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How To Identify Barbie Dolls – Resources, Websites and Tips To Help!

If you’re a doll collector, you surely know the struggle of not being able to identify a new doll, especially if you’ve bought it secondhand or at your local thrift market. Here are some things to try!

Look at the Body

On the back of most dolls, there is a marking with a year. This IS NOT the year the doll was produced, it is the year the BODY was first produced.

Most dolls from the 2000s will use a 1999 body called the “Bend n Snap” body. In the United States, it also referred to as the ‘Belly Button Body,’ because it was the first body type to come with a belly button. It is the #1 most common body type, and basically this is where the knees “snap” so their legs can move in three positions. The dolls arms and legs will be rubber (easily bendable), and usually the underpants will have the Barbie logo pattern on them.

However, if you have a doll from the 2010s, it probably won’t have the 1999 body! This body type stopped being produced around 2013, when Mattel switched to more “stiff” bodies (where you can’t bend the arms or legs).

articulated body types comparison | Barbie Made To Move Doll… | Flickr

Does your doll have the first body type? (on the left) If so, this is called a “Made to Move” body. There aren’t many MTM bodies out there, so it should be easy to go through the list and work out which one you have.

Does your doll have the second body type? (on the right) If so, this is called a “Fashionista” body. There are actually two types of Fashionista bodies! The 2009 type has a much larger knee joint and the 2010-2013 type has a smaller knee joint (the type in this photo is the smaller joint).

If you have the 2009 (larger knee) type, that means your doll is from the first wave of the Barbie Fashionista series.

However, it is possible that somebody swapped the body and the head around! So you might have a 1999 body on a 2020 head! So that’s something to keep in mind.

Look at the Back of the Head

Just like the body, there are also markings on the back of the head that tell you what year the facemould was first produced! Most common is the 1998 “Generation Girl” facemould (you’ll find this on most 2000s dolls) and the 2013 “Millie” facemould (you’ll find this on more modern 2010s dolls).

Barbie Fashionistas Head Molds Faces 2014 - 2018 | Barbie fashionista, Real  barbie, Face mold

Looking at the body and facemould years can help you to work to a process of elimiaton. For example, if the body is from 2015 and the facemould is from 2016, then you know that the doll must have been produced from 2016 onwards! This means you don’t have to bother looking at anything earlier than 2016.

An excellent resource for more information about facemoulds is: https://kattisdolls.net

Look at Anything A Bit “Different” About the Doll (for example; hair, tattoos, piercings, earrings, etc.)

If the doll has something a bit ~different~ about her (ie: not your everyday plain, blonde Barbie!) then you can use that your advantage!

For example, if your doll has an Afro hairstyle, you can just search ‘Barbie afro’ on Google and go through the results.

The Mattel Customer Service Website

Personally, my #1 favourite resource is the Mattel Customer Service Website – this is basically a huge DATABASE (created and regularly updated BY Mattel themselves!) of most Mattel products produced since the early 2000s.

For example, you can search “Fairytopia Elina” and it’ll show a list of all the Elina dolls ever produced. Pretty handy, huh?

Check it out here > https://service.mattel.com/us/home.aspx

HOWEVER! There are some limitations. For example, you have to know kind of what you’re looking for! You can’t just put in something simple like “Barbie” or “Ken” because there are just way, way too many Barbies and Kens out there! There would be hundreds and hundreds of pages to look through.

It also doesn’t show everything. For example, tonight I was trying to identify my Fashion Fever Kayla doll, so I searched “Fashion Fever Kayla” and then just “Kayla.” I scrolled through pages and pages of Kayla dolls, but I couldn’t find my specific doll. So while there are a LOT of dolls listed, there’s not everything!

(A bonus – this site also has all the instruction manuals, and there’s also a section to order replacement parts for playsets. Neat!)

Google Images

Ah, a classic! Again, this only helps if you kind of know what you’re looking for! For example, if you need to identify a Barbie house and you think it was produced in the mid 2000s, you can try:

“Barbie house 2004” “Barbie house 2005” “Barbie house 2006” and so on.

Keep looking through the results and eventually you should (hopefully) be able to find a match! Once again, this only helps if you have a ~general idea~ of what you’re looking for.

Amazon

Did you know that most products, even if they have been discontinued for years, are still listed on Amazon? They’ll just say they’re “out of stock.” (Yes, even products that were discontinued back in 2007!)

This is a really great resource because it can help you figure out what year something was produced. For example, if you know you have a Barbie Hair Salon Playset, you can see whether it was the 2015 or 2017 version.

Social Media

If you are in any Instagram or Facebook groups for Barbie collectors, share a picture of your doll and ask if anybody recognises it! Hopefully a fellow collector can help you identify it.

Doll Blogs

You can also research on doll blogs to find out more information. For example, if you have a black Barbie, you can read a blog such as this one which focuses specifically on black dolls.

And that’s all my tips! Of course, I’m not an expert, but that’s just some things that I can think of to help you! Honestly, learning to identify dolls is just something that you pick up from collecting for a long time. It’s a database of knowledge that you slowly build over time, so don’t stress if you are a new collector and you can’t identify everything straight away! Good luck!

5 thoughts on “How To Identify Barbie Dolls – Resources, Websites and Tips To Help!

  1. I’ve been meaning to bring up Mattel customer service on my blog. I have used it several times to pick up extra things for my Ever After High dolls. I’ve ordered extra hands for my EAH dolls that came wearing “gloves” so I can trade those out for regular looking hands. I’ve also picked up a few pieces of furniture from the EAH castle playset to repaint in different colors.

    I like all of your resources! I recently bought a bunch of nude Fashionistas from a friend, and have to figure out which ones they are. I have a few resources to add, if that’s okay. One is Katti’s Dolls. She has lists of faces by name, and faces by mold, with lots of pictures. There are also a few helpful groups on Flickr. One is called Barbie Identification. There are also others dedicated to a specific face mold.

    In the United States, the 1999 body is called the “belly button body,” at least among collectors. Barbie dolls did not have a belly button before this doll, and the doll also had a smaller chest and a bigger waist, to make her more relatable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooh yes I have Katti’s Dolls bookmarked! An excellent site! I’m pretty terrible with facemoulds so it’s super helpful! She has such a great collection. I’ll add it to the post!

      For the Fashionistas, check out egolon’s Fashionista Guide! It mostly covers the older Fashionistas (pre-2015 I think!) but there are a lot of pictures and extra details that other sites don’t cover.

      Oohhh thank you for that detail re: the belly button body, I haven’t heard of that before! That’s so cool!

      Buying extra furniture to repaint is such a good idea! I need to do that as well! I can’t believe I never thought of that.

      Like

  2. I hadn’t thought of using that Mattel site before and will add it to my list of go to sites. Trying to ID some of the modern dolls can be as challenging as trying to ID vintage especially as so many playline blonde Barbies look similar once they have lost their original outfits and had their hairstyles messed up. I have found Facebook Barbie groups very helpful and they have helped me ID several 80s and 90s Barbies this year alone. I’d definitely recommend that method to people who use social media. I always encourage readers to share info in the comments on my own blog too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes definitely! Most of the typical blonde basic dolls, especially the ones that come in furniture sets, look exactly the same! Same facemoulds and makeup and hair colour and everything.

      I haven’t tried looking at any Facebook Barbie groups, that’s an excellent idea! I imagine there would be so many more collectors there compared to other sites.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I mostly use the Australia based ones because we sometimes used to get the foreign issue dolls rather than the US ones but I’m sure there are loads. If I checked them all out I’d never get off Facebook.

        Liked by 1 person

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