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, but not impossible. Rarely but occasionally they do come up for sale, usually from a collector selling off their collection or from an estate sale.
To find her in mint condition still in her original doll box today, for most of us, is elusive…… The best 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! To date I have not found one, but the search goes on……..
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, (as I have) but if you do want to look for one of the original dolls, then these are the things your looking for…..
Barbie Doll # 850 was manufactured in two hair colors, a blonde haired doll and a brunette version as well. There were twice as many blonde dolls made as brunette, so this makes the brunette version # 850 even rarer and thus much more valuable to the collector.
Barbie at this early time was very recognizable by her intense look and make-up. Some people of the time thought that maybe she was made up to strongly for a child’s doll, but that didn’t stop sales from steadily climbing.
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. Deep red nail polish and toe polish, and her hairstyle is a high Ponytail with curly bangs (fringe).
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. There is no mistaking this, it is very obvious.
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.
Also the dolls of this era have registered trademarks on their bottom, usually the right bottom cheek. They may also have the word JAPAN on the bottom of one foot.
Reproduction dolls( in much later years) do not have these markings and must be sold as reproduction dolls.
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 there 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 Barbie Doll still eludes me, but maybe one day…….