Number 1 Barbie Doll (as she is affectionately known to collectors by) came out on the 10th of March 1959 and now that very doll, manufactured as doll # 850, is extremely hard to find today. To find her in mint condition still in her original doll box today, for most of us, is elusive…… The only way to make # 850 doll yours in mint condition let alone one that has never been removed from box (NRFB) is to find a collector that is willing to part with one!
They do rarely show up at auctions, antique shops and even second-hand shops, but I do emphasis the word “rarely.” Most new collectors settle for some of the great reproduction Barbie dolls that have come out over the years, but if you do want to look for one of the original dolls, then these are the things you’re looking for…..
Barbie Doll # 850 was manufactured in two hair colors, blonde and brunette, but there was twice as many blonde dolls made as brunette, so this makes the brunette # 850 even rarer than the blonde doll. Barbie at this early time was very recognizable by her intense look and make-up.
She is wearing a one-piece black & white striped bathing suit, black slip-on shoes and gold loop style earrings. She has side looking eyes with white irises. Her vivid make-up consists of blue eye-liner, V arched eye-brows, deep lush red lipstick and tiny red dots in each nostril. Her hairstyle is a high Ponytail with curly bangs (fringe). She also had vivid red polish on her fingers and toes.
The most notable part of this 1st doll that sets her apart from all others that would come after her, is the heavy copper tubing which was inserted into the soles of both feet and up into her leg to allow her to stand upright on a pronged doll stand.
These very early 1st dolls are the only ones to have the copper tubing in their feet and makes them, without any doubt, the number one authentic, rare, valuable Barbie doll. There is no disputing their authenticity as the doll that came after her did not have the tubing.
The early doll boxes from 1959 have TM for trademark on them. Number 1 Barbie Doll came complete in her black & white swimsuit, with white rimmed blue glass sunglasses, a round black doll stand and a pink fashion booklet.
If complete, mint in box (MIB), these dolls can and do command thousands of dollars today. I’ve even heard that these original, authentic dolls can fetch as much as $10,000. This is out of the reach for most of us, but there are still dolls to be found that do not have their original boxes and outfits etc, and they may be a bit knocked about, but are still worth buying, cleaning up and hanging onto, as she is still a prize Barbie if you can find one.
The number 1 doll still eludes me, but maybe one day…….