With the new Barbie movie coming to a theater near you this summer, complete with a top-secret plot, collectors are ready to buy, sell, and trade America’s favorite doll.

Director Greta Gerwig’s new Barbie movie is going to help drive market prices up for the popular vintage dolls and all the Barbie paraphernalia that goes along with them.

The Bild Lilli doll, the German fashion doll that sparked Barbie designer Ruth Handler’s inspiration for Barbie dolls in the first place, regularly sells for thousands of dollars on the open collectibles market.

The German dolls had fashion outfits, makeup, and a well-known place in the history of doll collecting. I’ve appraised my fair share of Bild Lilli and Barbie dolls and Barbie accessories, evaluating them all with high values depending on many factors.

Barbie will be the focus of the movie’s plot, no doubt, but her supporting cast of characters such as Ken, Midge, Allan, etc., will also have roles in the film, as they did in the imaginations of children since Barbie’s debut on March 9, 1959, at the American Toy Fair in New York City.

In the Barbie-sphere, Barbie’s friends did not outshine Barbie. However, with collectors, Barbie’s friends are of interest. Ken was Barbie’s boyfriend, and vintage examples of the male doll and his accessories are collectible.

But it is Barbie’s female friends who are most popular in the collectible doll market, such as Skipper, PJ, Midge, and Francie, Barbie’s British, and very fashionable, cousin. For instance, Midge, Barbie’s best girlfriend early on, arrived on the scene in 1963 and Allan appeared a year later in 1964. Barbie, Ken, Midge, and Allan would often double date.

Over the decades, Midge married, became pregnant, got canceled, and was reintroduced. Allan, Midge’s boyfriend and later husband (as of 1991 when they wed), was featured much less often and less prominently. While Allan was Ken’s buddy, he was later unceremoniously omitted from the Barbie and friends group.

Character backgrounds should play a prominent role in the new film. The foursome of Barbie, Ken, Midge, and Allan was not as popular as Barbie and Midge were as a twosome. And, when Midge matured and had a magnetic baby bump that could be removed, controversy ensued.

Midge didn’t share the same wholesome attraction as Barbie, wore less makeup, and wasn’t as fashionable when it came to clothing choices. As a result, Midge didn’t have the same prominence as Barbie either. Midge was discontinued in 1967, and PJ replaced her, with blond pigtails and a closer resemblance to Barbie.

Midge returned in the late 1980s as part of the California Dream Barbie set. The 1980s Midge doll is a rare and sought-after collectible doll today because she was a limited edition.

Barbie lovers liked her having a girlfriend, but collectors didn’t care who the girlfriend was, Midge or PJ. For the 60th anniversary in March 2023, Mattel reintroduced Midge. She featured her original and youthful freckled face and auburn hair, and she wore a two-piece creamsicle bathing suit. Midge did not have any babies or Allan in tow for her reintroduction.

The collectors who are ready to sell will have a good opportunity on the heels of the July 21 movie premiere.

As a couple, Midge and Allan don’t command the same values as Barbie and Ken, their more popular best friends. A well-dressed Midge doll in good condition from the 1960s would be worth $400 to $600 today. The best Allan doll example with an original box could command $300.

On the other hand, a vintage Barbie doll regularly commands several hundreds to thousands of dollars from the most enthusiastic collectors.

As actors Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling bring Barbie and Ken to the big screen, collectors will get ready to reach into their pockets to buy vintage Barbie objects, or they’ll cash in, knowing a big-budget Hollywood feature will bring new money into a very slow doll market.

Either way, it promises to be a cool summer with Barbie and the gang — both in vintage packages and on contemporary movie screens.

A Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide, appears on History channel’s The Curse of Oak Island and Pawn Stars Do America and helps clients with appraisal services at drloriv.com. Watch her show you how to find valuables at bargain prices on youtube.com/drloriv or call (888) 431-1010.

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