East Sussex -
by Patricia Rose
Barbie has reached the big 4-0 this year! Yes, believe it or not, she has been around since spring 1959! She still appears to be as popular as ever, but now not just with young girls, but collectors of all ages.
Made by Mattel, Barbie was the first toy to be directly marketed to girls of the 3 to 11 age group. She was introduced to the world at the American Toy Fair in New York, in 1959 as "Barbie Millicent Roberts"!
Saturday morning T.V. advertising of Barbie in America proved a huge success. The Number One Barbie went on sale for just 3 dollars. Now a "Number One" in it's original box is worth £3000-£4000! These are of course highly sought after by keen collectors, as also are Japanese Barbies, which come with hand-knitted cardigans.
Barbie has not only survived for forty years,but has become more popular than ever with new generations.The makers have ensured that the doll moved with the times, keeping up with fashions with around 120 new outfits every year. In 1998 she was given a new look-the peroxide blonde hair and pearly smile were replaced by a more modern hair style and a closed mouth. The Barbie for the Milennium will have a less pronounced bust and hips, and a slightly thicker waist. She will be a career "girl", with a more serious, intelligent look. However she will still remain as desirable and collectable as ever to her millions of fans around the world!
Some Barbie Facts.
* 150 new models are released each year.
* Two Barbie dolls are sold every second in 140 countries.
* In October 1997 the billionth Barbie doll was sold.
* Last years sales of Barbie dolls topped $1.2 billion
*On average American girls own eight Barbies each, British girls average six each.
* Barbies boyfriend, Ken, was launched in 1961, but although they have been dating a long time, marriage and children are not on the cards!
* Barbie variations have included a fashion model, vet, nurse, astronaut, surgeon, stewardess, dentist, pop star and Olympic athlete, etc., etc., - in all around 60 careers.
* Barbie is a great animal lover, having 35 pets. These include a dog named Ginger, her horse, Nibbles, and a whale called Keiko!
*Barbie has a sister called Teen Skipper, and a friend called Movin' Groovin' Christine, and recently Share -a -Smile Becky was introduced. She comes with a wheelchair and a leaflet about the National Parent Network on Disabilities.
* In it's first two months The Barbie Fashion Designer sold 500,000 copies.
*The most valuable Barbies have holes in their feet!
If you would like to know more about Barbie read "Barbie : Four Decades of Fashion, Fantasy and Fun." By Marco Tosa. (Pavillion-£14.99).
If you are a collector, of Barbies, or anything, we would love to hear from you.
Tell us about your collection, especially if it is interesting, unusual or amusing.
© VillageNet 1998
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