As an Australian Barbie collector and a regular user of both eBay US and eBay Australia.I can't help but notice many Aussie eBayers lack understanding when it comes to identifying the place and manufacture of Barbie dolls. Hopefully, with this guide, we can clear up some of these misunderstandings!
All too often I see sellers offering "Vintage Barbies" from 1966. It is understandable why this mistake occurs- the world of Barbie doll collecting is a detailed and comprehensive one! Unfortunately, Barbies are not marked the same way that other dolls are marked.
The 1966 date that you often see on the back of the doll, is in fact, the patent/copyright registration date of Barbie's body mould. This date appears on Barbies made form 1966 to modern Barbies of the late 1990s. This date is NOT the date of the doll's manufacture!
All too often, friends of mine come across Barbies in garage sales with these 1966 dates and think they've hit the jackpot! Usually, these dolls are modern, played-with Barbies (junk dolls). Sadly, they are not worth very much and prove impossible to sell to the vintage Barbie collector.
As you can imagine, incorrectly identifying these dolls as "vintage/1966" is risky for the seller (for falsely advertising) and frustrating for buyers, who must sift through the "riff-raff" to find GENUINE vintage dolls on eBay.
So, how do you correctly identify a Barbie? The easiest way is to check the country of manufacture. These details can be found either: on the back of the head, on the back of the torso, or on the inside rim of the head (please be wary if you decide to check this one- if you're not careful, you're likely to damage the head or head knob and this will significantly lessen the worth of your potentially valuable doll!)
The following chart can help you narrow down what year your Barbie doll was made, according to what country the doll was made in:
BARBIE DATES AND PLACES OF MANUFACTURE:
1970-1987: HONG KONG and TAIWAN
1986-Present: CHINA and MALAYSIA
I hope this guide has proved useful to those of you who were unsure whether "That Doll" was a vintage Barbie or merely a modern, pre-loved toy. Similarly, I hope it has increased your awareness of the complex world of barbie collecting and Barbie identification- it's not as simple as it first seems!