It is estimated there are well over 300,000 avid Barbie collectors in the world. In 2012, some Barbies sold anywhere from $5 up to an obscene $85,000 (for the Diamond Barbie). Still to this day, vintage Barbie dolls command attention when searching for their values in the current market, so make sure you know how to use resources to assist in finding what you need to know.

A Barbie should be an item you have because it appeals to you. 

This is the point where the value of your doll becomes intangible, so even if the worth of your Barbie isn’t valuable to the market, the sentimental worth could be valuable to you.

Created in 1959 by Ruth Handler and named after her daughter Barbara, Barbie was an instant success. First sold at the American Toy Fair in New York City, it received a cool reception from the toy buyers. Today, they can be found and purchased around the world. In today’s market, the first doll’s value ranges from $8,000-$12,000.

Not only has Barbie undergone many changes over the years, but she has managed to keep up with current trends in hairstyles, makeup and clothing. She has been a continual reflection of fashion history since her introduction to the toy market. However, Barbie’s cost and value depend significantly upon which one you have in your possession.

According to local doll expert Scott Gram, there are some crucial characteristics you should look at to help determine the value. First, scrutinize it and note wear and tear or defects. If you have a doll that has never been removed from the box, it will carry a much higher value than one that has been removed.

Gram also noted to look at the date on the doll’s abdomen as it is not the date it was made, but instead is when the mold was created. He stated that Barbies that have the most collector value were made in Japan and can be worth substantially more than one made in Korea.

Gram also pointed out that you will also need to search for the solid metal tubes in the first Barbie’s legs that have matching metal holes in the bottoms of her feet – these were used to fit the doll on a stand. Surprisingly, the stand can be worth more than the doll since so many were thrown away. 

Accessories can also fetch more of a monetary value, such as original clothing or hard-to-find outfits.

How can you tell if you own an authentic vintage Barbie doll? Gram shared the list of essential identification marks: blonde or brunette hair in a ponytail and curled bangs; eyes looking sideways with white irises, and pointy eyebrows. Remember clothes help make the woman, and Barbie in the black and white zebra-striped one-piece swimsuit with white sunglasses and black open-toed high heel shoes have made this lady an icon.

– Contact Tom Helms at or A-Z Appraisal & Estate Consultants; 5525 N. 12th St., Phoenix, AZ. 85014; email