November 21, 2023
18 hours ago
November 24, 2023
Hi Barbie! With Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie crushing the Summer box office, there are more Barbie fans than ever before. And, while the toy franchise has been entertaining and empowering girls for 64 years, there has never been a better time to become immersed in the wide world of Barbie collecting! There’s obviously a lot to learn with over six decades’ worth of history and dolls on the market, but don’t let that overwhelm you. We took the time to compile as much knowledge as we possibly could into this guide to help new and old Barbie fans on their journey, just as any good resident of Barbieland would! Make sure to stick around to the end for some of the rarest and most valuable Barbie dolls on the market today.
Note: As cool as Ryan Gosling is, we will only be covering Barbie dolls in this guide. There’s probably a market for Kens, but we all know who the real star of the show is.
As is true with any kind of collector’s item, there are a handful of factors that determine the value of a Barbie doll. These are all things to keep in mind when you’re hunting for the best deals, so be sure to pay close attention!
Now that you have a better understanding of what to look for when determining a Barbie doll’s value, we have a few tips to share with you in regard to collecting and selling the little divas.
Search engines, collector’s forums, and chat rooms are your friends. Use them to gather as much information as you can about potential acquisitions. Other tools like Google Trends can help you identify the whims of the Barbie collector’s market, and of course there are always professional collectors and auction houses you can consult.
Comprehensive research is crucial in any pursuit, but especially the pursuit of valuable Barbies in a notoriously fickle market.
Once you have a collection, what do you do with it? The best thing to do would be to make sure they are preserved as safely as possible until the time is right to sell them. This means keeping your Barbies in a cool, dry place that is safe from direct sunlight, and avoiding handling them near sharp objects. There’s nothing worse than an accidental haircut! Dust can also present an issue, so proper casing should be considered. We recommend acid-free boxes and tissue paper for maximum safety.
Keeping your collection pristine will preserve its condition, but it’ll also protect your reputation as a collector. Becoming known as someone who always delivers high-quality goods is a great thing in those circles.
Your first instinct when it comes to finding buyers for your collection will likely be to turn to eBay. And you know what? That’s not a bad idea! eBay is a great place to auction off your Barbies, and you’ll also benefit from building up a positive reputation on that platform over time.
However, there are other options for selling. You could approach the very same forums, chat rooms, and social media groups you collected in your research phase as potential venues for sale. The people in these groups tend to know what things are worth and will drive a hard bargain, but at least you know you’re dealing with knowledgeable clientele.
Note: You might be surprised to know that Etsy is also a great place to sell Barbies and other vintage collectibles. The site grew its reputation on the DIY crafters who sell their goods there, but there are also plenty of people who sell collectibles and other items as well.
Mattel is always on the ball creating new Barbie products, and that fact is a double-edged sword. It means there are always new Barbies just over the horizon to keep an eye on, but it also means that a large percentage of them will be mass-produced dolls that are unlikely to grow in value for many, many years.
However, with the release of The Barbie Movie, you can be sure that the dolls created to tie into the film are easy pickings for high-value collector’s items.
Here are a few up-and-coming Barbies for 2023 that you might want to stock up on:
This Barbie doll features the iconic Western look from the film, complete with flared pants and a cowboy hat. This one is a target-exclusive.
This doll is a re-release of Christie that celebrates her 55th anniversary! It oozes 1960s style from the box to the choice of clothing, and it’s definitely one collectors will want on their shelves. Just look at the boots!
This Barbie is a collaboration between Mattel and Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei. Its chic couture outfit and tasteful accessories celebrate Asian culture and the Lunar New Year in a way that only Barbie can.
This Barbie from 2022 celebrates Mexican culture with a highly-detailed dress and intricate face paint that represents Dia De Muertos.
*Note: This Barbie is sold out, but it seems that a limited edition Dia de Muertos Barbie is released every year. You can find the 2023 edition here.*
This Barbie is another iconic look from the film, this time featuring the bright in-line skating costume Barbie and Ken wear when they first make it to the Real World. It has a relatively low MSRP, but it seems to be in short supply already. It is being sold for double or even triple the price in most places.
Weird Barbie’s popularity must have come as a surprise to Mattel, because she’s the only doll that wasn’t ready to go on shelves alongside her co-stars when the movie premiered. Not to worry, you can now pre-order your very own Weird Barbie doll for your collection.
As long as you don’t mind it arriving a year later.
Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The rarest and most expensive Barbies in 2023. This section will cover a little bit of history about each doll as well as their original MSRP and what they sold for most recently.
Hold on to your hats, because these numbers get a little outrageous.
Note: The information for the following section was obtained from eBay. This doesn’t include the many private sales or auctions that have occurred recently, but will still give you a good idea of what these Barbies are worth. In some cases, the sale prices might have been higher elsewhere!
Original MSRP: N/A
Most Recent Sale Price: $85,000
Mattel partnered with De Beers Diamond Company just before the turn of the millennium to commemorate a milestone with the De Beers 40th Anniversary Barbie. The finished doll wears an evening gown bestowed with a total of 160 diamonds, and has white gold jewelry and accessories to match it. (Source: Luxuo.com)
Only one of these was ever made, and it retailed for $85,000. Easily making it one of the most expensive Barbie dolls in history.
Original MSRP: $3
Most Recent Sale Price: $16,000 (August 4th, 2023)
Barbie’s legacy began in March 1959, when the original Barbie doll debuted at the American International Toy Fair in New York City. The creator of the Barbie brand, Ruth Handler, was inspired to create the original Barbie by Germany’s Lilli doll which had come around several years before. Now, more than sixty years later, Barbie is worth more than 700 million and responsible for $1.49 billion in sales in 2022 alone. Needless to say, these vintage Barbies are highly sought after. Understandably, the first Barbie doll that launched the brand is the most valuable Barbie doll in the minds of many Barbie collectors. (Source: TheCultureTrip.com)
The first ever Barbie was originally priced at $3 in 1959. That would be just over $31 adjusted for inflation. Most modern Barbies have an average price of $25, so Barbie is actually beating inflation!
Original MSRP: $200
Most Recent Sale Price: ~$4,999 (July 26th, 2023)
This 2014 collaboration between Barbie designer Robert Best and fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld oozes with his signature style. This doll is also notable for featuring a brand-new face sculpt for Barbie, which has since been labeled the “Karl Lagerfeld face”. It has skyrocketed in value since the passing of Karl Lagerfeld in 2019.
This Barbie doll was intended to be mass-produced as a Gold Label Barbie, but Lagerfeld allegedly didn’t want poor people to be able to afford her. The Karl Lagerfeld Barbie was instead produced as a Platinum Label doll with only 999 units made, making it one of the rarer dolls in the brand. (Source: Barbie.Fandom.com)
Estimated worth: $15,000
Estimated Sale Price at Auction: $4,250
The Blonds have been designing iconic fashion for big names for nearly two decades, and they added Barbie to their hallowed list of clients in 2013. The aptly named Pink Diamond Barbie was inspired by a look from their 2008 showcase, and is covered in pink diamonds from head to toe. Its decadence makes it one of the most valuable Barbie dolls available.
While this Barbie has an estimated worth of $15,000, it seems that it made far less than that at auction. The highest number we were able to find in association with this doll’s sale was $4,250. (Source: ABCNews.Go.com)
Estimated Worth: $25,000
Most Recent Sale Price: $7,500
Mattel called on the Council of Fashion Designers of America to design a special Barbie doll in 2010, and the result was this rather extravagant Lorraine Schwartz Barbie. $25,000 worth of diamond-encrusted bracelets, earrings, and a letter “B” belt make this one an exceedingly valuable doll. (Source: NY.Racked.com)
Thankfully, this Barbie’s sale went toward a good cause. The proceeds from the $7,500 charity auction benefitted the Children Affected by Aids Foundation. (Source: ProfessionalJeweller.com)
Original MSRP: $250
Most Recent Sale Price: $3,500 (August 19th, 2023)
As part of the Women of Royalty line, Mattel produced this limited edition doll – the Marie Antoinette Barbie. The detailing of this particular doll set a new standard when it was released, and as it was a limited edition it was produced in quantities of 35,000 or less (according to the definition of the Limited Edition tier in this official post on the Mattel forums.) Its recent price tag on the collector’s market is nothing to sniff at, but it’s original MSRP of $250 also makes it one of the most expensive Barbie dolls to ever be on store shelves. (Source: TheDollDaily.com)
This Barbie wears a replica of the diamond necklace that caused quite a scandal in the 1780s. King Louis XV had the necklace made for one of his mistresses but died before its completion. His successor offered it to Marie Antoinette, but she refused it multiple times. In reality, she never wore the necklace. (Source: Wikipedia)
Original MSRP: $59.99
Most Recent Sale Price: $1,551.99 (August 19th, 2023)
Another Barbie gem from 2003 is the City Smart Barbie. This special Silkstone Barbie was produced in shockingly small quantities. Just 600 dolls were made, and only 200 were sold to Barbie Collector’s Club members in America. The rest of them were sold exclusively in Japan. (Source: WorthPoint.com)
“Silkstone” was a new material for Barbie products introduced in the 2000s. It was essentially a harder, more durable plastic that simulated porcelain. It also made the dolls heavier and more premium feeling, which justified the more expensive Barbie dolls. (Source: MyVintageBarbies.com)
Original MSRP: N/A
Most Recent Sale Price: $302,000
This Cubism-inspired, very expensive Barbie doll was designed by Stefano Canturi. The Italian/Australian Jewelry designer was commissioned by Mattel to create a few unique pieces for a very special doll, including a necklace and matching ring.
There is only one Stefano Canturi Barbie in existence, and it sold at auction for an eye-watering $302,000 – the highest price anyone has paid for a Barbie at this point in time. Whoever now owns this Barbie is probably holding on to it for dear life!
The Stefano Canturi Barbie was auctioned off at Christie’s in New York to raise money for breast cancer research. One of the most valuable Barbie dolls is also one of the most charitable! (Source: Luxuo.com)
With Barbie constantly evolving as a brand, there will always be new and exciting products to look forward to. How many of those products end up being collector’s items will be determined by time – or Barbie’s marketing department – but you can’t put a price on the joy they’ll bring people of all ages.
Mike Alexander is a video game enthusiast, a chronicler of the 90s, and a collector of many things. Born in the mid-90s, he was able to catch the wave of some of the best things the decade had to offer, like Power Rangers, Pokémon, Bagel Bites, the list goes on. Despite the amount of time that has passed, he still enjoys many of those things today! If he’s not writing or gaming, he’s probably wondering why Warriors of Virtue didn’t take off the same way Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did.
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