Oddities and Particulars
The people at Mattel had no idea that Barbie would become such a collector's item back in the 60's when they were manufacturing them as toys for little girls (and boys!). So they didn't exactly make sure everything was authenticated or produced precisely according to some strict standard (although the standards of quality were obviously very high, look how the old gals have survived so beautifully)!
No, Mattel was making toys, so sometimes a factory rooter would do something a little different with the hair, or the face paint could vary in neat little ways. They also pragmatically used up all the parts, boxes, accessories, and such. So after some change was made--like new eyeliner color, new torsos, arms or legs, etc.--if they happened to have some of the old one lying around, they put them together to make a doll. So hybrids and unique combos are floating around which are absolutely original. (Notwithstanding the fact that collectors also assemble parts to make whole dolls.) Sometimes it's hard, or impossible to tell if a doll came from the factory the way you see her, but there are some pretty reliable clues. Here are some of my little "oddballs"!
Here is a beautiful #3 Brunette "sample" doll with factory updo and a Mattel OOAK Enchanted evening gown!
***ADDED NOTE: Some feel these samples were not Mattel, but done by collectors later. Certainly the feathers could have been added--but interestingly this gown is heavier and a slightly different shade of pink than the usual one! That leads me to think it's a Japanese exclusive gown, so it is quite unusual in any case!***
The #4 Brunette below has rerooted bangs and retouched lips done by the famous restorationist, Krista Candler (see link to her page, first on the "links" page), but her eyes are all original--and check out the amount of blue eyeliner! And a ton of smoky eyeshadow. I have not seen another #4 with this much eye makeup.
Speaking of eye makeup, I spoke too soon! Here is a Blonde #3 who has a TON of brown eyeliner, all original! She has also retained most of her original skin tone instead of turning pale.
Here is the gal featured on the MINT page, where she is described in more detail. She seems to be a hybrid White Ginger/Platinum Bubblecut from somewhere between 1961 and 1963! She has the face of a White Ginger, the hair of a Platinum, the body of the WG and the arms and legs of a platinum (coral nails)! I have now put her in my new category, "Transitional White Ginger-Platinum Bubblecuts!" (See my blog about this here.)
Now and then the Mattel factory workers got tired of ponytails, and decided to do a braid! They also did updo's (factory buns) on occasion. Here is a lovely Blonde #5, all-original, with the factory braid.
...and cubby is the owner of this lovely Brunette with factory braid (Photo courtesy of cubby).
Bubblecuts came out in 1961, and had 5 hair colors: White Ginger, Blonde, Titian, Brunette and Brownette. Here is a 1961 gal with a huge bubble of hair somewhere between Blonde, Ash Blonde and Titian! I have now been told there were red-lipped bubblecuts in 1962 also, when they did start making ash blondes. Is she Ash Blonde, or did blonde hair "oxidize" to this color? Any ideas? I now have put down some of these ideas on the new page What Happened in 1962?
I have just read an old Barbie Bazaar article about a "Gold" 1961 Bubblecut! Anyone ever seen one, and could this be her? ...Or could the gal below be a "Gold"??? Or is she a White Ginger whose hair oxidized outrageously to this unusual shade between blonde and titian?
Even wrist tags can be collectible, note this rare pink-and-gold one. The doll is an early 1961 Raven Brunette Bubblecut. This wrist tag, from my research came on a few #4 and #5 Ponytails, and a few early 1961 Bubbles. Then the tag became the gold/beige one.
Here's an unusual girl, a gorgeous Brunette that was sold to me as a #4, but when she arrived, I discovered she had an unflocked scalp--but check out those poodle bangs! She has about double the amount of them that the usual #4 has. Is she a transitional #4/5? (By the way, the hat is NOT missing pearls, they're just hidden by the bodacious bangs!)
Just to show the BANGS...Yowza!
Next we have a fabulous Brunette #3 with VERY dark brown eyeliner! Her lips are red and not the usual orangey shade. There is a Blonde #3 in the Barbie Bazaar issue with the article on #3's "Classy Lady" whose face is much like this. she came as a Pink-box dressed Gay Parisienne.
Here is a pretty Brunette Bubble with pink-white lips! Brunettes from 1963-64 usually had coral lips, and if they faded, they faded to yellow. Were this girls' lips pink to begin?
A doubly-interesting case here, a White Ginger whose lips turned white (they were supposed to stay pink)--and she has a reverse bubble--it swirls around her head from left-to-right instead of the usual right-to-left!
Below is a pretty "Platinum Pearl" T&T whose hair is a very rare color--a kind of pinkish-silvery blonde! (Photo c/o cubby)
And another interesting hair color that was never actually produced, the Titian T&T! The hair sometimes oxidized to something even cooler than the original! (Photo c/o colormagickid)
...The hair color here is "Go Go Co Co", but check out the EYES! Blue eyeliner. very rare on a T&T, and supposedly came only with the Sears Exclusive "Beautiful Blues" gift set.
And now for something entirely different...
Here is the ghostly girl on the background photo--My amazing hand-painted #1 Blonde Ponytail with WICKED eyes! Ever seen any like them?
Now for something not entirely different, but check this out! the Mattel Xmas Catalogue in 1959 had all the early outfits, including Evening Splendour, modeled by a #1 Blonde. But look at the pattern--it's the reverse! Just like "Japanese Theater Date", but here it is on ES! I think they did hand-color the pictures (note the gold purse!), but the white is clearly white and the darker pattern darker. Interesting.