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Terminology: Barbie® And Other Fashion Dolls 

Are you new to  fashion doll collecting?  Don't be lost--here are all the buzz-words and definitions you'll need!  Talk like a pro!


A/O: Common abbreviation (on auction sites and doll lists)  means "all original."

AMERICAN GIRL: The quintessential mid-1960s Barbie, with a page boy hairdo and bendable legs.  Perfect look for the 1600s series fashions.  Produced in 1965 and 1966.


BARBARA MILLICENT ROBERTS:  Barbie's real, full name!

BARBIE BAZAAR:  Magazine about Barbie (and other fashion dolls to some extent) sanctioned by Mattel.

BOOK VALUE:  The value of your doll in a price guide; NOT the value you can expect when you sell your doll either on the internet or to a dealer.

BUBBLE CUT:  Barbie's second hair style, cut close around her head like a little "bubble"; available from 1961 to 1967.

BUTT MARKINGS:  If you are describing a Barbie doll, either vintage or modern, and someone asks you for its "butt markings" they aren't being rude!  They are asking for the manufacturer's marks, generally located on the dolls, err, behind,  that help to identify the doll.


C GRADING SYSTEM:  Doll grading system proposed by Barbie expert A.Glenn Mandeville.   C-10 is factory mint and NRFB; C-1 is poor; maybe only part of doll or outfit salvageable for use elsewhere.

CASE:  Device made to hold dolls and doll clothing.  In the 1960s, traditionally vinyl.  Now, more likely to be hard plastic or a "trunk."

CHOCOLATE MINT IN BOX:  Just kidding!  See "MIB" below.

COLLECTIBLE LINE BARBIE:  Barbies made for adult collectors of fashion dolls, as opposed to "play line" or "pink box" dolls.

COLLECTOR EDITION: In 2000, these Barbies will be produced in editions of at least 35,000 with no upper-limit on doll production.  Includes  Pop Culture Series, 40th Anniversary Series, Birthday Series and more.


DEBOXING:  Taking the collectible fashion dolls (especially Barbie!) OUT of their boxes!  Not normally done because of the fear that the doll will lose most of its value once this is done.

DEBOXER:  Collector who deboxes their dolls; collector who enjoys playing with the dolls.

DEPARTMENT STORE SPECIAL:  Doll made exclusively for a department store or big-box retailer. 

DRESSED DOLL:  Fashion Doll which is normally available in a "standard" version which is  sold dressed in an outfit--Barbies came this way in the 1960s (most came in swimsuits, but some were sold "dressed" and most Genes are sold this way (although a "Simply Gene" in swimsuit is available).  Lingerie Barbies will be available in Lingerie AND as "dressed dolls."


EXCELLENT CONDITION:  Doll that is not quite mint (see below) but has no major flaws.  Perhaps dress is not as crisp as a totally mint doll, or a tag is missing,  or there is the slightest body ding, or not all the toe nail polish is quite there, etc. 


FAIR CONDITION:  A very loved and played with doll with major flaws. 

FRIEND:  A "friend" is another doll added to a line of successful fashion dolls; can usually share the dolls clothing but not always.  Friends of Barbie include Ken, Skipper, Stacey, Midge and many others.  Gene has a new friend in 2000, "Madra Lord."


GENE:  Popular  15 1/2" fashion doll designed by Mel Odom and produced by Ashton Drake starting in the late 1990s and continuing today.

GOOD CONDITION: Doll  has been very loved and played with; still, no major flaws (like a hip that swings) but doll can have several minor flaws.  Still, doll can be displayed.

GREEN EAR: Condition that happens to early 1960s vintage Barbies--the metal in the earrings that came with the dolls oxidize, and turn the ears "green"  This is a condition that is difficult to remove.


HTF: Common abbreviation at online auctions and doll lists; means 'Hard To Find."


LIMITED EDITION:  In 2000, modern Barbie dolls produced in quantities of LESS than 35,000; includes the Cool Collecting, Delphine Barbie and Lingerie Barbie lines.


MADAME ALEXANDER:  Well-known, venerable producer of fashion dolls since the 1950s; today produces Cissy and the new Alex Ford fashion dolls.

MARKET VALUE:  As opposed to the Book Value (see above) this is the actual price you can expect your fashion doll to sell for; check eBay www.ebay.com and other online auction houses for market values.

MIB:  "Mint In Box" is when a doll has its original box, and the doll is mint, just as it would have come from the factory.  Not played with, all accessories and original clothing  present.

MIP:  "Mint In Package"  Often used interchangeably with MIB, can also designate accessories etc still in their original package or card (also MOC or Mint On Card).

MODERN BARBIE:  Generally speaking, any post-1972 Barbie, but used vernacularly to denote collectors of currently produced Barbies "Modern Barbie Collector."


NM:  "Near Mint."  Interesting designation... the doll is ALMOST mint but not quite there.  Used commonly; I believe it is just a fancy way of saying "Excellent" condition. 

NRFB:  "Never Removed From Box."  Pristine doll, never removed from the box.  Doll and Box just like they came from the factory.


OPEN TOE SHOES: Open Toe Shoes; the original, slide-in sandal like shoes that came with Vintage Barbie and most outfits from 1959 to the mid-sixties

OSS: Original Swim Suit.


PINK ANGER:  Grass-roots movement of collectors which happened about 3 years ago in response to Mattel's lawsuit against Millers Fashion Doll magazine, removal of the "Barbie" name from clubs and shoddy production of collector dolls.

PINK BOX:  Play line Barbie dolls for children, such as are found in the Barbie aisle at Toys R Us (not the ones in the glass case; those are "collector line' dolls"; see above.

PLAY LINE BARBIE:  Dolls made for children to play with.

POOR CONDITION: Doll is a mess; major major flaws; maybe doll is salvageable but even that is in question!

PONYTAIL:  The FIRST Barbies, so-called because of their ponytail hair style.  Produced starting in 1959.  There were FIVE ponytail varieties (six according to some) and the values of the dolls vary greatly from a  #1 ponytail (thousands of dollars for a mint doll) to #5/#6 (maybe $200 or $300 for a mint doll). 


RETAIL: When dolls are currently in production and being shipped, and you can get them at dealers or toy stores for the "retail" price (suggested by manufacturer).


SECONDARY MARKET:  Once a doll is no longer available at the retail level, this is the ONLY place you can obtain a doll.  Doll shows, collector to collector sales, doll shops specializing in vintage and antique dolls, and online and bricks and mortar auction houses comprise the secondary market.

SERIES:  When modern Barbies and other fashion dolls are produced along a theme, usually released one per year. For example, the "Happy Holidays" Barbie series which ran from 1988 to 1998.

SHELF WEAR:  Condition afflicting in-box dolls that can happen after years of sitting on a store shelf or going to shows; usually evidenced by small creases, box rubs in various spots, etc.


TITIAN: Red Hair

ROBERT TONNER: Designer  of fashion dolls in the 1990s and today including the Model Series, Tyler Wentworth and others.

TWIST AND TURN WAIST: First appeared on Barbie in the Mid 1960s, most Barbies have a variation of this waist now.


VERY GOOD:  Condition description; doll has been played with, clothes not crisp as with mint, hair maybe a bit mussed, etc., but no major flaws.  

VINTAGE BARBIE:  Generally, any pre-1972 Barbie doll.

Can you add more Barbie and fashion doll terms to our list?  Let me know in the  Dolls Forum!

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