May 18, 2007
Collectible Barbie Dolls from Mattel
Did you realize that Barbie dolls are not just the favourite toy of little girls? Mattel estimates that there are over 100,000 adult collectors of Barbie dolls. Ninety percent of these collectors are women who are, on average around the age 40, and purchase at least 20 Barbie dolls a year. Almost half of Barbie collectors each spend over $1000 a year.
Mattel in recent years has been catering to this niche market. They have produced a range of collectible Barbie dolls with the aim of encouraging collectors to increase their collections in line with their individual tastes and interests. Barbie dolls of popular TV shows and movies, celebrities and popular singers, for example, have been produced with collectors in mind.
In 2004 Mattel introduced a colour tier system to help categorize collectible Barbie dolls and help collectors to find them. The colours signify the amount of dolls produced worldwide and indicate the rarity factor of the different dolls. The colour also indicates which kind of retail store stocks the particular type of collectible doll.
There are four colours in the collectible tier system, and this article gives the characteristics of each tier.
The first tier is the Pink Label collectible dolls. There is no limit on the quantity of dolls produced with the Pink Label. Pink Label Barbies include ‘The Dolls of the World’ series, ‘Festivals of the World’, ‘Model Barbie’, as well as some of the ‘Pop Culture’ dolls. Most dolls in the Pink Label are Barbie dolls , but there are also a few of Kelly doll as well. The Pink Label packaging is distinctive; the is box trimmed in pink, and has a clear front.
The next tier is the Silver Label dolls. The packaging is similar to the Pink Label, but with the box trimmed with silver. The criteria for the Silver Label tier is that no more than 50,000 of any Silver Label doll will be produced world wide. Included in the Silver Label are the ‘Wedding’ series, the ‘Birthday Barbies’, ‘Ballet Barbies’ and ‘I Dream of a Season’ dolls. Some types of Kelly doll and Tommy doll also can be found under the Silver Label.
Following the Silver is the Gold Label collectible dolls. Gold Label dolls are produced in quantities of no more than 25,000 of each doll. The packaging is different from the previous tiers. Silver Label dolls come in a “cake box” type package with an extra see through layer to protect the doll. The box has artwork and photography on the back and lid with gold decorative trimming. Included under the Gold Label are ‘Designer Fashion Model’ dolls, ‘Designer Bride’, Vintage Repros’ and ‘Pin-up Girls’ collectible dolls.
The top tier is the Platinum Label dolls. These dolls are produced in editions of less than 1,000, and also include one-of-a-kind-dolls that are available at special events, or are exclusive to one retail store only. An example of a Platinum Label collectible doll is the ‘White Chocolate Obsession™ Barbie® Doll!’ The doll’s hair has the scent of white chocolate. Other dolls include the ‘Faerie Queen’, Badgley Mischka Bride Barbie, and the exclusive ‘The Nurse’ Barbie doll designed by Robert Best.
Collectors avidly collect these tier Label dolls, and are rewarded by the exquisite attention to details in the clothes and accessories of each specially designed Barbie. To retain the value of these dolls they should be kept in the box as new. This is unfortunate, as they need to be touched to really appreciate the intricate details of the gown and dolls features. Should dolls like this be played with? A good question and maybe a topic for another article!
Tip! There are those who will argue that this whole collectible craze is just that, crazy. And then there are those who’s lives wouldn’t be the same without this stuff as many people actually have built businesses around buying and selling collectibles.