February 3, 2024

First of all I'd like to thank you for visiting my Behold the Valley of the Dolls website. As you can see, Barbie collecting is fun! It appears the phenomenal success of the Barbie movie has given rise to a new legion of Barbie collectors, and what they will discover is collecting is an exciting hobby. It can also be competitive and expensive (the price of vintage dolls have skyrocketed since last summer's release of Barbie). 

As a long-time collector I'd would like to share some advice...

I didn't acquire my collection overnight. I started in 1987, and it grew one (or two) dolls at a time. 

When I started collecting Barbie in the 1980s there was no pressure of the internet to buy dolls, nor were there eBay or Amazon to do so. Collectors like me found our dolls at brick and mortar retail stores, such as Toys R Us, Children’s Palace, KB Toys, Walmart, Target and Venture (these five were my go-to stores). 
If you were into vintage dolls, you’d scout out antique malls, flea markets, yard sales, and doll shows. It was so exhilarating to enter a store, head to the Barbie aisle wondering, what new dolls are here? And they were there! It was all about the search, and we all had an equal shot of acquiring the doll. 

What I miss about Barbie collecting today is the lack of actual stores to buy them. It’s seemingly mostly on-line, you have to be quick to purchase the new dolls, particuarly the collector dolls, or they’re “sold out” within hours of release. And if you’re late to the game, you'll find them on the secondary markets at double the price or higher. Now some important advice in regards to that matter...

Patience is key when it comes to Barbie collecting. One thing I've learned over the 37 years of collecting is if you just wait, the doll you want will come around and at original price or an affordable price. I'm always happy I didn't pay double or triple the price on eBay or other doll seller venues. 

The pivotal moment of Barbie collecting for me took place on September 21, 1987. I’m a newbie hairdresser, first year in a salon, living in the university town of Lawrence, Kansas after my family’s relocation to the Kansas City area. It's my birthday and as a present I received the Barbie and the Rockers, a new wave band comprised of six neon-fashioned dolls. Needless to say, I was totally enamored.

This birthday gift reignited a love for Barbie I hadn't felt since childhood. Overight these dolls grew into an addiction, an obsession, a collection numbering close to 2,000 today.

My current home in San Diego is tiny so I don’t have the space to have the entire collection out on display. Our second bedroom serves as both a guest room and as my office. Here I get my Barbie fix. I have three shelving units, two top shelves of a book case, and the top of my work desk dedicated to around 350 of my favorite vintage dolls. The arrangement of dolls on these shelves is always changing. I guess that’s how I “play Barbie” because I really enjoy rearranging them.

How my Barbie dolls are on display as of February 2024: 

Buy What You Love.​💗 ... and HAVE FUN! 

My Collection 

Publicity shot of me with the collection, 2023. 

​​​​​​Behold The Valley of the Dolls

A Barbie History in Portraits​​

Early photos of me and my Barbie collection, circa 1990. 

Finding a 1970 New Good Lookin' Talking Ken for $35. at the Metcalf Antique Mall in Kansas City last summer.I brought this handsome doll home to San Diego! 

“Hot Rockin’ Fun!”  Barbie and the Rockers: Ken, Barbie, Dana, Dee Dee, Diva and Derek 

As for the rest of the collection, it’s tucked safely in the room’s closet in boxes (above right) that I can easily get to if I want to bring dolls out to photograph. Just because I don’t have these dolls out on display doesn’t mean I don’t love them any less.

Someday I hope to have a bigger home so all my dolls can be on display. It will be a marvelous site to see! 

Take for example, the beautiful Disco Barbie from the Barbie movie doll line (above). She sold within the first hour upon release in June 2023 on Mattel's Signature Barbie site (creations.mattel.com), the most common place for collectors to buy dolls in current times. She was already pricey at $50 but by the end of the day, secondary sellers were selling her for $100 and up. I missed out—I really wanted this beautiful Barbie but refuse to pay higher dollar so I put my patience at play. I knew I'd have her one day. Last week Mattel rereleased Disco Barbie and now she stands in my collection, purchased at original cost.  

Social media sites like Instagram are a great way to connect with fellow collectors, share your collections and make friendly connections. In the past, we didn’t have that outlet. For many years, I felt like a Barbie collector on my own, "the lonely doll collector," not knowing there were many collectors out there just like me (and a lot of male collectors too). 

Barbie collecting has been a love of my life! My favorite pastime! I’ve enjoyed every second of Barbie and imagine I’ll be collecting until the end of time... 

Buy What You Love.​💗

 I used to have all my dolls on display when I lived in a spacious house in Kansas City, in fact I dedicated a large room to an extensive toy collection where my Barbies stood beautifully in the center on a set of shelving units I dubbed "Barbie Island" (as you can see in the two photos below). 

My advice for the new collector is simple. "Buy what you love." 💗

Don't buy a doll because you're supposed to, or because everyone else is buying it. These days, it's so easy to get caught up with Instagram and YouTube. Before you know, you've spent a lot of money and are looking at dolls in your collection wondering, why did I buy that?

I started out buying Barbie and Ken dolls that looked different from one another, and didn't always buy the complete Barbie line. 

Take the dolls out of the box, or don't. It's your privilege to do what you want with your own dolls, including switching their fashions. Those who object should mind their business. I personally take every Barbie out of the box, including the vintage dolls, because that's how I roll...

Most importantly, ENJOY and let your doll collection be a reflection of you. 💗

My how the collection grew! Me, among Barbies and other toys in 2008.