Los Angeles, a city in California, is the subject of this Reuters report. In the 1970s, Matthew Keith made his initial purchase of Barbie dolls utilizing his personal allowance funds. He discreetly concealed these dolls from his parents, apprehensive that they might disapprove of the toys’ perceived lack of masculinity.
The individual’s Los Angeles residence accommodates 22 linear feet of bookshelves, exclusively dedicated to housing their valuable Barbie collection. The estimated value of this collection is approximately $20,000. The Instagram account “DollsOnTheBrain,” managed by a middle school teacher, currently boasts a substantial following of over 70,000 users. The report has gained approximately 15,000 new followers within the past few weeks alone.
The once obscure pastime has recently experienced a surge in popularity, primarily due to the extensive marketing campaign and heightened audience excitement surrounding the upcoming release of the film “Barbie” this weekend.
Thrift stores have witnessed a surge in the popularity of vintage Barbie dolls, which have become highly sought-after items. Consequently, prices in the collectibles market have experienced a significant increase, leading to a surge in inquiries received by antique appraisers from novice collectors.
Keith, 55 years old, expresses his appreciation for the enthusiasm.
During an interview, he expressed his contentment and optimism regarding the potential impact of the widespread acceptance of Barbie dolls. He further acknowledged the existence of numerous young boys who continue to experience societal pressure discouraging them from engaging with these toys.
The film “Barbie,” released on Friday, is projected to generate $100 million in box office revenue during its opening weekend in theaters across the United States. Retailers globally seek to capitalize on Barbie’s widespread enthusiasm by introducing a range of merchandise and services inspired by the iconic doll. These offerings encompass diverse products such as hotel suites, toothbrushes, and apparel.
Some individuals collecting the iconic doll for a significant period do not share Keith’s enthusiasm for the current surge in Barbie collecting. Within a Reddit forum dedicated to a particular hobby, some users expressed their grievances regarding the escalating prices caused by affluent newcomers. This surge in interest was primarily attributed to the anticipation surrounding an upcoming film release.
One user stated that they have primarily stopped collecting dolls and shifted their focus towards investing in clothing and accessories. The initial affordable hobby has now become financially burdensome to sustain.
According to Marl Davidson, a dealer of Barbie dolls based in Florida, there has been a noticeable price increase of approximately 25% over the past few months. MarlBe.com has experienced a significant increase in daily traffic, with about 3,000 daily hits. This number is three times higher than the usual amount. It is worth noting that a considerable portion of these visitors are individuals who are beginning their collections.
This level of interest is unprecedented in my experience. According to Davidson, the Barbie-collecting community has witnessed a significant influx of new adult members.
Collector dolls generally have a price point of approximately $100, whereas non-collector dolls typically fall within the price range of $10 to $30. The Barbie doll, commonly called the “Holy Grail, ,” was the initial model manufactured in 1959. This particular version of Barbie is highly sought after and commands a significant price, often reaching thousands of dollars in value.
According to Dr. Lori Verderame, a highly experienced antique appraiser, art historian, and renowned TV personality, the individuals who typically approach her for assistance with Barbie doll valuation are seasoned collectors who wish to evaluate the insurance worth of their collection. Dr. Verderame boasts an impressive 25-year career in this field.
According to Verderame, the movie has resulted in a significant surge of approximately 60% in demand for Barbie appraisals over the past month. This surge has surpassed the need for other doll brands that are typically more popular.
“How Barbie appraisals have been occurring is atypical,” she stated. The movie has allowed us to appraise exceptionally rare and exquisite dolls that may have remained unseen.
A significant number of such instances involve individuals who possess limited or negligible expertise in the field of doll collecting. For example, there have been cases where an individual acquired a Barbie doll from a second-hand store, only to discover later that its value exceeded $10,000.
Another individual discovered a doll in her mother’s residence, where it had been stored for an extended period. Subsequently, it was determined that the beauty was worth $8,500.
According to Verderame, numerous valuable Barbies can still be discovered during the treasure hunt at thrift stores. However, it should be noted that the current surge in seller interest is expected to diminish within approximately two weeks.
Keith, a collector based in Los Angeles, has consistently maintained a maximum purchase price of $230 for Barbie dolls. However, he asserts that a significant number of dolls in his collection have experienced an increase in value since their acquisition.
The individual expressed that they believe Barbie has positively impacted their finances, despite their significant investment in the doll since 1991.