Describe your collection.
I have about 3300 Barbies. I also collect clothes and other merchandise, including Ken and some of Barbie’s friends. While I don’t own the very first Barbie, I do have dolls that date back to the 1960s.
When and why did you start collecting Barbie?
I was in the Barbie aisle at a toy store one day in 1985; I was in my 30s. The bridal Barbie caught my attention because she is so beautiful. I just had to have her, so my husband bought it for me for Christmas that year. I am the only girl in a family of six kids and now I have three sons of my own. My husband travels a lot for work so this is a nice hobby that keeps me active.
How do you display and store your collection?
My husband made a shelving system for me to display my dolls. Our house looks pretty ordinary, there is no evidence of Barbie when you walk in. We added a second storey to our home to accommodate my collection, so I keep everything in that space and in the rumpus room in the basement.
When I first get a new doll, I record her identification number in an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my collection. Sometimes that doesn’t get done until the winter. I live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where the winter is long and cold. Collecting is a great hobby for the winter months when I can’t get out to the garden.
What do you consider to be the Holy Grail of Barbies?
For me, it’s that first Barbie I purchased in 1985. She was only $20 but I still remember how she took my breath away. For collectors, the original Barbie is the Holy Grail, of course. That doll can cost up to $10,000. My husband offered to buy it for me for my birthday but I declined, it’s just too much money and one wants to be certain of authenticity before spending that kind of money.
What resources do you use to acquire knowledge about your collectibles and connect with other collectors?
I’ve read pretty much every Barbie book available. There are good resources online for researching Barbie collectibles and connecting with other collectors. People do ask me for advice about their Barbie-related toys, especially since the CTV segment about my collection aired. I thought it would just be a local broadcast but it aired all over the place. I don’t really like providing information about value but I will share what I can with other people.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a Barbie collection?
Go for it! Collecting is a wonderful escape. If something is bothering me or if I’ve been sick, being among my collection relaxes my mind. I think any hobby would be the same. Collecting is a great escape.
Watch the CTV segment featuring Andrea’s collection.
Uncover objects of play through the eyes of collectors.