Vintage Barbie Sales

Vintage Barbie Identification & Value Guide

early barbie dolls from the years 1959 to 1961

update:  January 2020
 
 
1959 Ponytail #1 & #2 1960 Ponytail #3 1960 Ponytail #4 1961 Ponytail #5 1961 Bubble Cut #1 1961 Ken #1
 

#1 & #2 Ponytail Barbie


  There's really no mistaking the first and second-issue Barbie dolls with the others because of the distinctive eyes with white irises and dramatically arched eyebrows.  The #1 and #2 are just alike except the #1 has holes in her feet to accommodate the metal prongs on the first-issued stand (see photo below).  The #2 was only produced for three months making the #2's even more rare than the #1's.  Both will likely be faded to a whitish color, or possibly ghostly green, because the vinyl Mattel used fades over time.
 
  1959 #1 Ponytail Barbie
Issued: 1959
Model: 850
Box Date: 1959
Size: 1:6 scale, approximately 11.5" tall
Hair: Poodle curls & a ponytail with a hard curl at the end.  Soft floss hair.  Flocked head.  Brunette or Blonde (might look strawberry blonde).
Face: No iris eye color.  Heavy eyeliner with medium blue eye shadow.  Arched light or dark brown eyebrows.  Red lips (might fade to reddish-orange)
Body: Heavy solid body that smells of crayons, faded flesh tone, small neck knob.  Possible indented lines (mold marks) on hips (photo on #3 Barbie).  The #1 has holes in the feet with copper tubes inserted.  The #2 does not.  Some bodies have nipples.  Red nails.
Marked: Barbie™ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
  Gay Parisienne Barbie Box Box and Accessories sold with this Barbie doll:
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet 1959 Box (Gay Parisienne fashion bottom-right)
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet:
#1 Barbie - 1st 1959 Version TM, only booklet with Easter Parade, Roman Holiday & Gay Parisienne
#2 Barbie -
2nd 1959 Version R, last booklet with Commuter Set
Black Pedestal Stand (#1 stand has prongs/#2 stand has a t-wire)
Black & White Zebra-Striped Swimsuit
Black Mules (open-toe shoes)
Gold Hoop Earrings
White Sunglasses
Value:  $4000 - $7500
value guide key 

#3 Ponytail Barbie



 
The third-issued Ponytail had more lifelike eyes and eyebrows.  The brown eye shadow and the same faded vinyl  skin tone makes the #3's look rather anemic, but collectors love that look.  There were fewer #3's produced with blue eye shadow.  It can be difficult to tell the #3 and #4 Ponytails apart when they have blue shadow.  If you rely on skin color, it can still be confusing because Mattel cross-utilized body parts creating "transitional" dolls.  See this photo.
 
  #3 Ponytail Barbie
Issued: 1960
Model: 850
Box Date: 1959
Size: 1:6 scale, approximately 11.5" tall
Hair: Poodle curls & a ponytail with a hard curl at the end.  Soft floss hair.  Flocked head.  Brunette or Blonde (might look strawberry blonde).
Face: Blue eyes.  Light or dark brown eyebrows.  Blue or brown eye shadow.  There were less dolls painted with blue eye shadow.  Red lips.
Body: Heavy solid rubbery body that smells like crayons, faded flesh tone unless she is a transitional doll, small neck knob.  May have indented lines on hips.  Some bodies have nipples.  Red nails.
Marked: Barbie™ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
  Gay Parisienne Barbie Box Box and Accessories sold with this Barbie doll:
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet 1959 Box (Gay Parisienne fashion bottom-right)
1960 Barbie Fashion Booklet, third version with 1960 fashions
Black Pedestal Stand with T-Wire
Black & White Zebra-Striped Swimsuit
Black Mules (open-toe shoes)
Gold Hoop Earrings
White Sunglasses
Value:  $450 - $1800
value guide key 

#4 Ponytail Barbie



 
Originally, the fourth-issue Ponytail looked like the #3 Ponytail, minus the brown eye shadow, but Mattel used a new kind of plastic for the #4 dolls that doesn't fade like the previous dolls.  The body is still the heavy solid body, with some being marked "R" during the transition into 1961.  These #4 Ponytails age very well and retain much of their beauty from when they were brand new dolls and, in my opinion, are very underrated.
 
 
Issued: 1960
Model: 850
Box Date: 1959
Size: 1:6 scale, approximately 11.5" tall
Hair: Poodle curls & a ponytail with a hard curl at the end.  Soft floss hair.  Flocked head.  Brunette or Blonde (might look strawberry blonde).
Face: Blue eyes.  Light or dark brown eyebrows.  Blue eye shadow only.  Red lips.
Body: Heavy solid rubbery body that smells like crayons, small neck knob.  Skin color is flesh tone unless she is a transitional doll (this image).  May have indented lines on hips (see photo  on #3 Barbie).  Some bodies have nipples.  Red nails.
Marked: Barbie™ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc. or
Barbie®​ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
  Gay Parisienne Barbie Box Box and Accessories sold with this Barbie doll:
1959 Barbie Fashion Booklet 1959 Box (Gay Parisienne fashion bottom-right)
1960 Barbie Fashion Booklet, third version with 1960 fashions
Black Pedestal Stand with T-Wire or Black Wire Stand
Black & White Zebra-Striped Swimsuit
Black Mules (open-toe shoes)
Gold Hoop or Pearl Earrings
White Sunglasses
Value:  $200 - $900
value guide key

#5 Ponytail Barbie



 
Little poodle curls gone in favor of big coarse curls on the #5 Ponytail Barbie.  They also have a new hollow body.  Unfortunately, the plastic used for the head sometimes "sweats" and results in what collectors call "greasy face."  Sometimes the head color darkens as well.  Leg stance is often splayed.  Despite being produced in great numbers by this time, the 1961 fifth-issue Ponytails are still very detailed and individual in appearance like the earlier Ponytails, and they still have those big gorgeous red lips.
 
 
Issued: 1961
Model: 850
Box Date: 1959
Size: 1:6 scale, approximately 11.5" tall
Hair: Larger coarse curls & a ponytail with a hard curl at the end.  No flocking under hair.  Blonde, Brunette or Titian (red). 
Face: Eyes and eye shadow are shades of blue to turquoise.  Reddish or light or dark brown eyebrows.  Red lips.  Some #5's have a greasy-looking face or darkened face.
Body: Lightweight hard plastic body with hollow torso.  Small neck knob.  Beginning with the new hard plastic bodies, the skin color does not fade as the previous dolls do and there are no mold marks on hips.  Leg stance is often splayed.  Red nails.
Marked: Barbie®​ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
  Gay Parisienne Barbie Box Box and Accessories sold with this Barbie doll:
1959 Box (Gay Parisienne fashion bottom-right)
1961 Barbie & Ken Fashion Booklet
Black Wire Stand
Black & White Zebra-Striped Swimsuit
Black Mules (open-toe shoes)
Pearl Earrings
Optional White Sunglasses
Mattel Barbie Wrist Tag
Value:  $100  - $500
value guide key

#1 Bubble Cut Barbie



 
A new kind of Barbie doll called "Bubble Cut" (spelled as two words by Mattel) joined the Ponytail Barbie in 1961.  She had a new bouffant hairdo.  The first-issue Bubble Cuts generally have shorter, tighter hairdo's and thinner faces than the later ones.  They still have the beautiful red Barbie lips as well (except for the White Ginger).  They share the same problems as #5 Ponytails with possible greasy or darkened face and splayed leg stance.  The rare 1961 Bubble Cut is the Brownette and the harder-to-find White Ginger. 
 
 
Issued: 1961
Model: 850
Box Date: 1959
Size: 1:6 scale, approximately 11.5" tall
Hair: Bouffant hairdo, usually smaller/tighter than later Bubbles.  Hair is more wiry than soft.  Blonde, Raven (black), Titian (red), Brown Sable (Brownette) and White Ginger (platinum).  The hair on the White Ginger has oftentimes oxidized to a darker blonde over time.
1961 White Gingers can be difficult to verify.  Do your research when looking to purchase one.
Face: Eyes and eye shadow are shades of blue to turquoise.  Reddish or light or dark brown eyebrows.  Red lips, except for the White Ginger's bubblegum pink lips which oftentimes has faded to white.  Some 1961 Bubbles have a greasy-looking face or darkened face.
Body: Lightweight hard plastic body with hollow torso.  Small neck knob.  1961 Bubbles have a thinner face than post-1961 Bubbles.  Leg stance might be splayed.  Red nails.
Marked: Barbie®​ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLVIII by Mattel, Inc.
  Gay Parisienne Barbie Box Box and Accessories sold with this Barbie doll:
1959 Box (Gay Parisienne fashion bottom-right)
1961 Barbie & Ken Fashion Booklet
Black Wire Stand
Black & White Zebra-Striped Swimsuit
Black Mules (open-toe shoes)
Pearl Earrings
Optional White Sunglasses
Mattel Barbie Wrist Tag
Value:  $50 - $300
value guide key

#1 Ken - Flocked-Hair Ken



 
The first-issue Ken dolls had lifelike fuzzy "flocked" hair and are easy to tell apart from the later painted-hair Ken dolls.  The first batch of Ken dolls also had larger eyebrows than the painted-hair Ken's, although flocked-hair Ken's were produced with thinner eyebrows over time.  Some have greasy faces, faded body color and painted legs like the Barbie dolls do.  There was also a hard-to-find "Brownette" Ken produced in 1961.  (see image with red towel).
 
 
Issued: 1961
Model: 850
Box Date: 1961
Size: 1:6 scale, approximately 12" tall.  "Shortie" Ken is slightly shorter.
Hair: Flocked hair.  Blonde, Brunette and HTF "Brownette" (light brown hair).
Face: Blue eyes.  Reddish, light or dark brown eyebrows.  Mauve lips.
Body: Lightweight hard plastic body with hollow torso.  Some early Ken dolls have painted legs.  Some Ken dolls also fade to ivory or ghostly green and some have "greasy" faces.
Marked: Ken™ Pats. Pend. ©MCMLX by Mattel, Inc.
  Box and Accessories sold with this Ken doll:
1961 Ken Box (graphic with Black Striped Trunks, bottom-right)
1961 Barbie & Ken Fashion Booklet
Black Wire Stand
Red Cork Sandals
Red Trunks (red knit, red cotton, or red cotton with white stripes)
Red & White Striped Cabana Jacket
Yellow Terrycloth Towel (optional Red Towel with Brownette Ken)
Mattel Ken Wrist Tag
 
Value:  $50 - $300
value guide key

 

Explanation of Vintage Barbie Values

The 2020 values listed are meant to give someone with no knowledge of vintage Barbie an approximate idea of value of dolls in average to excellent condition.

Values vary wildly for many different reasons including the condition of the doll, any accessories included, the cycles of the market, the conditions of the sale and how pretty the doll is.  In general, dolls being sold in person or by established dealers that collectors trust will bring more than dolls being sold on eBay because of the fraud risk eBay poses.  The values listed do not include values for rare versions of dolls.

Excellent:
This is based on dolls that have excellent face paint, only minor damage and body issues, no missing hair, or in the case of ken, a full head of flocking or just very tiny spots missing.  Very few Ponytails have the original top and bottom bands because the rubber bands disintegrate, so a professional restyle is common.

Average:
This is based on dolls in played-with condition that have no major damage.  Barbie may be missing the original hair bands and be out of the original style and she may even have some thinning or one or two inconspicuous missing hair plugs, but there are no haircuts or large amounts of hair missing.  Ken may have flocking missing, but he is not bald or almost bald.

There may be rubs on the lips, eyebrows or missing eye ridge paint, but the doll is not missing mostly all of the lip or eyebrow paint.  The arms and legs don't fall out of the sockets and are not swingy so that they won't hold any pose at all.  There is no major damage such as nose nips or neck splits, and if they have green ear, it covers only the ear area as opposed to spreading to the cheeks and face.

Restored & Display Dolls:
And then there's the dolls that are somewhere in between, or even in poor condition.  Some of these dolls may have been lovingly restored, and after repairing the damage, they went from poor/average condition to beautiful.   As long as the restorations were made to restore the doll back to their original appearance, these dolls are valued by collectors.

Even poor condition Barbie dolls are acquired by collectors.  They are used for display dolls and diorama.  An early Ponytail with a major haircut can be restyled into a bun or some other creative hairstyle and can look fabulous.  Even a bald flocked Ken can be the perfect display doll for one of his outfits that came with a hat, like the beloved Dreamboat or Casuals.  Green ear on dolls that has spread way off the earlobes can sometimes be treated and neck splits can be repaired and bring back the beauty of the doll.

I don't have specific values listed for dolls with major damage or repairs, but never discount any early Barbie.  They all have potential and are a very iconic period of Barbie.
(Any restorations/repairs should always be pointed out to prospective buyers when selling the dolls.)

 
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Vintage Bubble Cut
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