Looking for and buying vintage Barbie dolls can be both an exciting and overwhelming task; either for collectors that are just getting into Barbie dolls, or for those who have been collecting them for years, men and women. The dolls may appear to be in perfect condition to the untrained eye, but with a little research you’ll understand that there are certain things to look for in each particular model.
Not just a pretty face
Some dolls may have “alien ears”, which are green due to the doll’s earrings that caused the vinyl to ruin from the contact with the metal. Some models can be treated, but in others is almost impossible to treat and erase. If you accept this defect, you can get a discount.
Some Ponytail Barbies will have a greasy face due to a leaking of plasticizer and it can’t really be cured. You can temporarily fix it, though, removing as much grease as you can and then powdering the face; until the leak starts again. Eventually, the leak will remove the facial makeup.
The face makeup paint is something to pay special attention to as well. The paint needs to be bright and the doll should not have been repainted. If the seller allows it, you may rub a bit of alcohol and if it comes off, the doll has been repainted. The paint appears in the doll’s lips, eyeliner, eyebrows, blush, and dots for nostrils. Some models will also have nail polish. If some of these painted spots are missing paint, you should ask for a discount.
A good head over her shoulders
A little bit of “restyling” will be acceptable. The rubber bands on Ponytails most likely broke and have been replaced, that’s not too bad. However, check the hair roots for missing plugs that might affect the overall appearance of the hair, making it look bad, thin and uneven.
Kids have played with these dolls, we know, it’s ok. They tend to switch the heads on the Barbies, because they found it fun for some reason. However, when an adult collector does it for profit, then that’s not ok. You can find books online on how to see if the body matches the head of the doll.
A rocking body
Many things have been told about a Barbie’s body. We know you collectors appreciate its perfection, but there are things to notice when getting a vintage doll.
Modern barbies of the late fifties had knee joins that could make them have three poses and stick to them. Collectors call those “clicks”. If any of the clicks is loose, you should ask for a discounted price.
The American Girl model had soft legs made of vinyl and for some reason kids like to put pins into them. Check the neck and the leg area for pokes holes or splits made by prickpins.
Also, check for the limbs to be stuck properly, check for full range movement and for them to not fall off onto your hands! Some sellers may very sneakily glue them back together and won’t allow you to take the doll out of the box for you to check.