Barbie is one of the most popular toys ever, selling about 1 billion dolls since debuting in 1959. And even though Barbies have been purchased by millions of people from 150 countries, some versions of the doll are more valuable than others.
There are legions of collectors searching the internet and other places for rare editions of the doll. What makes some Barbies more valuable than others are the doll’s unique accessories; the physical condition of the item; variations on Barbie’s career outfits; limited edition dolls; versions found only in some countries; and if the box is unopened.
Collecting rare and valuable Barbies has become more than a cottage industry, so with that in mind, 24/7 Wall St. compiled a list of the most valuable Barbies using the latest available prices.
No one would have predicted such zealous collecting of the toy back in 1959, when Barbie debuted at the New York Toy Fair. That year, the doll cost $3. Today, a mint condition Barbie from 1959, wearing a black and white bathing suit and clutching sunglasses, can garner more than $20,000 on eBay.
Barbie made an appeal to history aficionados in 2003 by taking a turn as Marie Antoinette and decked out in a flowing gown. That Barbie was being auctioned for as much as $2,000 on eBay. Themes tied to television shows such as “I Love Lucy” also are popular with collectors.
Several one-of-a-kind Barbies have sold for exorbitantly high prices, outshining dolls even on this list. The most expensive version of the doll was sold for $302,500 in 2010. That doll was designed to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Another doll sold for $85,000 in 1999. As the introduction to designer dolls, that Barbie was clad in a gold bikini top and a belt featuring 160 diamonds.
To identify the 50 most valuable Barbie dolls, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Barbie dolls currently for sale on eBay. Price data was obtained on March 5, 6, and 7. To be considered, dolls needed to have maintained similar price ranges over that period. The year each Barbie was released came from Mattel. Release dates not listed by the dollmaker were obtained from news archives, collector’s blogs, and other sources. The rare qualities of these dolls were listed on eBay, and often among the key drivers of each doll’s price. We only considered the most expensive doll within a given model. We included identical models only when accessories, certain rare qualities, or the context of a special release meaningfully distinguished duplicates.