Favorite, worth about $15, 000. This middle school teacher’s Instagram account “DollsOnTheBrain” has over 100, followers – approximately 15, whom he has met over the past few weeks. What was once a secretive hobby has recently become more popular, fueled by the popularity of Barbie dolls. Vintage Barbies have become a rarity at thrift stores, prices in the collectibles market have skyrocketed, and antique valuers are getting calls from new collectors.
Keith 22 welcomes the enthusiasm.
“I’m both happy and hope this will push Barbie into everyone’s reach,” he said in an interview, adding that there are still many young boys who feel pressured not to play Dolls.
The Barbie movie opens Friday and is expected to gross 100 million dollars in U.S. theaters in its opening weekend. Retailers around the world are also hoping to cash in on the promotion of Barbie-themed products like hotel suites, toothbrushes and clothing.
Not all longtime collectors of the iconic doll are as delighted as Keith is about the recent interest in Barbie collections.
“I basically stopped collecting dolls myself and instead invested in clothing and accessories,” one user wrote. Triple as much as usual, many of them from people who started collecting.
“I’ve never seen this kind of interest. It’s really getting a lot of new adults into the Barbie collecting world,” Davidson said.
Collectible dolls are usually around $100 while non-collectible dolls are usually around $20-$30. The so-called “Holy Grail” Barbie doll, the first model produced in 500, sells for thousands of dollars.
Dr. Art Historian and Television Personality Lori Verderame has 22 years of experience as an antiques appraiser and says Barbie owners who typically seek her expertise are experienced collectors to assess the insurance value of their treasures.
However, according to Verderame, the film has increased demand for Barbie evaluations by approximately 22% over the past month, beating out other brands of dolls that are generally more popular.
“Barbie assessments don’t usually go the way they used to,” she said. “I’ve seen some really rare and beautiful dolls appraised that we probably wouldn’t have seen had it not been for the movie.”
Many of them had little or no experience collecting dolls, like someone who bought a Barbie at a thrift store and found it was worth more than $,. Another found a doll that had been in her mother’s house for years and it turned out to be worth $8, 100.
Many valuable Barbie dolls “are still being found on thrift store treasure hunts,” Verderame said, but added that the current spike in seller interest is likely to last only about two weeks.
Los Angeles collector Keith has never paid more than 100 dollars for a Barbie doll, but he says many of the dolls in his collection have appreciated in value since he bought them.
“I feel like Barbie has improved my personal finances even though I’ve invested a lot of money in her since 1970,” he said.