An American Classic


Jul 25, 2001


The Bottom Line Barbie is an American classic, and there are dolls suitable for playing and those best kept in their boxes as collector's items. Not all are appropriate.

When my husband and I learned we were expecting our first little girl, our third child, we were both very excited. My father collected dolls for me as he took business trips around the world, when I was a little girl, and I still treasure these special mementos. I wanted something similar for our daughter to experience and treasure, but I wasn't sure how to go about doing that for her. We don't have the money to travel extensively. So I sat back and waited for an answer.

One day, I stumbled across the Barbie website, and was intrigued by some of the lovely collector edition dolls they had on display there. Sure, I had had Barbies to play with as a child -- who didn't? But never any so carefully outfitted or beautiful as these. I decided that collecting Barbies for her to keep on display, rather than play with, was a nice idea. I had been taught early on to take good care of my foreign dolls, and that they were not for general playtime use. These would receive the same special treatment. And perhaps one day, unlike my own collection of miscellaneous street market dolls, while precious to me, these Barbies might fetch a fair price should she ever need money in a desperate situation (heaven forbid).

I watch for very special Barbies, and for sales. Most of the time, I prefer to spend $6 or less on a Barbie. Certainly, I doubt these are the type that will be worth mega bucks one day, but then no one suspected those original Barbie dolls would be so valuable one day either. At any rate, it expands her collection and makes for an inexpensive gift that delights her, even at her young age (she is now nearing her second birthday). We have splurged on a couple of more expensive Barbie dolls, and received one as a gift for her. These are the 1998 Christmas Barbie, Barbie as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and Celebration Barbie. With these more expensive dolls, wait for a sale and wait for a major holiday to pass by if you can!

While I don't like all Barbie dolls on the market, most are nice and something I wouldn't mind my daughter having. One I dislike is a doll I saw on Amazon.com just this morning. Barbie is inside a fake cake, from the waist down. The idea is you and your daughter decorate the cake base with frosting and candies, and can rinse and rewash it as needed for another use. Personally, I think that's going too far, even if the doll is wearing a dress. But like I said, a doll like this is an exception, thank heavens, and most Barbie dolls are acceptable for little girls to play with or collect.


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