If you own the original model from 1959, you might have a downpayment on your own dream house | Source: Pinterest

62 Years Young: The Most Expensive Vintage Barbie Dolls

Few toys can say they’re still thriving at 62 years old. According to Statista, Mattel’s Barbie brand generated gross sales amounting to about A$1.83 billion in 2020. And while the world’s most popular doll is continuing to inspire children everywhere, there’s a sub-category of fans who enjoy the toy just as much – the collectors.

With any mega-brand comes a band of enthusiasts who delve into the world of rarity and uniqueness to uncover the most expensive and intriguing pieces. For Barbie, this means some of the most sought-after dolls costing far more than the original toy cost when it entered the market. The most expensive Barbie dolls are early versions, limited pieces, special editions and designer creations. Coveted among collectors, here is a look at some valuable Barbie’s.

Barbie by Stefano Canturi

Created by Australian jewellery designer Stefano Canturi in 2007, this one-of-a-kind Barbie doll sold for A$410,840 at Christie’s Auction House, New York in 2010. The doll features a necklace with a rare one-carat Australian pink Argyle diamond, worth A$407,000 alone, surrounded by three carats of white diamonds. But there’s a feel-good end to this story: The doll was actually created to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The designer spent six months creating the unique Barbie doll, adding his signature style to everything including the doll’s hair, eyelashes, make-up and dress. Accompanying the necklace is a diamond ring, black strapless party dress and pink peep-toe stilettos.

Barbie And The Diamond Castle

Created as a one-off piece in 2018 to promote the Barbie and the Diamond Castle movie, this princess Barbie is estimated to be worth A$128,750. That’s far from surprising when you take into account the Barbie includes 318 diamonds, weighing 20.66 carats altogether. The doll’s dress is adorned with 44 of those diamonds, the rest feature on her tiara, earrings, bracelet, necklace, ring, and slippers.

De Beers Barbie

To celebrate Barbie’s 40th anniversary, Mattel paired up with De Beers to outfit this glamorous doll. The 1999 doll features a waist belt with 160 diamonds a top made of 18K gold and a full-length skirt and golden bikini top. In 1999 this expensive Barbie doll sold for A$116,000. Adjusted for inflation, this rare piece is worth around A$177,500 today.

Blue Ivy’s Barbie Doll

Only the daughter of Beyonce and Jay-Z could get a personalised Barbie doll as a gift for her first birthday. Costing the celebrity couple A$108,650, the ‘Blue Ivy’s Barbie Doll’ features 160 diamonds and white gold jewellery. The custom-created present was a fitting gift following the princess-themed birthday bash the couple held for their daughter in New York in 2013.

The Original 1959 Barbie

For collectors, there’s nothing quite like an original first edition. While 62 years old, the first-ever 1959 Barbie, is still one of the most sought-after dolls in the world. Available as either blonde or brunette, the toy is styled in a Hollywood-esque bathing suit with striking red lips and thick black eyeliner. In its first year Mattel sold about 350,000 each costing just A$4. Today originals are valued at around A$10,800 and higher.

Barbie in ‘Midnight Red’

This incredibly rare Barbie Doll first released in 1965 is a highly sought-after limited edition variant of the ‘Barbie in Midnight Blue.’ Not to be confused with the Barbie in ‘Midnight pink,’ the doll features a flowing red gown and long sleeve gloves. A highly prized piece for collectors, an original fetched A$16,920 at a Christie’s auction in 2006, becoming the highest price paid for a Barbie doll at the time.

Pink diamond Barbie

This one-of-a-kind Barbie is a three-way collaboration between designer duo David and Phillipe Blond along with Principal Designer at Mattel, Bill Greening. Debuting at the Blond’s New York Fashion Week Spring 2013 show, the doll features hand-laid diamonds, a faux pink fur coat, a pink diamond ring, and pink studded diamond earrings. The valuable Barbie doll is estimated to be worth A$20,370.

If you’re a collector, you might also be interested in reading the most valuable collectibles of the ’80s and the most valuable collectibles of the ’90s.

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