The #1 Barbie Doll
|Do you have what we collector's refer to as, the #1 Barbie® doll?|
In helping people to identify their Barbie® dolls, I have had many of them refer to their Barbie® as the "Original" Barbie® doll. Usually meaningthat they feel that their Barbie is the one that is worth thousands of dollars. It's a hard thing to have to disappoint someone when you have to tell them that their dear Barbie® is later than the first one and worth only a FRACTION of what the original is. That said, let's get on toidentifying YOUR doll!
The VERY first Barbie®doll was introduced at Toy Fair in New York City in 1959. She was created by a woman named Ruth Handler-(we just love Ruth!). The first Barbie®doll was inspired bya German cartoon character doll that was called *Lilli* that Ruth had seen on a trip to Germany.
You can easily tell if your Barbie®doll is one of the first styles introduced by looking for several very distinct features:
- First, she has round holes w/copper tubes in the bottom of her feet.
- Second, her eyes are VERY distinct. They are only white with black outlines and a bit of blue eyeshadow.
- Barbie's eyes (irises) are WHITE not BLUE as in later dolls.
- Also, #1 and #2 Barbie's eyebrow's are very arched--not rounded.
This is the face of the#1 and #2 Barbie ® doll.
Her haircolor came in both blonde and brunette (almost black).
The second type of Barbie® doll was also introduced in 1959 and she is nearly identical to the first type. The ONLY difference is that the #2 Barbie® did NOT have holes in the bottom of her feet.
Much of the time these first Barbie's lost their flesh tone and they are found with a very white, vampishlook to their skin.
The #3 Barbie, available in 1960, also often lost her skin tone. BUT, the look of Barbie® was changed at that time and she was given asweeter appearance by making her eyes less oriental looking and giving her blue irises. They also changed the eyebrows by making them more rounded, without the high arch. So, how do you tell if your Barbie® is a #3 or #4 you ask? Both came out in 1960......take a look at the following pictures.
Notice that the doll below is very pale, and has a brownish eyeshadow above her black lash ridges. This is a #3 Barbie. Did I also mention that the first three dolls smell deliciously like those Crayola Color Crayons that we played with as a child? ;)
Yup, they do!
This next picture is a #4 Barbie ® doll.
Notice that herskin tone is quite fleshy. Also, her eyeshadow is blue.
#4's and later dolls are prone to a problem that we collector's call "Green Ear Syndrome"--read further to find out about that. And #4's are alsoprone to a discoloring of their legs--a distinct, deep yellow-orangecolor to the skin that starts at the thigh and goes down to the toes. The first three dolls rarely are found with these problems.
More about Green Ear Syndrome:
This is a discoloring that is caused by oxidization of the dolls earrings being left in over a number of years. The green is a difficult thing to remove from Barbie and does affect the value of a doll! So,if you have a doll that still has her earrings in....take them out! And clean the area with soap and water, also try to get into the ear hole to clean out the excess green. If the green is really bad, you may want to leave this to a professional as the head will need to be removed for further cleaning. If the earrings are not removed, the green can spread and eventually cover the dolls complete head or more! Whew...that's probably more than you wanted to know, but it's an important factor in caring for your vintage Barbie® dolls. I hope that you found this information helpful and please remember that many styles of Barbie®doll were created from 1959 to the early 1970's. She had many hairstyles, including ponytail, boufant (what we collectors call a "Bubblecut"-this is the most common of Barbie® doll), a Page-Boy hairstyle, and many others. So many different factors affect the value of your dolls, so please, when trying to determine value, keep these variables in mind, including the condition of your doll and note that book prices are not always a good indication of the value of your items. Book prices almost always reflect dolls/outfits that have never been played with and have never been removed from their Original Boxes (Mint-In-Box).
Thank you for visiting!
By the way! If your doll does not look like any of these, then she was made AFTER 1960 no matter what the date reads on her little tush! If her behind has a roman numeral date of 1958 or a regular date of 1958 it does not mean that she was made in 1958. Mattel, Inc used the 1958 markings for many years from 1959 and into the 1960's. AND! If your doll has 1966 on her rear end and has the word MALAYSIA there too? Then she is a BRAND, NEW doll. Mattel, Inc is still using this date on dolls they make today. Have a great day! :)
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Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel Inc. The Little Doll and Karen Morley are in NO WAY affiliated/connected with Mattel or it's associates.