How to Sell Barbies: 6 Steps to Getting Top Dollar for Your Barbie Collection

A collection of Barbies sit on a concrete ledge with a playground in the background.
Mattel's first Barbie doll for preschool children, second from left, called My First Barbie, sits with a collection of Barbie Extra dolls in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, on Wednesday, January 4, 2022. Ted Shaffrey/AP Photo

If you grew up a Barbie girl living in a Barbie world, you already appreciate the value of these collectible dolls. And with the Barbie movie smashing box office records this summer, the prices for these vintage dolls could skyrocket alongside their resurging popularity.

When my little sister cut the hair off my mom’s 1960s Barbies back in the day, there were a lot of tears on both sides. Understandably since, like other vintage toys, Barbie doll collections fetch quite a price among doll collectors looking to cash in on limited edition and vintage Barbies.

Barbie has been around the block and back again since Mattel introduced her in 1959, with wildly different styles and personas through the decades. Because of Barbie’s consistent popularity, many regard these dolls as influential icons. Certainly, it’s hard to refute Mattel’s outsized impact on young women and why these vintage toys are valued collector’s items.

A 1971 Malibu Barbie is photographed against a magenta background.
Malibu Barbie is one of the most popular Barbie dolls to sell. This one is a 1971 Malibu Barbie. Photo courtesy of Mattel, Inc/Barbie

Is Your Barbie Doll Collection Worth Anything?

Because these dolls are an established brand around the world, selling collectible Barbies can be a lucrative side hustle. And, of course, dolls in the original box with all the accessories fetch the best price from potential buyers.

If you want to sell Barbie dolls, it can be helpful to understand which dolls people are interested in collecting. Some of the most popular Barbies for sale include:

  • Western Barbie
  • Malibu Barbie
  • Teenage Fashion Model Barbie Doll

Various versions of Holiday Barbie are also popular with buyers. While most dolls in good condition are sold in the $75 to $150 range, rare editions can sell for much more. For example, one of the most valuable Barbies in the world is a platinum-label Karl Lagerfeld Barbie Doll. Unsealed in the original packaging, it has fetched prices of $6,000 or more.

Flipping dolls isn’t the only way to make extra cash. Check out our vintage toy selling tips to mine old stuff for other collectible toys like Fisher Price and GI Joe.

How to Sell Barbies in 6 Steps

Don’t just throw your vintage Barbie onto a site and hope for the best. Walk through this step-by-step process to ensure you find the right buyer and maximize profit.

Step 1: Verify Your Dolls Are Actually Barbies

There are a lot of companies out there that have sold Barbie knockoffs over the years. So how do you tell if yours is the real deal? Here are a few important details to look for.

Inspect Markings From Manufacturers

Most Barbies are stamped with a trademark logo from Mattel, usually on the right hip. The doll may have other marks, but the company usually uses those for assembly.

Scan for “Made in” Details

If your Barbie is marked as “made in Japan,” that’s actually a good sign. Barbies were made in Japan until 1972, while later models come from Mexico, Hong Kong or Taiwan and are not considered vintage.

Note the Feet and Hands

Is there a hole in the bottoms of your Barbie’s feet? Congrats, because you have a vintage doll. Take a closer look at Barbie’s hands. Note that if her fingers are completely separated instead of slightly fused, this doll probably predates 1968.

Check Your Barbie’s Neck Knob

This sounds like a strange and terrible idea, but the easiest way to verify and date your doll is to carefully remove her head and inspect the neck joint. If the neck knob is small and protruding, be aware it’s likely vintage Barbie.

Not sure if you have a vintage Barbie or not? Eliminate the element of surprise before you list and double-check this doll reference site with carefully cataloged photos of porcelain, wax and other plastic dolls.

Step 2: Research the Value of Your Barbie Collection

Now that you’ve verified and dated your doll, it’s time to hit the internet and see what sellers pay for your Barbie. eBay is a good place to start, but you’ll have to weed out all the new Barbie models from the vintage dolls.

Established in the late ’50s, Barbie is Mattel’s largest and most profitable toy line, with over a billion dolls sold. Obviously, the first Barbies are the most prized for collectors, especially those that date between 1959 and the late 1960s. These models are incredibly rare and typically have red hair and bendable legs. In mint condition, you’ll see these dolls auctioned off for as much as $25,000.

Step 3: Evaluate Your Barbie Doll’s Condition

If you want to hit the jackpot with your doll collection, look for the following features that buyers reward with top-dollar bids.

  • Hair color and style: Barbie’s hair isn’t just yellow. It’s platinum blond, beach blond and more. The hair color may have faded if the doll has been in direct sunlight. A Barbie with the original hairstyle undisturbed, such as bangs or braids, is also worth more on the collector’s market.
  • Condition: Missing or broken parts aren’t a dealbreaker but will significantly lower the value of your doll. Likewise, scratches or any other damage, such as chopped hair, should be carefully noted.
  • Accessories: Check out photos of the original Barbie and determine if yours is missing anything. Look for sunglasses, a purse or even a belt that goes with the original outfit. Inspect clothing closely for wear and tear, rips or other imperfections.
  • Environmental factors: Sellers will fetch higher prices for dolls from smoke-free or pet-free homes. For vintage goods, these two factors have an outsized effect on the condition of your item.

And last but not least, note if the Barbie is sealed in the original box. Obviously, this is rare, but you’ll find the best new home for your collection if you’ve preserved the dolls as collector’s items right from the start.

Step 4: Clean and Photograph Your Barbies

Take Barbie for a day at the spa before you snap pictures. Smooth hair and spot-clean the plastic and clothes to ensure Barbie is ready for her cover shoot. When you do take pictures, turn off the camera’s flash and use natural light for the best effect.

And if you have the skills, shoot and edit a short video with your smartphone. Listings with videos sell better and for higher prices than those with just photos.

Step 5: Price and List Your Barbie Doll

Now that you’ve photographed the collection, it’s time to take Barbie to the next level. Craft a listing with as much detail as you can cram into the description, and use your research to ensure you don’t skimp on the asking price.

Remember that some platforms are better suited for purchasing vintage Barbies, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t find the right buyer immediately. And consider expanding where you’re willing to ship, such as to Canada or Europe, to attract more interest.

Step 6: Package and Ship Your Barbies

As with any collectible, it’s important to package Barbies carefully with shipping material like bubble wrap to protect the toys from damage in transit.

You can check links to the USPS Postage Price Calculator to determine how much shipping costs are based on location, weight and package size.

The Best Places to Sell Barbies Online

If you had the foresight to save an old Barbie collection and want to cash in on triple-digit payday, these platforms are the perfect places to start selling dolls.

Start with eBay

eBay is always a solid first stop when selling secondhand or collector’s items. You’ll not only be on the largest resale site in the world, but it’s a prime hunting ground for toy enthusiasts.

Try Vintage Sites for Collectible Dolls

If you have the 1950s or ’60s doll, a few vintage websites specialize in finding homes for Barbies with collectors who appreciate the history behind the hourglass figure. Some cities also have selling forums specifically for toy collectors, such as Dallas Vintage Toys.

Sell Unopened, Collectible Barbies at Brian’s Toys or Amazon

Regarding second-hand toy sites, a few only accept Barbies for sale if the dolls are unopened in the original box. Because setting up as an Amazon seller can be time-consuming, consider other sites geared toward toy collectors like Brian’s Toys.

Don’t Skip Facebook Marketplace

And last but not least, lean into online resale hubs like Facebook Marketplace or your local classifieds to find potential buyers, especially for Barbie collections showing their age or missing accessories.

Collecting Mattel Barbie Dolls

If you didn’t save your old Barbie doll collection, it’s never too late to start again. Mattel offers a signature line of Barbies that hold their value as an investment.

Want another reason to say come on, Barbie, let’s go party? The most expensive Barbie doll, a custom model designed by world-famous Australian jeweler Stefano Canturi, sold at auction in New York in 2010 for more than $300,000.

Kaz Weida is a senior staff writer at The Penny Hoarder covering saving money and budgeting. As a journalist, she has written about a wide array of topics including finance, health, politics, education and technology for the last decade.