Treasure: For Barbie #850, value all in the detail
Officially, she is known as #850, but more people would know her simply as “Barbie.” Anderia Kraus recently brought in an example of one of the most popular toys in history, one most Americans know simply by her first name.
“She has never been out of the box,” Kraus wrote to the column in an email. “Her head remains in cellophane and has no green on her pearl earrings. She was found in the attic of my husband’s aunt. She was purchased for $.66 back in 1963. No one has been able to price her because of the red ponytail/ red swimsuit. She remains in the full box, she’s never been removed.”
That detail is of primary importance to collectors, says appraiser Brian Thomczek, who took a look at Kraus’ Barbie during a recent Trash or Treasure session held at the Michigan Design Center in Troy.
“My husband’s aunt had her and we found her in the attic,” she explained to him while he took a closer look. “She had a Skipper too. I’ve been holding on to her for 25 years but no one seems to know much about her,” she told the appraiser.
According to a handy site, fashion-doll-guide.com, the #850 came in a variety of incarnations and hairstyles. Kraus’ appears to be a swirl ponytail, which was introduced in 1962 and came in hair colors that included ash, lemon, light blond, brunette and titian/red. Clothes include a red jersey swimsuit and toes are painted to match.
Thomczek said the original box and original condition are “incredibly important to collectors,” and “that’s what they want to see.” He added that Barbies are perennially popular and not just in the United States. “There’s definitely an international appeal.”
“Even the clothes alone can be worth a fair amount,” he added. He estimated that the clothes she’s wearing would bring about $100, and that the doll in her current condition would bring $250, maybe more. Similar models were on sale for approximately $200 online.
“I’d say the most you could expect, reasonably, would be $300,” the appraiser added. “You have everything and it’s in pristine condition,” he told her. “The original box and condition is what it makes it worth that much.”
Kraus was happy to hear the toy wasn’t something to toy with. “She came from Kresge’s and originally cost 66 cents,” she repeated in amazement after the appraiser filled her in on the doll’s current value.
“She’s definitely worth more than 66 cents,” Thomczek added. Kraus added that, given her value, she thinks she may decide to part with her. The appraiser recommended she consider a local auctioneer such as DuMouchelles or an online site that specializes in toys. “I think I’d like to sell her,” she told the appraiser. “I’m looking for somewhere she’d be more appreciated. She’s been sitting in a drawer for 25 years. It’s time.”
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About this item
Item: 1960s Barbie
Owner: Anderia Kraus
Appraised by: Brian
Estimated value: $250-$300