Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Barbie! Collector's Corner Interview Part 1!

To celebrate Barbie's 50th Birthday, we have one of the ultimate Barbie collector's interviewed! Thank you, IgeanaG, for taking the time for our interview!

Readers you will love the education on Barbie *exclusive* Japanese pieces!!

1.We all know Barbie's are a hot collector's item, but what makes Japanese Barbie's, clothing etc special?

Mattel (thru the Kokusai Boeki Kaisha Co) started manufacturing Barbie in Japan in 1959, but it wasn't until 1961/62 that the Kokusai Boeki Kaisha company produced any dolls or outfits that were sold to the Japanese market.

The regular Barbie was not well received in Japan so other dolls were introduced--the Japanese Midge, had slightly oriental features and was well liked.

The Iki Iki Eli , bendleg Japanese sidepart American girl, sidepart bubblecut , Japanese Francie and Japanese Skipper were more dolls that were produced just for the Japanese Market.

While the regular clothes made in Japan were sent to the US and sold in Japan,too, it is the outfits and dolls that were made ONLY for the Japanese market that attract so many collectors today.

Japanese exclusive outfits are hunted like diamonds and we are very excited when one is found. Variations in fabrics and completely new outfits turn up all the time on yahoojp. The jewels of any advanced vintage collection are the Japanese Exclusives. Using Rinkya, I scour the Barbie sites every day, hoping to find a diamond in the pile of clothes a seller has for sale.

The kimonos made in Japan for Barbie are especially hard to find. There were three made from a brocade fabric and one with colorful silk. They are usually found on a Barbie doll with her hair up in an elaborate braided bun with a "Pearl" ornamentation in her hair. These Kimonos are not tagged as all of Mattel's other clothes for Barbie. They come with obis and purses. And oddly enough -American shoes.

One of the rarest Japanese exclusives is the Japanese Spanish ballgown.
It is a beautiful, elaborate gown that was probably expensive at the time. Very few of these have surfaced. Special jewelry was made just for this outfit. Some of the earlier outfits made for the American market were made for the Japanese market with totally different fabrics and these are highly sought also.

Most of the Japanese exclusive outfits came with special hats and purses-again made just for this market. It is VERY VERY hard to find complete outfits. I search and search on yahoojp and often bid on lots just for the hat or purse.

Since there isn't much documentation of these outfits, any time a never-removed-from-box outfit shows up , it is exciting. This comfirms what pieces go with the outfit. And we are usually surprised!! Odd color purses and shoes and hats that don't match are the norm.

In summary, the rarity and variety of the Japanese exclusives make these outfits sooooooo special!!

2. Do you collect new Barbie's as well as Vintage?

No, I collect only vintage and only vintage Barbie. No Francie or Skipper, but I do have a few Japanese Midges. Three fourths of my collection is 1959 thru 1964. Once I started collecting the Japanese Exclusive outfits the time line expanded a few years,into the late 60's. That's when the wonderful dressed box twist and turn Barbies were sold in Japanese-- some in exclusive outfits, of course.

3. How long have you been collecting?

Avidly, since 2000. I have always loved the doll. I have my Barbie #4 and her clothes that I got in 1960 for Christmas. Since I was older when I got her, she is very well preserved as are the clothes. In the early 90's I tried to find some additional outfits, but didn't do doll shows so it was hard to find the items.

With Ebay, the world opened up. I started trying to collect mint outfits, but due to seller's different meaning of "mint" I stopped that and started collecting never removed from box outfits. I have all the barbie outfits made from 1959 thru 1964 in the box, except for one, easter parade. I'll find it one day...

4. How did you get started collecting Japanese Barbies?

After so many years, you get all the US outfits and dolls and I reached that point a couple of years ago. I went through the sample and prototype outfit stage, but those are very rare and hard to find with proof to be Mattel unless you really know where they come from.
At this time I had a friend who was into Japanese exclusives outfits and naturally I got interested, especially in the early Japanese outfit variations of US outfits.
We were both only on eBay and these outfits were very scarce.
We had a mutual friend that sold the exclusives her friend found in Japan.
We tried to find a way to get on Yahoojp. We often visited the site, but it wasn't until I was told about Rinkya that my collection took off.
Rinkya has made it easy to bid on the outfits that appear on yahoojp and they help me understand the Japanese culture.
Rinkya also makes payment easy. And lastly--- ship quickly--- once the items are in the warehouse and I request shipment. And, of course, they put up with my computer ineptness.
Now, If they could scare up some more outfits--it would be perfect!!

5) What is your ultimate wish list item?

It is a white satin and net short dress with full skirt. Trimmed in silver and lace. It has a bolero white satin jacket with large white bow with rhinestone holding it together in the front.

The dress was made by the KB company for Mattel probably around 1965-66. It will have the Mattel Barbie label. It is one of those Japanese exclusives made just for the Japanese little girls.

Come back tomorrow for more!


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