September 22, 2011Vintage Barbie Tutorial
By Sara In AZ
Gosh y’all, I sure do love me some vintage Barbies! I have ever since I was a kid in the 70s. When I was living in Tennessee, back then, my friend Tiffany had her Mom’s old Barbie dressed in this black sparkle-y lounge singer outfit. I was obsessed with this doll. I am not kidding you. She was like no other Barbie I had seen. She had legs that would not bend and make-up to die for. It just did not compare to my tanned Malibu Barbie and her polyester outfit. In my 8 year old mind I thought you could just go on up to the toy store and buy one of these Barbies off the shelf. Ummmmmm, no little Sara, that’s not how it works.
Thus began my love affair with antique stores, garage sales, and vintage Barbie.
I have had to sell some of my vintage Barbie stuff over the years when I needed money, so I would not call my vintage collection huge for how long I have collected Barbie. Gosh, I guess it’s been over 30 years now! Yikes!!!!
I don’t really avidly buy vintage Barbie these days. I will buy her if it’s a deal I just cannot pass up. Once I found an old Barbie for sale at the Texas antique sales for only $20. She was in great condition with some original outfits – totally could not pass that up!
Ruth recently went to an estate sale that had some vintage Barbie stuff advertised. I asked her if she could check out the Barbie stuff when she went. I knew she did not really know tons about vintage Barbie so I tried to give her a little overview. Unfortunately, all the Barbie stuff was sold by the time Ruth got to the sale, but she thought the overview I put together was pretty interesting. I thought y’all might be interested in a little Barbie history too, so here goes!
The first Barbies manufactured were ponytails. They all had this style of ponytail with the curly bangs in front. This particular doll pictured below was manufactured in the early 1960s, as she is more tan and has the more firm bangs. The very early Barbies were all very pale skinned and had softer hair available in either blonde or dark brown/black hair. The later versions of ponytails and other hairstyles included a red hair color.
Here is another version of a ponytail Barbie. This doll is called a Swirl Ponytail Barbie. She was manufactured more into the mid 1960s. These dolls came with side-swept bangs and a little yellow ribbon tied at the bottom of the ponytail. This Swirl Barbie is wearing an outfit from the early 1960s called After 5.
Here is a blonde version of a Swirl ponytail. I just LOVE those big white lips, which are totally original! This Swirl Barbie is wearing an outfit from the early 1960s called Winter Holiday.
A side note, all vintage Barbies originally came with the black wire stands, the earliest dolls came with black plastic pedestal stands with a wire top.
Here is a different version of Barbie manufactured in the early 1960s. This style is called the Bubblecut. The Bubblecut hair was pretty firm and really cannot be combed out. This red hair Bubblecut is wearing an outfit called Solo In the Spotlight from the early 1960s. This was the sparkle-y outfit I had seen all those years ago on my friend Tiffany’s doll. I always adored this outfit and was so happy when I finally found one!
Here is a blonde hair Bubblecut with awesome big pink lips! This doll is wearing an outfit from the mid 1960s called Barbie In Holland. She even has little plastic shoes to resemble wooden shoes!
All of the Barbies previous to this picture had hard, non-bending legs. These last 2 dolls were some of the first Barbies available with bending legs.
This bend-leg Barbie is called Color Magic Barbie. She came in two different hair colors and with the special magic hair coloring solution that came with her you could change her hair color back and forth. There was the Golden Blonde doll shown below whose hair you could change to Scarlet Flame, and there was a doll with Midnight Black hair that could change to Ruby Red.
This Color Magic Barbie is wearing an outfit from the mid 1960s called Black Magic.
This bend-leg Barbie is called an American Girl Barbie. They always came with the bobbed type hairstyle, however it could vary in length. American Girl Barbies are probably some of the most popular and expensive Barbies to collect.
The American Girl and Color Magic Barbies were only made for a short time. You always have to check the legs on these dolls, as sometimes the kids over bent them and broke the legs so they no longer work. Other times you will find the feet chewed to pieces. Hmmmmm, guess the feet tasted pretty good huh!
The prices for any of these types of vintage dolls will vary widely depending on the condition of the doll and how perfect the hair and makeup is and if she still retains her original box and swimsuit. The price can also go up if the doll has more dramatic and vibrant makeup. You definitely have to watch out for re-paints on these old dolls and there are many newer reproductions out there too.
Lastly, a word about Barbie’s vintage outfits. Here is a view of Winter Holiday with all the accessories shown. You can also see the black and white ‘Barbie’ tag in the coat. One piece of each vintage Barbie clothing ensemble will always be tagged with this black and white tag, but none of the other pieces will be tagged or marked in any way.
Here is another vintage Barbie outfit called Singing In the Shower. You can see the black and white tag peeking out from the robe. You can also see there are many little accessories that could get lost along the way, vintage Barbie outfits always had tons of little accessories!
I hope y’all enjoyed learning a little bit about vintage Barbie! There is so much more I could go into, but it would just be really overwhelming. If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask away!