Your vintage Barbie dolls might be worth a pretty penny — if you have the right ones

(NEXSTAR) – The astounding critical and commercial reception of the new “Barbie” movie has catapulted all-things-Barbie back to the forefront of pop culture. Even Allan!

Mattel’s Allan dolls — first introduced in the earlier half of the ‘60s as a “buddy” for Ken dolls — are currently experiencing increased demand among collectors and Barbie fans, with early specimens selling for upwards of $200 on eBay over the last several days.

The value of Allan dolls has increased, no doubt, due to Allan’s inclusion in the film. But that’s about the only effect the movie has had on the price of vintage Barbies, according to Barbie expert Rebecca Chulew, who has been featured such shows as “Collector’s Call,” “Toy Hunter” and “My Crazy Obsession.”

“Many vintage Barbies were produced by the millions and are easy to find,” said Chulew, who has sold over 10,000 Barbies on eBay and Macari over the years. “Everybody thinks they have a valuable Barbie. The truth is, the majority aren’t.”

Certain vintage Barbie dolls, meanwhile, might still be worth a pretty penny, but their value really isn’t tied to the movie, according to Chulew. “The doll now is kind of holding steady,” she said. “It has a good value, but I don’t see it going up or down a lot.”

The most valuable Barbies, she said, continue to be the very first series of dolls ever produced in 1959. Specifically, the No. 1 or No. 2 Ponytail Barbies, which can fetch anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000 per doll, depending on condition, the inclusion of the original box, and — perhaps more importantly — the hair color.

“They made three blondes for every brunette,” said Chulew, who noted that brunette Ponytail Barbies from 1959 can sell for up to $6,000, even out of the box.

Chulew further said that sealed or boxed dolls don’t matter as much to many Barbie collectors, seeing as the early opaque boxes were more akin to “shoeboxes” and didn’t showcase the dolls. (“There’s a lot of [online] box sales going on” for folks who want just the packaging, she said.)

A 1959 Ponytail Barbie, from the first series ever produced, is displayed at the interactive exhibition “The World of Barbie” on June 28, 2023, in Santa Monica, California. This particular doll — and the brunette version — are some of the most valuable to collectors. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Another coveted doll is the Side-Part American Girl Barbie produced in the mid-‘60s, which can go for “about $3,000” (and reportedly once sold for almost double), according to the expert. Collectors also tend to prize “Twist ‘n Turn” Stacey dolls (not to be confused with Stacie dolls) from the late ‘60s, as well as “Steffie-face” Barbies (i.e., a type of doll using a certain face mold) introduced a few years later. Both can sell for hundreds to the right collectors.

Other valuable dolls include rarer Barbies that weren’t widely produced — like the brunette mentioned above — and, specifically, Black Barbies. According to Chulew, first- and second-issue Francie dolls from 1967-1969 are tough to find, while Alpha Kappa Alpha Barbies (which commemorated the historically African American sorority) can go for up to around $1,000.

And then, there’s Allan. Allan dolls — including the original from 1964, the bendable-leg version from 1965 and the Wedding Day Allan doll from 1990 — have seen a “slight increase [in value] due to the movie,” said Chulew, adding that sellers might be able to get a few hundred for each one.

The rest of the Barbie line, and even vintage dolls that were mentioned in the movie, are likely worth no more than they were last year. “I think what you’re going to see in the next 30 to 60 days are a lot of people selling their childhood dolls. And a lot of them aren’t going to be valuable,” Chulew said. “A few rarities might be unearthed, but it might cause stagnation in the market. It’s going to be tough for collectors to sort through all the barbies being advertised as ‘rare’ when they’re not.”

Most Barbie dolls were produced in large quantities, making them less valuable to collectors. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Barbie collectors, on the other hand, might be busy scooping up other “Barbie”-movie merchandise to complete their collections or prepare for any future scarcity. For example, the collectible “Barbie” popcorn buckets from AMC are very “hot” right now, Chulew said, and certain dolls from Mattel’s latest line of movie-inspired figures are becoming hard to find, even if they’re still selling at retail prices.

“But they don’t appear to have made the Allan doll from the movie,” she lamented, “which may be a mistake on their part.”

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