Barbie has lived in some pretty groovy homes over the years. Who wouldn’t want a “Dream House”? A reader of my blog was interested in learning more about Barbie houses and I thought it was a fantastic idea because I haven’t seen much written on this topic. So here is what I learned…
Barbie’s first home, built in 1961, was the “Barbie Doll Dream House” #0816. It’s the most common of all the Barbie cardboard structures. It unfolded into one big room that included a bedroom and living room. Barbie started the “open concept” home! Furnishings included cardboard items such as a twin bed, coffee table, TV, matching chair and ottoman, sofa, a vanity chair with a mirror, table lamp, books, a framed photo of her boyfriend Ken, and pillows. Barbie had records to play on her record player and she had quite the collection - Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Kingston Trio and The Preps!
My favorite, although not a home - is 1963’s Barbie Doll Fashion Shop #0817. I’m actually on the hunt for a minty one so let me know if you have one for sale! The shop includes a fun fashion stage where Barbie and her friends can try on and twirl around in new outfits. The next Barbie structure debuted in 1964, Barbie Goes To College #4093. Outside panels include scenes of a football stadium and game, and a drive-in movie theater. The interior view is a campus dorm room and a sweet shop - a place to meet friends for an ice cream float!
Let’s fast forward to the Mod Era. The vinyl Barbie House Mate #5152 came out in 1966. The interior includes a plastic lavender sofa with end tables, ottoman, closet and attached turquoise floral print twin bed. That same year, the fold out Francie and Casey House Mate house #5092 was built. This structure’s interior has a built-in desk, gold plastic tub chair and pink plastic bed with a mod zebra-striped bedspread.
Over the years, many more digs were built for Barbie, her family and friends. These structures included the 1966 Francie House #3302, 1966 - 1967 Barbie Family Deluxe Home, various World of Barbie Houses from 1966 - 1972, 1966 Francie and Casey Studio House #1026, and 1967 - 1968 Barbie and Francie Dressing Room Case #1024. There was a housing boom in 1970 because Barbie got a cute restaurant called Barbie Cafe Today #4983, Barbie Lively Livin’ Room, Barbie Teen Dream Bedroom #4985, and the Barbie Cookin’ Fun Kitchen #48987.
Barbie had fun trying on new looks in her 1971 Unique Boutique Wig and Fashion Shop, and jetting off to Vail in 1972 to her Sears Exclusive Barbie Mountain Ski Cabin #4283. The Barbie Family House #1066 was produced from 1969 - 1972. This is the one I bought on eBay and am looking for ways to display my Barbies in it. The vinyl on this house is often cracked. Funny how over the years the 1960s cardboard Barbie houses endured better than the plastic ones in the 70s!
From 1968 - 1976, there are many variations of the Barbie and Stacey Sleep ’N Keep Case. A Jamie Studio Apartment #4996 and a Jamie Party Penthouse #4990 came out in 1970. I have fond memories of the Barbie house I had as a little girl, the 1970 - 1972 Barbie Lively Livin’ House #4282. It was also called the Barbie Live Action House or Surprise House. It was a two floor, three room structure with three patios and four white patio fences. The patio panel can be flipped over and connected to the structure’s walls making more scenes on the other side of the house. My fellow Barbie blogger, Mary, has great photos of Barbie homes!
What is your favorite Barbie house or structure? Would love to hear from you!
#barbiedreamhouse #vintagebarbiedreamhouse #barbiehouses #barbielivelylivinhouse #barbieliveactionhouse #barbiemountainskicabin #franciecaseyhouse #barbiedollfashionshop #barbiehousemate #70sbarbiehouses
P.J. dolls are one of my favorite - I just love her adorable pigtails! She was introduced in 1969 as Barbie’s new best friend, replacing Midge… ouch! The first P.J. doll was marketed as “New ‘N Groovy Talking P.J.” She wore a pretty pink and orange floral dress and used the Midge face sculpt, but P.J. was more hip and mod. She had long blonde pigtails with beaded, colorful hair bands, brown doe eyes, pretty blue eye shadow and long rooted lashes. When you pulled the string on the back of her neck, she’d say fun things like, “Oh, you’re the grooviest!” and “Help me get ready for my date". Talking P.J. that still speaks is a real find for collectors! There are also Talking versions of Barbie, Christie and Ken. The second P.J. to arrive was the 1970 Twist ’n Turn P.J. in her cute pink swimsuit.
Live Action P.J., the third P.J. to be produced, was movin’ and groovin’! A special stand allowed P.J. to dance with the touch of the “touch and go” stand. Her box highlighted her many skills like, “I dance to your favorite music,” “I dance more than ever before,” “Start the action, touch my touch ’n go stand,” and “There’s lots I do - just like you.”
The final P.J. of the Mod Era was 1972’s Sun Set Malibu P.J. She used the Steffie face sculpt and wore a fab lavender one-piece swimsuit. She joined her other tan friends, circa 1971, Malibu Barbie, Malibu Ken, Malibu Francie and Malibu Skipper. Beach pal Malibu Christie joined the squad in 1973.
P.J. wore the same size clothes as Barbie so they could share closets. The only fashions that have a P.J. label are her swimsuits and the items from her two gift sets. Mattel tells us the initials P.J. don’t stand for anything, that it is simply her name. I find that odd so I like to think it stands for Penny Jane! What’s your guess?
Values from The Complete and Unauthorized Guide to Vintage Barbie Dolls, Hillary Shilkitus James, 2nd Edition, 2011
Growin' Pretty Hair Barbie is now with her friends in my collection! I was so excited to win this minty Barbie on eBay for just $95! Isn't she lovely? As a child, the reason I fell in love with Growin’ Pretty Hair Barbie was because I could lengthen or shorten her hair with a little tug! I thought this was ingenious. I also loved my Crissy doll for the same reason – do you remember her?! Growin’ Pretty Hair Barbie #1144 came with cute hairpieces – curls and braids – and accessories to complete her fun look. You could also style her blonde hair yourself with her little hair tools. The 1971 version was blonde with a side part, wore a pink dress and had pink ribbons on her hair accessories. The 1972 Growin' Pretty Hair Barbie wore a peasant / empire dress and the bow on her hairpieces was blue.The latter Barbie is worth more to collectors.
Baby dolls lost their popularity in the early 70s to fashion dolls like Barbie and Dawn. Children loved the hair play options with fashion dolls. Barbie’s retractable ponytail embraced this hair play craze. Aspiring hairstylists loved this Barbie because it provided hours of practice and dozens of hairstyle possibilities. Some children did more than just crimp and curl Barbie’s hair though. Barbie’s life span could be, umm… cut short with a deadly snip of scissors. Uh oh, now a real stylist had to be visited to fix the damage!
It was a great idea for Mattel to sell a Barbie with many hairdo possibilities, rather than the somewhat surrealistic Hair Fair Barbie #4043 issued the same year. Hair Fair wasn’t even a doll! She was a head sold with accompanying wigs and accessories. However, in 1971 Mattel also released Hair Happenin’s Barbie #1174 who had hair options to add to her short, titian (red) hair. This Barbie was different than Barbie with Growin’ Pretty Hair because Hair Happenin’s came with red (titian) mini curls, midi swirls, and a fashion fall. She is considered by collectors as one of the most beautiful , rare and desirable dolls of the Mod Era. She can fetch upwards of $2,000 when Never Removed From Box!
The Best of Barbie: Four Decades of America’s Favorite Doll, Sharon Korbeck (2001)
Barbie: A Rare Beauty, Sandi Holder (2010)
1971 Growin’ Pretty Hair Barbie - Values: $300 - $375 NRFB; $150 - $225 mint/no box
1972 Growin’ Pretty Hair Barbie - Values: $475 - $550 NRFB; $275 - $350 mint/no box
Values from "Vintage Barbie Dolls" by Hillary Shilkitus James (2011)
In 1968, Talking Barbie found her voice! New technology allowed her to talk with a pink flower pull-string behind her neck - although Barbie actually spoke through a voice box in her chest. She suggested fun things to do to inspire hours of play. Barbie said things like, "Let's go shopping," "I have a date tonight," "What's playing at the cinema?" and more. She chats about fashion, prom, shopping, parties and dates. Collectors score when they find a vintage talker than can still speak!
I was five years old when I got my first Barbie and it was the 1968 Talking Barbie. I was mesmerized by her beauty. My first love! Well, there was Benjamin when I was 3 years old but that's another story, haha. Now, many (many!) years later, I'm still in love with all things Mod Barbie. The photo I posted is of my current Talking Barbie, wearing Wedding Wonder, in front of my Christmas tree. Fashions can be worth as much as the dolls, as you can see at the end of this post.
1968 Talking Barbie #1115 has two Talking friends who also were introduced in 1968:
1. Talking Stacey #1125 / She is Barbie’s British chum and she spoke with a British accent.
2. Talking Christie #1126 / She is historically important because she is the first African-American friend of Barbie.
In 1969, Talking Barbie, Talking Christie and Talking Stacey are identical to the 1968 editions but have a new color box. Also in 1969, three additional Talking dolls debuted:
1. Talking Ken #1111 / He is the first new Ken doll, Barbie's boyfriend, issued since 1967 since Mattel didn't offer a Ken doll in 1968. Ken and Barbie were "on a break." haha
2. New ‘N Groovy Talking P.J. #1113 / She is identified as Barbie's best friend. She uses the Midge face sculpt, has brown eyes, rooted eyelashes, and pale blond hair pulled into two sections tied with beads and worn with bangs. Oftentimes the cute beads are missing because children pulled them off. The beads are one of my favorite traits of P.J.'s!
3. Talking Julia #1128 / She is a personality doll depicting Diahann Carroll, star of the NBC show Julia which aired from 1968 - 1971. I have this doll still in the box and just love her! She's wearing a groovy gold and silver jumpsuit.
In 1970, the Spanish-speaking Talking Barbie came out. She was sold in Spanish-speaking areas of the United States. There are two versions of English-speaking Talking Barbies in 1970. One is a rare variation using the Stacey head mold and can fetch upwards of $600+! Talking Brad #1114 debuted in 1970 and is Christie's boyfriend. The only Talking Barbie produced in 1971 was Barbie herself and she now has side-glance eyes. The last of the Talking dolls were produced in 1972; Talking Busy Barbie #1195, Talking Busy Steffie #1186 and Talking Busy Ken #1196.
In addition to Spanish, Mattel strategized to expand the Talking Barbie audience by marketing this doll as French-, German-, Dutch- and Italian-speaking. All of the Talking Barbies have bendable legs and the same head mold as the Twist ‘n Turn Barbie. The first Talking Barbie in 1968 has a side-parted, twisted pony with three pink ribbons and is available in blonde, brunette and a redhead. A few years later in 1970, Talking Barbie debuted a new short hairstyle called the “nape curl.” I actually prefer the long pony!
Of all the Talking Barbies, the 1968 Barbie is still my favorite with Talking P.J. coming in a close second. Interesting tidbit about P.J. – Mattel declares her initials don’t stand for anything, it’s simply her name!
Who’s your favorite?!
1968 Talking Barbie - Values: $475 - $550 NRFB; $275 - $350 mint/no box
Values from "Vintage Barbie Dolls" by Hillary Shilkitus James (2011)
1968 - 1969 Wedding Wonder #1849 - Values: $400 NRFB
Values from Barbie Doll Fashion by Sarah Sink Eames (2001)
Live Action Barbie brings me back to when my mom went to Woodstock. In fact, this Barbie is often referred to as "Woodstock Barbie." I purchased Live Action Christie for just $99 on eBay. Isn't she gorgeous?! I was a little nervous because there was only one fuzzy photo of her on eBay. The seller said she was in very good condition but I'd say she's mint! Her head and hair were wrapped in cellophane and the outfit is perfect and complete. I'd say I scored on this one!
I've had Live Action P.J. and Live Action Barbie in my collection for a while so they're happy their last sister Christie joined them. Can you say Dance Party?!
Ah, yes. The ever popular question, "How much is my Barbie doll worth"? I once read a Barbie is worth... whatever someone is willing to pay for her!
I'm old school and start my research with Barbie reference books. The book I always reach for first is "Barbie Doll Photo Album - 1959 to 2009 Identification and Values" guide.
I find it has the best, most professional photographs for easy ID and the Barbie doll values seem comparable to the listings I see on eBay. I'm surprised to see a number of published Barbie ID books to have such out of focus and unprofessional photos. Were they taken with a 70s Polaroid? : )
Another good place to look for #BarbieValues is on eBay. You can "follow" Barbies to find out what they sold for. I set up a daily search so every morning eBay emails me all the new, vintage (wait, is that an oxymoron?!) Barbie listings that meet my criteria. To set up a daily alert, go to eBay.com and in the search bar enter Mod Barbies (or whatever you're looking for). Search results will appear. From there, in the top right corner, you'll see the word Advanced. Click on it and this is where you enter your search criteria. When done select Search. When your results show, right above the first doll, select Follow This Search. Then go to My Ebay/Searches You Follow/More Actions/Edit Email Options. Check the box that says, "Email me daily when new items match my search." Voila! It's a fantastic way to start your day with the latest Barbies you covet up for auction!
The Internet posts a plethora of Barbie values as well. A good site is What is it Worth. Earliest Barbies from the late 50s and early 60s are the most valuable, and have shown the greatest value increases over the past 10 years, says a new index launched by justCollecting.
Most valuable Barbies in the justCollecting Barbie Index
1. Barbie #1 Brunette (1959): $9,000
2. Barbie #1 Blonde (1959): $8,250
3. Barbie #2 Brunette (1959): $8,000
4. Barbie #2 Blonde (1959): $7,500
5. Roman Holiday Outfit (1959): $5,000
I learn a lot about Mod Barbies and values in Facebook groups such as Groovy Barbie, Crazy for Mod and Barbie & Friends Fashion Doll Guide. Group members share photos and stories, and post Mod Barbies for sale from their personal collections. It's a great forum to discuss our beloved obsession. Um... I mean hobby. : )
Where do you go to find Barbie values? I'd love to hear from you!
How's your summer so far? Are you indulging in fruity umbrella drinks with wide-brimmed hats and cool retro shades at the pool with a good book like me?! With the arrival of bikini season, I'm going to feature one of my favorite dolls (I know, I say that about all of them!) from my personal collection, Malibu Barbie's cousin, sun-kissed Malibu Francie #1068. And there is a rare brunette Japanese Sun Sun Malibu Francie (see photo below) also produced in 1971.
The Sun Set Malibu group of tanned friends also included Malibu P.J., Malibu Skipper and Malibu Ken. In 1973, Malibu Christie #7745 was introduced and I thought she was one of the prettiest dolls I had ever seen. I was lucky enough that my family purchased all of these dolls for me! I grew up in Wisconsin, but with my strong affinity towards these dolls, I knew I was destined someday for SoCal. And voila, I've lived in San Diego for almost 20 years now!
The introduction of the Sun Set family was an off the charts hit but, as Stephanie Deutsch (author of Barbie the First 30 Years) notes, it sadly marked the beginning of the end of the "Golden Time of Vintage Barbie dolls." The following mass-produced, low-budget Barbies lacked the quality (lashes, elaborate hairstyles) and flair of the early Barbie dolls that collectors love so much.
1971 Sun Set Malibu Francie - Values: $175 - $225 NRFB; $50 - $75 mint/no box
Values from "Vintage Barbie Dolls" by Hillary Shilkitus James (2011)