
  Originally, the #4 Ponytail looked much like the #3, minus the brown shadow, but a new kind of vinyl was used for the #4's that doesn't fade like the previous dolls.  The body is still the heavy solid body, with some being marked "R" during the transition into 1961.  These #4 Ponytails age very well and retain much of their beauty from when they were brand new dolls.  
 
 
  Issue Date:  1960     Model: 850    Box Date: 1959
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.  Skin color is a lifelike flesh color unless she is a transitional doll (see row 3 middle and this image).  May have indented lines on hips (see photo of mold marks on #3 Barbie).  Red nails.
Marked:  Barbie™ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc. or
Barbie®​ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.

 
 
Box and Accessories sold with this Barbie doll:
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet 1959 Box (Gay Parisienne fashion bottom-right)
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet
Black Disc stand with Wire/Black Wire Stand
Black & White Swimsuit
Black Mules (open-toe shoes)
Gold Hoop/Pearl Earrings
White Sunglasses

 
Value:  Average - $200  |  Excellent w/Box - $500
value guide key
 
 
 
 
 
 

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 Ponytails are plagued with problems.  Often, the new plastic "sweats" and gives them what collectors call "greasy face."  The head color sometimes darkens and the leg stance is often splayed.  But they are blessed with original Barbie big luscious red lips.  #5 Ponytail Barbie  
 
 
  Issue Date: 1961     Model: 850    Box Date: 1959
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:  Light-weight hard plastic body with hollow torso, small neck knob.  Skin color is not faded and there are no mold marks on hips.  Leg stance is often splayed.  Red nails.
Marked:  Barbie®​ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.


 
Box and Accessories sold with this Barbie doll:
1959 Box (Gay Parisienne fashion bottom-right)
1961 Barbie & Ken Fashion Booklet
Black Wire Stand
Black & White Swimsuit
Black Mules (open-toe shoes)
Pearl Earrings
Optional White Sunglasses

 
Value:  Average - $125  |  Excellent w/Box - $400
value guide key
 
 
 
 
 
 

#1 Bubble Cut Barbie

 
  A new Barbie with a bouffant hairdo!  #1 Bubble cuts have shorter, tighter hairdos than later Bubbles, the same big Barbie red lips as early Ponytails, and unfortunately, the same problems as the #5 Ponytails; greasy face, darkened face and splayed stance.  The rare 1961 Bubbles are Brownettes (Brown Sable) with light brunette hair and White Gingers originally with pink lips and white-blonde hair.   
 
 
  Issue Date:  1961     Model: 850    Box Date: 1959
Hair Color:
  Brunette, Titian, shades of Blonde and the rare colors: white ginger and 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.  Sometimes have a "greasy" face or darkened face.
Body:  Light-weight hard plastic body with hollow torso, small neck knob.  Later Bubbles have large neck knob and wider face. Original skin color is retained.  No mold marks on hips.  Leg stance is often splayed.  Red nails.
Marked:  Barbie®​ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
 
 
Box and Accessories sold with this Barbie doll:
1959 Box (Gay Parisienne fashion bottom-right)
1961 Barbie & Ken Fashion Booklet
Black Wire Stand
Black & White Swimsuit
Black Mules (open-toe shoes)
Pearl Earrings
Optional White Sunglasses

 
Value:  Average - $75  |  Excellent w/Box - $300
value guide key
 
 
 
 
 
 

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 the flocking and some have greasy faces and faded body color like Barbie.  Rare Kens are JC Penney's flocked Ken with light brown hair (see image below and with red towel).  Some have painted legs.  
 
 
  Issue Date:  1961     Model: 750    Box Date: 1961
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:  Light-weight hard plastic body with hollow 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.

 
 
Box and Accessories sold with this Barbie doll:
1961 Ken Box (Black Striped Trunks graphic)
1961 Barbie & Ken Fashion Booklet
Black Wire Stand
Red Knit Trunks (later Cotton Trunks)
Red and White Striped Jacket
Red Cork Sandals
Yellow Terrycloth Towel

 
Value:  Average - $35  |  Excellent w/Box - $90
value guide key
 
 
 
Brownette Ken
 
 
 

Explanation of Vintage Barbie Values

The 2016 Vintage Barbie doll values listed on this page are meant to give someone new to Vintage Barbie collecting an approximate idea of value.

Values vary wildly depending on the condition of the doll and the conditions of the sale.  In general, dolls being sold in person or by established dealers that collectors trust will bring more than dolls being sold on eBay because of the fraud risk eBay poses.  The value also depends on how pretty or handsome the doll is. :-)  Stunningly beautiful, cute or handsome individual dolls will sometimes bring much more than the average value.

Average:
This is based on loose dolls, no clothing or accessories, that are in played-with condition but have no major damage.

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.  Ken may have a few hair rubs, but he is not missing large amounts of flocking.
• May have small rubs on the lips or eyebrows but is not missing a lot of the lip or eyebrow paint.
• Does not have a combination major damage such as missing digits, green ear, gouges, nose nips, swingy limbs, darkened face or stained body parts.
Excellent w/box:
This is based on dolls with the original box, outfit and accessories that have excellent face paint or very minor restoration, minor body issues, full head of flocking with only tiny spots (Ken).  Very few Ponytails have the original top and bottom bands because the rubber bands disintegrate, so a professional restyle is common.  A doll with both original bands still in place would be considered never-played-with, possibly near mint. 

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

 
 
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