How to Collect Antique Barbie Dolls

Antique Barbie dolls rate among the top most popular collectible dolls in the world. If you are interested in starting a collection, knowing what to look for when searching for Barbies will make all of the difference in the quality of your dolls.

Barbie Dolls and Terminology
Like any antique or collectible, condition is everything with vintage Barbie dolls. While not all of the terminology that is used relating to Barbies is concerned with condition, many of the terms are universal and can be used when working with other collectibles. These terms include:

  • Mint in Box or MIB: A Barbie that is in her original box with all of her original accessories. This Barbie has probably never been used.
  • Mint in Package or MIP: Like MIB.
  • Mint No Box or MNB: A Barbie that is in factory condition.
  • Mint & Complete: A Barbie that has all of her original accessories.
  • All Original or A/O: A Barbie with everything that she had when sold originally.
  • Near Mint: Almost perfect.
  • Never Removed from Box or NRFB
  • Collector Edition: Barbies that were made in limited quantities targeted specifically to collectors.
  • Hard to Find or HTF
  • Original Swim Suit or OSS
  • Timeless Treasures: Barbies that were made after celebrities.
  • Customized Barbies: Barbies that were produced for a particular store such as Target
  • Limited Edition: Barbies that were made in smaller production runs, or in totals of less than 35,000 dolls.
  • Modern Barbies: Modern Barbies were manufactured in 1972 and later years.
  • Vintage Barbies: Vintage Barbies were made prior to modern Barbies.

Barbie C Grading System
Another way to look at Barbie conditions is by using the C grading system, understanding that you may grade a given Barbie doll differently than someone else. Barbies in the first two levels, C-1 and C-2, can be used for parts only. Barbies in levels C-3 to C-6 have been loved and damaged, but can be restored. C-7 Barbies are A/O, but are not in mint condition. It is the C-8 to C-10 Barbies that most collectors usually want. Barbies that are rate C-10 are equivalent to mint in box.

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