The Most Valuable Barbie Dolls of All Time
When the first Barbie doll was produced, there was just one model. Since then, over 170 types of Barbie have been created, with a broad range of different skin tones, hairstyles, and outfits. We’ve also seen Barbie have numerous inspirational careers, including a doctor, a firefighter, a scientist, and even an astronaut.
With this in mind, BonusFinder sought to investigate how much different models of these world-renowned dolls are worth, as well as the decades that produced the most valuable Barbie dolls of all time.
The Ten Most Valuable Barbie Dolls
Image Credit: Mattel, Inc.
Barbie #1 (1959)
It’s no surprise to announce that the most valuable Barbie doll of all time is the original Barbie #1. This vintage Barbie doll was produced in 1959 and originally priced at just $3. The maximum resale value of Barbie #1 is now at a staggering $27,450, which is great news for anyone lucky enough to own one of these dolls.
Wondering how to identify a Barbie #1? This vintage Barbie doll is predominantly characterized by her signature black and white striped swimsuit. She also sports heavy, dark makeup, bright red lipstick, and gold hoop earrings. This version was only available in blond or brunette, and it wasn’t until Barbie #3 in 1961 that a red-haired model went on sale.
Dahlia Barbie (2006)
The 2006 Dahlia Barbie has a resale value of $2,423, making it the second most valuable Barbie doll of all time. This model was created by Robert Best who has been designing Barbie dolls for over 25 years.
Dahlia Barbie can be clearly identified by her stunning strapless gown of white on black lace, accompanied by shiny white satin opera gloves. Dahlia’s accessories include dangling silver earrings and a brooch embellished with Swarovski crystals.
Golden Gala Barbie (2009)
Golden Gala Barbie, first released in 2009, is another creation of designer Robert Best. Since then, she has become the third most valuable Barbie doll, selling for figures of up to $1,451.
This retro-inspired Barbie doll wears a sophisticated, golden gown with a skirt shaped like a mermaid’s tail. She also wears a vintage-inspired golden jacket with long, ruffled white gloves.
This Barbie doll was given as a gift to attendees of the 2009 National Barbie Doll Collector Convention. Each attendee had the choice of a Barbie with Caucasian skin tone and honey blond hair or an African-American skin tone with dark brunette hair.
Happy Holidays Barbie Brunette (1997)
The 10th Anniversary special edition of Happy Holidays Barbie was released in 1997 and has since attained a value of $1,201, making her the fourth most expensive Barbie of all time.
This vintage Barbie doll has long, flowing brunette hair down to her waist and dresses in a red and white crinoline-style gown. Accessories include a golden tiara with six ruby-colored gemstones, accompanied by a jeweled choker necklace and matching earrings.
City Smart Barbie (2003)
For those lucky enough to own a 2003 City Smart Barbie, her maximum resale value has reached up to $1,151, making her the fifth most expensive Barbie doll of all time.
This collector’s item can be identified by a black pencil dress, supporting a small bow on each shoulder. City Smart Barbie’s blond hair is styled in an elegant updo, with a full fringe across her forehead.
Byron Lars Coco Barbie (2007)
Created by American fashion designer Byron Lars, this 2007 Barbie model has garnered a resale value of up to $1,101.
The Byron Lars Coco Barbie is dressed head-to-toe in bold, statement-making pieces, including a quilted white puffer vest, a lace skirt, bright pink gloves, and a jeweled hatpin twice the size of her head.
Special 2000 Edition Celebration Barbie (2000)
The Special 2000 Edition Celebration Barbie was released at the turn of the millennium and has since reached a value of $1,051.
This Barbie model wears a shiny golden ball gown with a layered silver and gold skirt, featuring small details of gold stars and snowflakes. Alongside this elegant gown, Barbie wears a white faux fur shoulder wrap with gold earrings and a matching necklace. On top of her long, blond hair sits a gold tiara.
Barbie Baby-Sits Outfit (1963)
The next most valuable item is the Barbie Baby-Sits outfit and toy set. This was released in 1963, just four years after the creation of Barbie, and is now worth up to $1,036.
The vintage set includes a baby, a baby bottle, a pink bassinet with a floral liner and blue stripe blanket, white diapers, a pink dotted flannel square with blue trim, a pink pillow, a black clock, black glasses, a Coke bottle, a pretzel box, a telephone list, and a set of books.
Harvey Nichols Special Edition Barbie (1995)
This 1995 vintage Barbie doll was originally a special limited edition model for the British luxury department store, Harvey Nichols, and was only available to purchase in England. It is now a highly sought-after collector’s item and, with a value of up to $900, is one of the most valuable Barbie dolls in the world.
The vintage collectible is identifiable by her pink silk collared jacket with a thin black belt, worn over an elegant black dress. She holds a white, chiffon stole with marabou feathers and accessories including a black patent leather shopping bag and black sunglasses.
Bob Mackie Countess Dracula Barbie (2011)
Fashion designer Bob Mackie collaborated with Barbie to produce one of the most expensive Barbie dolls of all time: the Countess Dracula Barbie. If you’re lucky enough to own one of these dolls, you’ll be pleased to know that it now has a resale value of up to $886.
Produced in 2011, this is the newest Barbie to make its way onto our top ten list of most valuable Barbie dolls of all time.
This model is one of the boldest looks that Barbie has gone for, made up of an incredible pannier skirt lined with red-woven fabric and an enchanting collar that extends up behind her four-inch high fiery red hair.
The Decades That Produced the Most Valuable Barbie Dolls
The decade that produced the most expensive Barbie dolls is, of course, the 1950s, when Barbie #1 (now worth up to $27,450) made her debut. She was first unveiled to the toy industry on March 9 1959 and this has been known as her birthday ever since.
After the success of Barbie’s release, the 1960s saw 29 new models of Barbie being created, with an average maximum resale value of $428.97. This makes the 1960s the second most valuable decade for Barbie dolls, followed closely by the 1970s with 22 dolls at an average maximum resale value of $211.50.
Barbie’s produced in the 1980s also remain incredibly popular, as it is the fourth decade producing the most valuable Barbie dolls. This decade saw the creation of 34 new Barbie models, with an average maximum resale value of $211.50.
The 2020s have swooped into fifth place as the decade producing the most expensive Barbie dolls. Despite being only a few years into the decade, the two Barbies that have been produced so far hold an average maximum resale value of $155. These dolls include the Chromatic Couture Barbie and the Holiday Barbie, both created in 2020.
Tips For Keeping Your Vintage Barbie Doll in Pristine Condition to Preserve Its Resale Value
Keeping your vintage barbie dolls in mint condition is the best way to maintain their collectible value. As with any collectors items, Barbies are susceptible to environmental damage and aging. There are a few simple steps you can follow to take care of your Barbie and ensure maximum resale value.
Keep Away From Direct Sunlight
Storing your Barbie doll away from direct sunlight is crucial for keeping it in good condition. Never store your Barbie on a windowsill or shelves that directly catch the sun.
The materials used to create Barbie dolls are far from indestructible, in fact, quite the opposite. Direct sunlight can damage your Barbie by causing the plastic and clothing to fade or become discolored.
Avoid Exposure to Heat
Exposure to intense heat, often paired with direct sunlight, should be avoided at all costs. If the Barbie doll heats up, the plastic can soften and become misshapen. This damage is impossible to undo. The heat from direct sunlight can also cause paint to peel over time, which is going to leave your Barbie looking worse for wear!
Keeping your Barbie doll away from direct sunlight and sources of heat (heaters, fires) will prevent this from happening and help your Barbie retain its resale value.
Remove Dirt and Dust
Regularly cleaning your Barbie with a dry cloth, bristled toothbrush, or makeup brush prevents a buildup of dirt and dust. Keeping on top of this cleaning will ensure that grime doesn’t build up in all the hard-to-reach areas (where you may not be able to get it out again).
Keep Your Barbie in its Box
The final, and most important, piece of advice for keeping your vintage Barbie doll in tip-top condition is to keep it in its box. This prevents dust and dirt, as well as natural oils from your fingers building up on your Barbie doll.
The same rules apply even when it is kept in its original box: keep it away from direct sunlight, avoid intense heat, and keep the box itself clean of dust and dirt.
Be mindful that the original packing was not built to last a lifetime. Environmental factors such as sunlight, heat, and humidity can cause the print to fade and cardboard to soften. To prevent this, store your boxed Barbie doll inside a sealed container, glass display case, or plastic shell cover.
What To Do With Your Vintage Barbie Doll
Should you be lucky enough to own any vintage Barbie dolls, what you choose to do with it is entirely your choice. There are a few options:
1. Hold onto your Barbie
The first is that you hold on to it for even longer. Whether it’s for sentimental reasons, or because you’d like to wait and see if the value increases further, there are a number of benefits to keeping hold of this collectible item.
2. Cash in and sell your Barbie
The other option is to cash in and sell your Barbie. You can do this using websites like eBay or Amazon, or seek expert help by using sites specifically designed for selling vintage toys.
3. Recycle your old Barbie
If you’ve got an old Barbie that you no longer use and don’t want to sell, consider recycling it. Mattel has recently launched a new scheme called ‘Playback‘ where consumers can send unwanted toys back to their California headquarters for free. Mattel will then sort through the items, separate them by material type, and recycle them into new toys wherever possible.
1. BonusFinder.com wanted to find out which Barbie dolls could sell for the most today, and which decade produced the most valuable Barbie dolls.
2. To do so, they utilized maximum sales figures from Barbiedb.com to find the minimum, maximum and average sales prices of every Barbie doll contained within the database from 1959 to 2020.
3. Data was then sorted from highest maximum price to lowest in order to rank the Barbies selling for the most.
4. Data was further aggregated by decade, and an average value was calculated per decade alongside the most expensive Barbie doll of each decade (found on the main data sheet).
5. Data was collected on 04/11/23 and is correct as of then.