Swimsuit Special – 35th Anniversary Reproduction

19 Jul

So, I decided to do another Swimsuit Special this year, and I’ve been saving up a few dolls just for this. I haven’t got all my target swimsuit dolls yet, but what the h – the weather is blistering here as the heatwave continues (well, for the UK – if you live in a hot climate feel free to google the temperature and then laugh at my lack of resilience, but right now I’m close to melting). Its clearly time.


My first swimsuit doll is my latest reproduction purchase, Barbie Number 1 from 1959. I picked her up for a bargain price because her wrist tag had fallen off, her earrings are slightly tarnished, she needed a little cleaning and the band in her hair had gone brittle and snapped so it had to be replaced. She was produced for Barbie’s 35th birthday in 1993 and although I am glad to have her, I have to admit that she’s not really a dead ringer for the ’59 doll. I think the pink label “My Favourite Barbie 1959”, which was produced for Barbie’s 50th Birthday in 2009 is more authentic – her facial colouring is a better match for the genuine article, and she has that famous (adorable) poodle fringe, sadly absent from the 1993 reproduction. Evidently, I am not on my own with this as the ’09 reproduction is a popular item and does well on the reseller market, although just recently I have noticed a general small drop in price.

One day, I swear to God, I will have an original, but right now I have other things to concentrate on. After two years back in the collecting world, I’ve realised that here is a hobby with the potential to run and run, and I’m not in so much of a big rush any more. Maybe in another two years I’ll want to move on to vintage dolls, or maybe it’ll take me ten to get there. I’m sure the day will come, but right now I am quite happy with all the other things I am into and the odd reproduction here and there.


Aside from the relatively low prices and the ready availability, the great thing about this doll is that she is so much fun to photograph. Its a moody-looking sculpt but its also a great one, and every time I get a new example I get a little bit more fond of it. These dolls just come alive if you point a camera at them, its fascinating.



Lastly, the box she comes in is a reproduction of the original and features some amazingly stylish illustrations:








2 Responses to “Swimsuit Special – 35th Anniversary Reproduction”

  1. Chicovintage July 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    When I first started collecting, the original sculpt seemed to be the absolutely ugliest facemold of all times…as years went by, I incidentally bought this exact repro, just to have at least one. As you say, you can purchase the whole lot for a bargain price, that´s why I bought some more… with silkstone, I definetely fell in love with that snob lady. I love your photos, Lea, you really get the best out of her!

    • barbielea July 21, 2013 at 9:45 am #

      Hi Chico 🙂 yes, I didn’t like this face sculpt at first either, I thought she looked miserable … It’s grown on me too … Thanks much, she’s easy to photograph! Best wishes

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