Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Favorite Barbie Find (pun intended)

Today I will share my favorite Barbie find in recent memory. A few weeks ago this Steffie face beauty was waiting for me at the Goodwill (nude, $1.29). She is Mattel's 2010 reproduction of 1980 Black Barbie from their nostalgic "My Favorite Barbie" series.

Two big clues helped me determine this Barbie is a repro. Her back is marked China, which would put her manufacture date after 1986 according to information I found online. Here is a handy list of countries where Barbies were made:

A better gauge of the doll's age is to look at the country of manufacture:
1959-1972 JAPAN
1968-1970, 1989-1990 MEXICO
1970-1987 HONG KONG
1970-1987 TAIWAN
1973-1978 KOREA
1986 to present CHINA
1986 to present MALAYSIA
1992 to present INDONESIA

-- info posted on by Skippercollector

I can't vouch for the accuracy of this information, I'll assume it's correct until someone proves otherwise. :) Hey, it's on the internet, it must be true!

What was the bigger clue? The skin tone molded underwear. The words molded and underwear just don't belong together, but you know what I mean. I think this feature was introduced in the 1990s.

She's an excellent reproduction, very faithful to the original doll! I'm so pleased to have this Barbie in my collection.

Barbie is wearing 1970s fashions I found on thrifted contemporary dolls within the last year. The orange dress is from 1976 Quick Curl PJ Deluxe. The orange elastic loop in front is meant to hold PJ's white shawl, which was probably lost back in 1976. The green and pink granny dress is 1975 Best Buy #7416 (carded fashion). I tracked down the origins of these two dresses with the help of Google Images. My Barbie identification books are in storage but I don't have much incentive to go looking for them because checking Google Images is so much faster.

How does a modern collectible Barbie end up at the Goodwill? I've found a lot more vintage dolls than modern Barbie Collector dolls. I think that's because people who get out of the hobby (or obtain BC dolls via inheritance) know they're worth something so BC dolls are sold instead of being thrown out or donated. ("Mom sure spent a lot of money on all these dolls, they're NOT going to the Goodwill!")

Off the top of my head I think I've bought only five Barbie Collector dolls from thrifts over the last 12 years, and three of those were reproductions (this Barbie and two ponytails). All three repros were deboxed and found among the regular jumble of cheap dolls; two were nude. Maybe they were purchased for the repro fashion to put on a real vintage doll and the repro doll wasn't needed for display.

You might be curious to know the identities of the only two non-repro Collector Edition dolls I've found while thrifting. Several years ago I bought a NRFB Mrs. PFE Albee Barbie at the Goodwill where I used to live. The other is a NRFB Pioneer Barbie. Nothing too exciting. If I'd been in a more frugal mood that day I probably would've left Pioneer Barbie behind because I'm not a fan of the Superstar face sculpt, but she's a redhead (without scary neon eyeshadow, huge plus) and check out those cute apples in her basket. And I did grow up watching Little House on the Prairie after school.

Hmm, it's possible I saw maybe 2-3 other Barbie Collector dolls over the years but I didn't buy them because they were overpriced, out of the box and damaged, or not appealing to me. All I know is they are a rarity in thrift shops around here, especially in the age of eBay.


  1. A lot of the Goodwill stores put their Barbie and other doll items on their auction site

    My best find at the Thrift Store was a Barbie Silkstone Provencale from 2001 out of the box and in decent condition back in July of 2011.

  2. Beautiful doll and great find. My best find were a vintage outfit. The only thing missing were the boots. Thanks for the info on the orange dress, I have one, but didn't know it's origin.

  3. Hi Frannie: I forgot about the Goodwill's auction site. I've heard that's where their best vintage dolls go too, but sometimes I find a vintage gem in need of minor TLC that makes it past their screeners. Your Provencale is one of the best finds I've heard about, that's amazing! :O I've wondered about the possibility of finding a Silkstone at a thrift shop but know the odds are very slim. You gave me hope. :) I love the Silkstones I have and would fall over if I found one at a thrift store.

    Georgia Girl: I wish thrift store dolls were easier to find with their shoes on! Missing hats or bags don't bother me but sometimes it's the shoes or boots (especially boots, such a visual impact) that really finish off the outfit. Oh well, at the prices we pay it's not that big of a deal, but I'm always extra happy when I find a doll with her footwear still on. :)

  4. Congrats on the great find. I just love the steffie face. I'm so glad you found here and she is now with someone who will adore her too. I know in time I will find a hidden treasure too.

  5. Hello from Spain: congratulations on your favorite Barbie, Steffie The dresses are beautiful. I really like the hair she has. Keep in touch.