It's not so hard! Just follow these sets of questions to determine exactly which doll you have! If you still don't think you have your doll correctly identified, look at the ID Guide page HERE
...Or if you are still wondering, it's possible that we may be able to help if we can see a pic of your doll-- contact us!
(Background photo "Wanna go for a ride?" c/o cubby ~ cropped and color adjusted to fit background by Teresa)
The Ponytails were of course the first Barbies Mattel made, and they were produced from 1959-1964.
1. Does she have straight (non-bending) legs? Go to #2. Do her legs bend? Scroll down to GROUP C
2. Hair in Ponytail? Go to #3. Short bouffant hairstyle (Bubblecut) or molded plastic hair? Scroll down to GROUP B
3. White irises and inverted “V” brows?
If YES, go to #5. If NO, go to #4.
4. Blue Irises and gently curved brows?
If YES, Go to #8
5. Holes in feet w/ copper tubes? If YES, go to #6
If NO, go to #7
6. Congrats, You have a very rare #1 Ponytail! (1959)
7. Congrats, You have an equally rare #2 Ponytail! (later 1959)
8. Brown eyeliner? Go to #9; Blue eyeliner? Go to #10
9. Lucky you, You have a quite rare #3 Ponytail! (1960)
Blonde #3 w/Brown eyeliner (left, c/o Sandy Mann) - Brunette #3 w/ Blue liner (right)
10. Has her skin tone faded or paled to ivory, light pinkish, white? Go back to #9.
Has her skin retained its original flesh tone all over? Go to #11
11. Is her torso solid and heavy, and hair Blonde or Brunette? Curly poodle bangs? Go to #12.
Is her torso hollow? Wiry bangs? Go to #13
12. Hurray, You have a classic #4 Ponytail! (Later 1960)
13. OK, she has a hollow torso, Ponytail is Blonde, Ash Blonde, Brunette or Redhead (Titian)--Is her right butt cheek marked “Barbie-R”? Go to #14.
Is her butt cheek marked “Midge” then “Barbie” below that? Go to #19
14. Does she have an oily face? Go to #15.
Matte face, or not sure? Go to #16
15. Pat yourself on the back, You have a fabulous Early #5 Ponytail! (1961)
Above: Matte-face Titian and oily-face Brunette #5 Ponytails
16. LIPS: scarlet red, full (fullness may vary a bit)? Go to #17.
Full, watermelon pink? Go to #18
17. EYES: Light Blue (not turquoise) with blue eyeliner(Left top photo)? Go back to #15.
(Eye colors illustrated may be on Ponytails or Bubblecuts from same years.)
Eyes Medium Turquoise w/ teal liner (top right)? Go back to #15.
Eyes deep, darker Turquoise w/ teal liner (left lower)? Go to #18
18. Three cheers, You have a Later #5 Ponytail! (1962). Some classify the watermelon-lip girls as #6 Ponytails and the 1963+ dolls as #7 Ponytails.
Note the dark turquoise eyes, watermelon lips!
19. Is her face narrower, or her neck knob small? (Be aware of risk of neck split if you take off the head, though!) Go to #20
Plumper cheeks, large neck knob? Go to #21
20. Applause for you, You have an Early #6 (or #7 if you call the watermelon lips #6) Ponytail! (Late 1962 or early 1963)
21. Does she have bangs, and coral lips very small to slightly fuller? Go to #22.
Does she have no bangs, but a sweep of hair that goes around the forehead and wraps around the ponytail? Go to #23
22. Yippee, You have a Later #6 (or #7 as noted above) Ponytail! (1963-4)
Ash Blonde #6 (Photo c/o colormagic kid) - note smaller coral lips & slightly plumper cheeks!
23. Lucky ducky, You have a gorgeous and sophisticated Swirl Ponytail! (1964)
Pale Blonde European Swirl Brunette Swirl (photo c/o colormagickid)
Bubblecuts came out in 1961, and were made through 1964. Styles were changing, and bouffant hairdos were all the rage!
First of all, if your doll has molded plastic hair, not actual rooted hair, she is a 1964 Fashion Queen who came with three wigs. Not hard to identify (also can identify by her oddly snotty attitude).
Photo c/ Sandy Mann
One other doll that year had molded hair and wigs--the sleep-eye "Miss Barbie". Easy to ID because her eyes opened and closed!
...So if your doll has bouffant hair, you have a Bubblecut Barbie! (Note: There are a few rare 1964 Bubblecuts with bend-legs. This category will not include them, only straight-leg.) Where do you go from here? Proceed with these questions!
1. Does she have an oily complexion? If YES, go to #2.
2. Congrats--You have a First-Issue 1961 Bubblecut!
Brownette Blonde Titian
(All 5 Bubbles 1961)
White Ginger Raven Brunette
If her complexion is matte, go to #3.
3. Does she have a “tight” bubble ʻdo that is Blonde, Copper-Red (titian), Raven Black, Chestnut Brown, or White Ginger-Platinum? Go to #5
4. Does she have Ash Blonde hair, and/or a larger, looser bubble? Go to #7
5. LIPS: Very full scarlet red (“Lucy lips”) on all hair colors except bubblegum pink on the White Ginger? Go to #6
6. EYES: Light blue w/ blue eyeliner, or medium turquoise w/ teal liner (usually on the White Ginger)? Go to #7.
Deep dark turquoise eyes/teal liner? Go to #9
7. BODY: Hollow, with right butt cheek marked “Barbie R”? Go to #8.
Hollow, butt cheek marked “Midge” then “Barbie” below that? Go to #10
8. Are her lips full watermelon pink (not coral!) with nails to match? Go to #9.
Watermelon Lips (left) ~ Coral Lips (right, photo c/o cubby, cropped by Teresa)
Lips and fingernails red (not coral)? Go to #2.
9. Happy day, You have a 1962 Bubblecut!
Titian 1962 Bubble/WM lips 1962 WG/Platinum Transitional (M/B body, small knob)
10. Midge/Barbie body with small neck knob or narrow face (Beware of taking off the head--risk of neck split, especially on large knobs!)? Go to #9.
Usual Midge/Barbie body with large knob/chubbier face? Go to #11
11. Very thin to somewhat fuller coral lips, hair Lemon Blonde, Red, Fudge Brunette (not Raven Black!), Platinum (usually oxidized to honey or brassy blonde), or Ash Blonde? Go to #12
12. Butt mark “Midge/Barbie” with dates, but without the word “patented” ? Go to #14.
Is the word “patented” at the end? Go to #13
13. “American Girl” face with larger light blue eyes, heavy blue liner, and full coral or buttery yellow lips (platinum had pink that turned white)? Go to #15.
14. Your lucky day, You have a 1963 Bubblecut!
Titian c/o colormagickid Lemon Blonde c/o cubby 1963 Platinum
15. Bubble hairdo not parted anywhere, or casually appearing parted but able to be changed? Go to #16.
Bubble hairdo parted on dollʼs right side, “thatched” part, not
easy to undo, with extra single hair plug at hairline right at start of part? Go to #17
16. Hurray, You have a lovely 1964 Bubblecut!
17. Wow, You have a rare 1964 European Side-Part Bubblecut! (A few of these had bendable legs--even rarer.)
Platinum/Pale Blonde SP/ butter yellow lips
This group began in 1965, or possibly late 1964. It includes Miss Barbie, American Girls and Color Magics. Miss Barbie is easy to identify, as she has molded plastic hair and came with three wigs, and she has the “sleep-eyes” that opened and closed. No other model of Vintage Barbie had that combo. If your bend-leg doll has rooted hair, she is an American Girl or a Color Magic! Which one? Letʼs see!
1. Is her hair relatively short pageboy (chin-length or a bit longer), coarser, and rooted without extra row of plugs in back? Go to #2.
Hair longer, softer, with extra row of plugs in back? Go to #5
Hair very long, past shoulders, straight, slightly choppy ends? Bright Golden hair, Orange, Red or Black? Go to #11
2. Hair color: Pale Blonde (platinum), Blonde, Titian, or Brunette? Go to #3
3. Butt cheek mark--is it entirely indented rather than raised letters? Go to #4.
Butt cheek marks either indented with raised “Made in Japan” at end, or all raised letters? Go to #5
*NOTE on butt cheek marks--obviously people do switch heads and bodies, so you must look at the face and hair to determine if your doll's head is 1965 or 1966!
4. Congratulations, You have a fabulous 1965 American Girl!
5. Hair color: Large variety, from Blonde, “Cinnamon” Brownette (Titian), Ash blonde to Brunette shades, many of which had silvery tones in them? Go to #6
6. Pageboy parted in center? Go to #7
Hair parted permanently on dollʼs left side, with area for headband (or wearing ribbon headband!)? Go to #10
7. Face makeup with light coral, nude or butter-yellow lips, little or no blush? Go to #8.
Photo c/o colormagickid
Lips bright geranium, heavy blush? Go to #9
8. Signal the applause, You have a valuable Long-Haired, Low-Color American Girl! (1966)
Silver Brunette AG (photo c/o colormagickid)
9. More applause, You have a Long-Haired High Color American Girl! (1966)
10. OK, everyone is jealous--You have a rare Side-Part American Girl! (1966-7) This one may be low- or high-color. If you have the Japanese Side-Part, her vinyl will be more pinky.
11. Wowie, you have a Color Magic! Her hair would turn from Golden to an Orange, or Black to a deep Red. Very rare Platinums exist also. CM's usually had high color faces, but occasionally had low color.
Left: Golden Blonde CM (c/o Sandy Mann) ~ Right: Ruby Red CM (c/o Colormagickid)
Left: My Platinum Color Magic
Now, if you find your doll fits none of these categories, for example she has a twist-n-turn waist, rooted eyelashes, or other qualities--she may be a MOD Barbie (1967-73), a Midge, Skipper, Francie, or some other doll.
Try the MOD Barbie ID Guide page and you may find her!