The first Barbie fashion dolls, patented by Mattel in 1958, arrived on toy store shelves in 1959. By 1960, Barbie was a marketing success. The development of Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken, began in 1960. Many other friends followed. Clothing, vehicles, doll houses, and other accessories became an integral part of the line.
From September 1961 through July 1972 Mattel published a Barbie magazine. At its peak, the Barbie Fan Club was the second largest girls’ organization, next to the Girl Scouts, in the nation.
Barbie sales are approaching the 100-million mark. Annual sales exceed five million units. Barbie is one of the most successful dolls in history.
References: Joe Blitman, “Barbie Doll and Her Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod World of Fashion,” Hobby House Press, 1996; Joe Blitman, “Francie and Her Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod World of Fashion,” Hobby House Press, 1996; Sarah Sink Eames, “Barbie Doll Fashion, Vol. I: 1959–1967 (1990, 1998 value update), Vol II:” 1968–1974 (1997), Collector Books; Rebecca Ann Rupp, “Treasury of Barbie Doll Accessories: 1961–1995,” Hobby House Press, 1996. General: Scott Arend, Karla Holzerland and Trina Kent, “Skipper: Barbie’s Little Sister,” Collector Books, 1998; J. Michael Augustyniak, “The Barbie Doll Boom,” Collector Books, 1996; J. Michael Augustyniak, “Collector’s Encyclopedia of Barbie Doll Exclusives and More,” Collector Books, 1997; Sibyl DeWein and Joan Ashabraner, “The Collectors Encyclopedia of Barbie Dolls and Collectibles,” Collector Books, 1977, 1996 value update; Robert Gardner, “Fashion Dolls Exclusively International: ID and Price Guide to World-Wide Fashion Dolls,” Hobby House Press, 1997; A. Glenn Mandeville, “Doll Fashion Anthology and Price Guide, 5th Revised Edition,” Hobby House Press, 1996; Marcie Melillo, “The Ultimate Barbie Doll Book,” Krause Publications, 1996; Lorraine Mieszala, “Collector’s Guide to Barbie Doll Paper Dolls,” Collector Books, 1997. Patrick C. Olds and Myrazona R. Olds, “The Barbie Doll Years: 1959–1996, Third Edition,” Collector Books, 1999; Margo Rana, “Barbie Doll Exclusively for Timeless Creations: 1986–1996, Book III,” Hobby House Press, 1997; Margo Rana, “Barbie Exclusives, Book II,” Collector Books, 1996; Margo Rana, “Collector’s Guide to Barbie Exclusives: Identification and Values,” Collector Books, 1995; Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, “Contemporary Barbie: Barbie Dolls 1980 and Beyond,” 1998 Edition, Antique Trader Books, 1997; Beth Summers, “A Decade of Barbie Dolls and Collectibles, 1981–1991,” Collector Books, 1996; Kitturah B. Westenhouser, “The Story of Barbie, Second Edition,” Collector Books, 1999.
— Harry L. Rinker
“Official Price Guide to Collectibles”