Barbie love

I may appear to be underwhelmed in this photograph circa Christmas 1972, but I can assure you I was more in shock from the pure joy of having just unwrapped the Barbie Camper. Inside, my brain was on overload...probably also on a sugar-cookie crash and sleep deprivation...but mostly super-excited. 

In fact, I think this may be one of my very first real memories. I can still smell the plastic out-gassing off the yellow and orange camper as it fueled the happy butterflies in my belly.

Going forward, probably for the next 8 Christmases, the Barbie shaped box was the one my present-seeking-guidance-system searched for first. My step-sister and I shared our Barbie passion and we couldn't wait to see which one we got that year. Would it be Super Star Barbie? Malibu Barbie?

I understand the current reticence about Barbie with her unnatural figure and beauty focus, but I am speaking now purely from the perspective of the 4-year old I was...I loved Barbie.

She was one of the first entrances for me into imaginative play, making scenarios for her and my one-legged Ken (he had an accident with the neighbor's dog) and Growing-Up-Skipper (you turned her arm and she got taller and boobs popped out - would never be made now).

I think the hours of playing with Barbie and her friends enhanced the part of my brain that now likes to create stories and write novels. Barbie did not murder Ken or Skipper in my childhood play, so not sure where my love of writing murder mysteries came in, but that's really for the therapist to figure out.

Although I loved Barbie so much, I don't tend to look for vintage Barbie's to sell on-line. I fully acknowledge I am out of my depth when it comes to today's collectors. There is a whole group of folks who buy, sell and collect vintage Barbie and her accessories and it is not a world I am part of.

But even with my limited knowledge, when I come across bags of vintage handmade Barbie clothes at a Church Sale for .25 a bag, I'm going to take a shot. I only have a quarter to loose.

So, I bought a pile of these Barbie clothes and will put them in my my Etsy shop and see what happens.

Plus, I got to play with a Barbie again to photograph some of the clothes for the site. This dress came with a matching still my 4-year old heart.

I came across some other toys too at the thrift store, but did know enough to leave them where they were on the shelf. 

Like this yellow-fluffy guy with the warts on his head. No one is collecting him.

And this caroler doll, she looks like she was just goosed. 

And Cruella-De-Vil's poodle...she had a rough night.

Happy Holiday shopping! I hope you get to give, or receive, a gift that gives the belly butterflies and a brain that goes on excitement-overload. 

But even more, I wish you all the peace and joy of the season, and time to laugh with and enjoy the ones you love. There is part of me that still wants to bring Barbie over to my step-sister's and see if she wants to play.


Carol Ann's Corner

Carol Ann's Corner
Tips from our favorite shop keeper

Real or Reproduction

As you are hunting around for treasure at yard sales and flea markets, you will come across things that make you wonder if they are original or reproductions. It can be hard to tell.

These are a couple tip offs.

One, does it look a little worn? It should if its really antique or vintage. Even the best kept china got moved around in the cabinet, the doll's vinyl body and hair faded a bit, or the lunch box got a little rust around the hinges. If it looks shiny and new, chances are it is.

Two, are there a lot of them? If you are in a shop or flea market stall and there are ten of the items you've been looking for and haven't been able to find...they have probably been manufactured. Unless you are at a reputable dealer who specializes in that item, then you may have hit the jackpot for your particular collectible.

A good way to gauge if it is a reputable dealer is they will be happy to answer your questions about if the item is authentic or not, and how you can tell. A dealer with a passion and knowledge about that item, will enjoy explaining that all to you. A disreputable dealer, not so much.

Carol Ann Miller
Proprietor, Miller's Fine Antiques

Popular Posts