Vintage Barbie Dolls start at the very inception of a doll that would become an icon. Ruth Handler and her husband Elliot started the company known as Mattel to produce a doll named after their daughter Barbara. The business got off to a shaky start and Barbie was not well received at the Annual Toy Fair in New York City in 1959, but she stood her ground on those tiny feet in high heeled shoes and by 1960 was being taken very seriously throughout the American toy industry and department stores!
Vintage Barbie was a feminine eleven and half inch doll being sold as a Teenage Fashion Model doll but the stock buyers for the toy stores seen her as a little too voluptuous and grown up for young girls to play with. Regardless of what the stores thoughts were, Barbie would prove to be the Queen of dolls and her popularity rose faster than anyone had anticipated. The department stores started to buy in small quantities of Vintage Barbie just to see how sales went but due to public demand the store owners gave in and in a very short space of time were ordering much larger quantities.
The Vintage Barbie Dolls Era is classified as being from the Ponytail Era 1959-1966 to The Mod Era 1967-1972. The first Barbies were manufactured with very definite facial features, dark eye make-up and ponytails with curly bangs (fringe). The first doll is now the rarest of all, she is stock #850 and is the only doll produced that had holes in her feet with copper tubes inserted into the holes to hold her upright on tiny pegs on the black round stand that came with the doll. The doll and the stand are now extremely rare and highly sort after by collectors.
The Ponytail Barbie came out with blonde or brunette hair, but it is suggested that twice as many blonde Barbie dolls were produced as brunette dolls. So in saying that; the brunette Barbie doll is now very rare and highly collectible as well.
I have recently seen an original vintage blonde ponytail Barbie being offered for sale for $15,000! Yes you read that right $15,000…… In 1959 it would never have been imaginable that the beautiful Barbie would ever be worth so much today! She truly is an icon and loved the world over. They have since made a Reprodution of her.
I hope you enjoy the following pages on the years of the Vintage Barbie Dolls and her climb to unsurpassed popularity.