Collecting is a super-fun hobby! The online trading community is a good place to obtain value information. Check Internet auction sites like eBay for sold items to get a better idea of what your dolls may be worth. How do you decide if dolls are worth the investment? Stay informed. Read books and magazines. Talk to fellow collectors. Go to shows. Join a local club. Think about a doll's uniqueness, quality and workmanship. And, perhaps most importantly, buy those that appeal to you most. That way, investment or not, you've made a beautiful choice!
Shop my chloe + isabel boutique online! Click on photo to right to see the collection.
1967 Twist 'n Turn Barbie #1160 from the collection of author
My favorite Barbie reference books Barbie online resources
Barbie Doll Photo Album (1959 - 2009 identification and values), Michael Augustyniak
Barbie Doll Fashion Vol. II (1968 - 1974), Sarah Sink Eames
The Complete and Unauthorized Guide to Vintage Barbie Dolls (2nd Edition), Hillary Shilkitus James
Skipper: Barbie Doll's Little Sister (2nd Edition), Trina Cottingham
Barbie Doll Condition Definitions (from various online sources)
NRFB: (Never Removed from Box) means the box has never been opened. The doll should be in perfect condition. NRFB does not guarantee the box is in perfect shape though!
MIB: (Mint in Box) describes a doll that has been removed from the box, kept in mint condition, and then replaced back in the box
MINT: The doll appears to have never been played with. It has no flaws. If clothing is being described, it should still be crispy and clean.
NMIB: (Near Mint in Box) means the doll may have been played with, but only gently. It has no major flaws but may have some very slight, inconspicuous flaws. The item is clean. The doll comes with the box which she may or may not have been removed from and replaced.
NM: (Near Mint) See above and doll does not come in box
Shelf Wear: usually means the doll's box corners are worn or frayed
OSS: Original Swimsuit
EXC: (Excellent) The doll was gently played with but has no major flaws. The item should be displayable. Any flaws should not detract from its overall appearance. Perhaps the dress is not as crisp, a tag is missing, there is a slight body ding, or not all the nail polish is quite there, etc. Similar to Near Mint.
VG: (Very Good) The doll is in played with condition. It may have some flaws and/or be dirty, hair may be mussed, but is still displayable. Not for the picky collector but a good way to start your collection as most items in this category can be bought at a good price.
Good: The doll has been played with and may have a major flaw and/or many minor flaws. It is displayable in certain outfits - for example, it might have bad hair which can be hidden with a hat, or may have chewed on arms but can be hidden with long sleeves. If clothing, it may just need a good wash and a stitch or two.
Fair: The doll has been played with, and not gently. Generally, an item marked good is displayable, but may have a major flaw and/or many minor flaws, or it may just need to be cleaned and have a few stitches made to the outfit.
Poor: The doll has obvious flaws; may be torn and dirty. It is not for display but rather parts only.
C: Can stand for two different things. When added to the end of any of the terms above, it means "Condition." But, it can also mean "Complete." You can usually tell which term is meant by the context in which it is used. Such as, if it is to describe an outfit, it should mean Complete. But if it's a doll, it probably stands for Condition.
AC: (Almost Complete) The outfit has most of the pieces but is missing something, usually the more hard to find (HTF) pieces. The HTF pieces often make a huge difference in the value of an outfit.
Book Value: Pricing Guide value of a particular doll. This is not necessarily the amount you can get selling it on the secondary market. Value may vary from guide to guide.
Market Value: Actual price you can expect to sell a particular doll for. Prices vary over time and due to a number of other factors. Check eBay and other online auction houses for market values. I consider the market value of a doll as what someone is willing to pay for it!
Green Ear: This may happen to early 1960s vintage Barbies. The metal in the earrings that came with the dolls oxidize, and turn the ears "green." This is a condition that is difficult to remove.
Barbie® Doll Identifiers/Descriptors #1 Ponytail: '59 original Barbie®, white irises, blue liner, holes in feet, body material whitens with age #2 Ponytail: '59, same as original Barbie®, but no holes in feet #3 Ponytail: '60, blue irises, more gently curved eyebrows #4 Ponytail: '60, new vinyl used for body that retains its color over time #5 Ponytail: '61, new hair texture, hollow body that's lighter in weight Twist 'N Turn® Waist: A moveable waist common to Barbie® dolls of the mid-1960s and beyond. Some Barbie® dolls have a variation of this waist. Book Value: Pricing Guide value of a particular doll. Value may vary from guide to guide. Market Value: Actual price you can expect to sell a particular doll for. Prices vary over time and due to a number of other factors. See online auction sites for market values.
Barbie® Collector Exclusives, Editions and Collections (for current Barbies)
Barbie Fan Club Exclusive: Barbie® dolls sold by Mattel through the BarbieCollector.com online shop, and available only to members of the Barbie Fan Club
Black Label™Collection: Black Label™ Collection includes some of Barbie® Collector's most sensational dolls designed for the adult collector
Collector Edition: Barbie® dolls produced in quantities of more than 35,000, and are designed for collecting and displaying. Most dolls come in showcase packaging that includes a doll stand and a Certificate of Authenticity.
Direct Exclusive: Barbie® dolls sold in the United States by Mattel through the Barbie® Collector mail catalog or the BarbieCollector.com online shop only. (This exclusive policy applies to the United States only. Dolls may be sold to retail customers outside the United States.)
Gold Label™Collection: produced in numbered editions of 25,000 worldwide or less, available at select retailers
Hard to Find: available in the U.S. only from Barbie® Collector catalog, online at BarbieCollector.com and select retailers
Limited Edition: produced in quantities limited to 35,000 or less. They tend to feature special fabrics and details that set them apart from other dolls, and are designed for collecting and displaying. Most dolls come in showcase packaging that includes a doll stand and a Certificate of Authenticity.
Online Exclusive: Barbie® dolls sold by Mattel through the BarbieCollector.com online shop only
Pink Label™Collection: Pink Label™ Collection includes some of Barbie® Collector’s most beloved keepsake dolls, serve as an invitation to collecting, and are available where Barbie® dolls are sold. Pink Label™ dolls do not have a quota limit.
Platinum Label™Collection: Platinum Label™ Collection dolls are sequentially numbered editions of less than 1,000 worldwide, available at select retailers
Silver Label™Collection: Keepsake dolls with no more than 50,000 produced worldwide
Doll Category Modern Barbie: All Barbie® dolls produced beginning in 1972 Vintage Barbie®: All Barbie® dolls produced before 1972
C Grading System: A system used by some collectors to rate the condition of your dolls. Designations are C-1 through C-10. C-1 is the poorest possible condition. C-10 is factory mint and NRFB.
Customized Dolls: Dolls created originally for a specific store, catalog or company. Most dolls in the Barbie® Collector line also include a doll stand and a Certificate of Authenticity and come in showcase packaging.
Mint & Complete: Pristine outfit and all accessories in mint condition
Secondary Market: Those other than Mattel who buy and sell Barbie® dolls
If there are any other terms you like to know the definitions of, you may email me at email@example.com, tweet me @ModBarbies, or leave a Blog message. Happy collecting!