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Classic years of Barbie

Ian Harvey

A collector of vintage Barbie dolls says that 1960s chic beats the new modern-era dolls.


Annie Burke has been a collector all of her life, and that’s not just of Barbie dolls. Over the years, Annie has been a collector of numerous things including dogs! But her main collection is of Barbie dolls from 1959 – 1972.

Annie has spent more than 25 years collecting, trading and showing her vintage dolls. She says that after 1972 the dolls no longer had a unique look to them. She says they were then being made for the mass market and all look the same. (Huffpost Culture)

Annie’s collection began when her mother passed away and whilst clearing out her house she found her childhood Barbie dolls in the loft.

All of her dolls were still intact and in perfect condition, so after cleaning them up a little and organising them, she started going to doll shows with them.

Gorgeous vintage barbie saturday matinee [Via]

Today, while Annie loves her collection, she’s decided to sell them via auction so that she can use the money to put into her growing collection of dogs.

The 1960s have definitely made a comeback recently, with television shows such as Mad Men and Pan Am relighting our love affair with the golden age. Annie’s vintage Barbies look just of their era, with shiny black ponytails, red lipstick and cocktail attire.


The Barbie dolls show signs of the era as the United States was emerging from the suppression of the 1950s and engaging with a more confident and vibrant population.


It was in 1971 that Barbie become a lot more standardised with her eyes looking to the front and mass production of a sculpted figure that girls have been aspiring to ever since.


The dolls’ manufacturer, Mattel, came under fire when women started to complain of Barbie’s perfect looks and that she was a bad role model for girls.

A collection of shoes, bags and other Babs accessories [Via]

Nevertheless, the vintage Barbie dolls are worth their weight in gold. A 1950s era doll in good condition can be worth up to US$5,000. In the early 2000s, they were fetching as much as US$10,000, but the market has levelled out a great deal since then.

The most popular buyers are emerging from China where there is interest in vintage western goods. But buyers in the US, UK, Europe and Japan are the most consistent over the years.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News