Happy Holiday Barbie Dolls Dolls were made from 1988 to 1998. The 1988 Happy Holiday Barbie is considered to be the first "Collectible Barbie", although it wasn't originally planned that way. The dolls rapidly sold out and almost immediately began to command big prices on the secondary market. Based on the popularity of that doll, Mattel realized there was a huge market for Barbie Dolls for adult collectors. This was the beginning of the "Barbie craze" that continued to grow, reached an absolute fevered pitch in the late 1990s (thanks to the advent of eBay). Unfortunately for many, the craze has died down since the early 2000s, but there are still many adult Barbie collectors.
The charts above will give you an idea of price ranges for many collectible Barbies that are in mint condition and have never been removed from their boxes.
When Ruth Handler and Mattel introduced Barbie in 1959 it created quite a sensation! She was inspired by Ruth's daughter Barbie (of course), as an alternative to their weekly shopping for paper dolls.
I was born the same year as Barbie and she was a very important part of my childhood. When my own daughter started playing with Barbie, I fell in love with her beauty and elegance. Shortly after that, I rediscovered the precious few pieces that survived my childhood and I began collecting vintage Barbies. (The coat and purse pictured on the left are from my original childhood collection.) Vintage Barbie dolls and clothing are beloved by collectors for their quality and representation of the clothing of the era. As styles have changed, so has Barbie.
Barbie is no longer just a toy. She has become a very collectible doll. The introduction of Blue Rhapsody Barbie in 1986 marked both the first limited edition collector Barbie as well as the first porcelain Barbie. Mattel also created collector tiers of Pink, Black, Gold and Platinum Label Barbies. Special collections such as the Happy Holidays series, Dolls of the World, and Designer collections such as Bob Mackie have broadened the collector appeal. With Barbies representing all kinds of fashions, nationalities, careers and more there is certain to be one that appeals to just about everyone.