Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Finding older Barbies at the price you want to pay.

Perhaps you're like me--an adult collector who has decided to remake her childhood collection, and add the dolls she always wished for as a girl. In my case, it's 1980s-era pink box Barbies, which were made in copious supply. But these days, it's rare to find a NRFB pink box Barbie, and those can be priced fairly high. So, what to do? What is the best way to find a doll like this? I'll share my tips with how I found Crystal Barbie.

  • First, I had to decide what condition I would settle for in my collection. Crystal Barbie was a doll I never owned as a girl, and one I had always coveted. Ideally, I wanted a complete and mint doll. Non-smoking home was a must.
  • Next, I started my search on Google. It helps a lot if you know the doll's year of issue. Crystal was originally released in 1983. It just helps because there may be other dolls with a similar name, and this will help narrow your search. I entered "crystal barbie 1983" in the search box.
  • Amazon often has third party sellers that carry vintage dolls. They currently have two listed. One for $99.97 and one for $30. Be sure to always check the sellers' rating before purchasing from a third party seller. And because the price range differ so much (when I was looking, I only saw the $99.97 doll for sale), be sure to do some comparison shopping, too.
  • Sure enough, on the first page of the Google listings, there are some Shopping Results. Again, pretty big price range, the lowest is $40 from Ruby Lane. Unfortunately, the doll listed there is missing her right drop earring (and her hair isn't exactly mint).
  • Don't forget about the wonderful DollPage Show and Sell site. It's free to post your ads for dolls there, and all listings are only for dolls. Do your homework (on price and also on seller feedback!) before making an offer on a doll, however.
  • Next, check out eBay. Make sure you ask relevant questions before you buy (for me, that question might be, "Does she come from a non-smoking home?") And also, be sure the seller has plenty of positive feedback. You may bid on more than one doll at a time, but you run the risk of winning all of them, or none of them. Also, you can do your own search on eBay as well. Here are the results of "crystal barbie -jubilee -rhapsody -splendor -elizabeth -holiday", which will show you mostly Crystal Barbie (and still some others you're not looking for, too). It's a good way to gauge going prices. Also look on Completed Listings as well, though you will have to log in to eBay to see the results.
  • If you're looking specifically for a Barbie, be sure to stop by the Doll Lounge. They often have dolls here at reasonable prices. They also have a selection of celebrity dolls, Crissy, Glamour Gals, Jem, Tuesday Taylor, She-Ra, Rainbow Brite, Masters of the Universe, Smurfs and more.
  • Also, don't forget to check Joe's List, Joe Blitman's website. His inventory is updated regularly and is worth checking out. He knows all there is to know about vintage dolls and collecting. I bet if you can't find a particular doll, he might be able to help you.
  • Doll club meetings and doll shows. Sometimes, you'll find the doll you've always wanted in someone else's collection. So don't be shy--bring up the fact that you're on the lookout for a particular doll. Lots of people are looking for a specific doll. Who knows? Maybe someone has one of your favorites up for sale or trade!
  • Nancy, one of my regular readers, left a comment with three other terrific sources for hard-to-find dolls that I forgot to add: your local thrift stores are the first. I found a wonderful 1970s era PJ in excellent condition quite recently, and now, I'm bummed if I drive by and the stores aren't open.
  • Her second suggestion: yard sales! Another wonderful resource. I have an aunt we sometimes call the yard sale queen. She finds wonderful deals without even looking. I need to put her to work for me. 
  • Nancy's last suggestion: Craig's List. You can even post Want to Buy posts on there, I believe. It's all free. You can look at local listings or national listings (if you know someone in the area, it's ideal, just for references and so you can pay cash). And thanks, Nancy!
Finally, I'd like to invite you to post a comment on this article, if you're looking for a holy grail or hard-to-find doll.  I'd love to help you out. Maybe one of my other readers can help you, as well. And don't forget to subscribe to the comment thread, in case someone gets back to you. Good luck with your search!


  1. Excellent article, but don't forget thrift stores, antique shops, yard sales, and Craigslist. There are great finds to be had.

  2. Oh yes, thank you! I will add those right now! :)


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