The long-anticipated Barbie movie is finally hitting theaters, and the stars aren’t the only ones who can earn some cash from Barbie’s big comeback.
Interest and values in older Barbie dolls are spiking this summer, which means if you have a Barbie doll, Ken doll or accessories, now just might be the best time to cash in.
Sherry Smiley is not just a Barbie fan. This owner of a collectible doll shop — O’Smiley’s Dolls and Collectibles — has hundreds of Barbie dolls in her collection.
She says the new movie is sparking interest in the dolls, especially brightly colored ’90s Barbies that match the movie’s look. And prices are rising on those.
“This doll we have priced at $149.99,” she said, of one pristine condition doll from roughly 1995.
Smiley says you should check your closet for those big hair dolls that look like Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in the new movie.
“Hollywood Hair Barbie is one of them,” she said, “and Totally Hair Barbie.”
“The movie is reflecting all of these dolls,” she added.
Earlier and later dolls do not match the movie as much.
Look for Trendy Barbies, Houses and Accessories
Nationally renowned antique appraiser Dr. Lori of Netflix’s “King of Collectibles” and The History Channel’s “Pawn Stars” told us she’s also seeing a much higher demand for Barbie appraisals. And it is no longer just for Barbies from the ’60s or ’70s.
“Sometimes it’s the newer, trendier stuff that’s more valuable,” she said.
Dr. Lori says the search is on, not just for dolls but also for Barbie’s friends and accessories.
“You look for the early houses, which are cardboard, very brightly colored.”
But make sure it’s the real thing. When buying a doll, Dr. Lori says to make sure it is legitimate and not a cheap copy: Barbies are clearly marked, usually on the back.
“Mattel did a very good job of making sure that their dolls were actually marked,” she said.
As for clothing, “She has a label on her clothing, just like all the great designers,” she said.
For sellers, she said condition is key, but a Barbie may be more valuable with
- The original box
- A doll stand
- And original clothing or accessories that she came with
If a little girl (or boy) cut the hair off and smeared lipstick all over the doll, making it look like something Sid played with in the original “Toy Story”movie, it is probably not worth more than a few dollars. But Smiley warns some Barbies many people think are most valuable — the annual Holiday Barbies — are not.
That’s because millions of them never left their boxes, and there is now an oversupply of untouched dolls that today’s 30-year-old women have no interest in.
“Why would they buy a Holiday Barbie,” she said, “if their only memory is bad, how they did not get to play with them?”
So Smiley says check your closet for Barbies that look like the new movie. If it is a big-haired Barbie from the ’80s or ’90s, it may be going up in value. Look on eBay for recent pricing, and talk to a local toy or collectible store like hers to see if they may be interested.
And that way you don’t waste your money.