In order to know the value of a Barbie doll, it is essential to know the model of the doll and its year of release. Barbie dolls can be easily identified because they all have marks on the buttocks, feet and back of the head. Sometimes you will find marks on the stomach, but it is usually only the mould number and not the year the doll was produced. We list here the different differentiating criteria that help you to identify your doll.
However, nowhere on the Internet is there a site that allows you to identify your Barbie doll based on this information. That’s what we’re trying to do with Barbie Doll Database, but it’s a titan’s job and we need you to help us get images and information on the thousands of existing Barbie models.
Height of the doll
The height of the doll can give you an idea of the year of manufacture, as for example for Ken dolls. Ken from 1963 was indeed a little smaller than Ken from 1962.
The size of the neck or more precisely the button on which the head is placed can give you a clue as well as the year of the doll. Take the 1961 Barbie Bubblecut, it had a smaller neck than the 1963 Bubblecut doll.
The eyes are another identification help. The direction in which the eyes look, or the color of the eyeliner are other ways to determine the year of the Barbie doll.
The first vintage Barbie dolls used a mould with divided fingers. By 1968, Barbie moulds were still in use, but the fingers were not completely divided: this is what we call Francie’s hands. Some dolls were made in Mexico, which gave the doll long, thin hands with undivided fingers: these dolls are called Mexican hands dolls. And of course, it varies from doll to doll!
The very first Barbie Ponytail actually had holes in the bottom of her feet with copper tubes to fit her stand. Other dolls have written “made in Japan” on their feet. Looking at the underside of the feet can also give you clues about the doll you have, even if most of the time now they no longer have any marks.
Let’s take the example of Skipper. It is about the same as it was in 1964 when it was reissued in 1970. Except that in 1970, she had a much more pink complexion. Some dolls will have different skin colors depending on their country of manufacture. This can increase the value. Take the Japanese doll American Girl, it will have a pinker complexion than the American version which has a more tanned complexion.
Hair colour can also help to determine the price. Some dolls have been made with a magical hair color (which changes color upon contact with water or heat), and others with a rare platinum color. You will find some of them with a light brown hair color which is also very rare. Depending on the doll and their standard hair colour, something a little different influences the value. Also hair style can have an impact on the price. An unusual hairstyle (on the model sold, not one you made yourself) changes the value of your Barbie.
You will find the TM (trademark) mark on the first Barbie Ponytail dolls (1959-1960) and on some of the following dolls. This is the abbreviation for Trademark. Most recent dolls had only a ® in the marking.
Sellers will describe Barbie using letters C-1 to C-10, with C-1 describing a doll in very poor condition, that has been played a lot, and a C-10 Barbie doll would be a “new condition” also presented as M/C doll.
NRFB, stands for “never removed from box”. Even if the toy is brand new, if it has been removed from the box even once, it will be worth from 20 to 25% less. Yes, it’s a huge loss for only a box!
Other abbreviations used are NMIB for Near Mint in Box or MIP for Mint in Package.
A/O is for “all original”, OOB means “out of box”.
A lot of these abbreviations are also used in other languages, for example in French, MINT is quite a common word for collectors.
Country and year
The first toys of 1959-1972 were all made in Japan, meanwhile you will also find Barbie Dolls of 1968-1990 made in Mexico. A few Barbie dolls from 1970 were created in Hong Kong or Taiwan. In 1973, some of them were done in Korea. It’s difficult to have a real easy history of this…
More recent reproductions and dolls
Most of the dolls from 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1990 were made in the Philippines, China or Malaysia. There are also dolls from the 90s made in Indonesia.