Teresa's Blog

Caveat Emptor! Barbie Shopping on Ebay ~ HINTS!

Posted by Teresa on December 29, 2012 at 8:25 PM

We’ve pretty much all purchased Barbie items on eBay, and we do it at some risk, because we can’t see the item in person, and we all know about the potential for scammers (many of us know it all TOO well!).  Having been discussing one of the scammers recently, I have been thinking--I have picked up some helpful ideas along the way, and thought I would share them  So, for those of you who buy vintage items on eBay:


Pretty obvious:

It’s best to buy from sellers who have close to 100% feedback, and a good history of selling--high numbers.  


Check their feedback as a seller.  


If you get to know a few good sellers, keep them on your fav list!

 

“Near Mint” or “Mint” can mean totally different things to different people!  


Less Obvious:

Look more closely and ask questions if they are not regular Vintage Barbie sellers.  


There are perfectly good sellers who have inherited something or buy different vintage items and happen to find a doll to sell.  But if they don’t know much about their item, ask, ask, ask!


Beware of blurry pictures, they can be just bad photography or purposeful hiding of important things.  Ask the seller to send you more pics--you can now do that right in the eBay “message” section.


Beware of sellers who post only ONE picture, especially if it’s not great quality.  Scammers rip photos off the internet.  Ask for more photos at different angles, close-ups, etc.  One good trick is, ask for a pic of something really specific even if you don’t even need that info--like the bottom of a foot.  They can only send more pics if they have the item.


In any case of a very expensive thing like a #1, (or anything that you feel you’re stretching to buy), look closely at the sellers other items, including completed listings.  I got burned once buying a very well-faked box.  When I checked back, that seller had listed 5 or 6 boxes with no dolls.  Unusual!  if you see something odd like that--they just sold five #2 Ponytails, other unlikely events--beware, and ask, ask, ask, verify!


Many sellers retouch and don’t admit it is retouched.  I usually ask if it is alcohol-tested original --if they don’t reply or will not test, and you want all-original, I would not buy.  In fact, today I asked that very question of a seller and she said “not to my knowledge” on retouching.  However, when I looked at her other listings, she had 4 or 5 dolls from 1961 or 62 that ALL had cheek blush.  Sorry, but how often do you find a #5 or 1961 Bubble who has her cheek blush?  Rarely!  Not five in one place.


(I own some retouched dolls--i have nothing against them in particular, I just want to know they are retouched before I buy!)


When you’re thinking of bidding on something unusual, like a Japanese exclusive, or “prototype”, etc--do as much research as possible!  Look in the Barbie in Japan book, check websites--send emails to experts (I have found Joe Blitman to be very helpful.)--anything to verify you are getting the real thing.“Near Mint” or “Mint” can mean totally different things to different people!

Once you buy:


A number of people have noted that sellers sometimes pack things poorly.  Especially if your seller is not a repeat vintage doll seller:


Include a message on your payment page, or better yet contact the seller and ask (nicely) for them to ship the doll (or outfit) in white tissue in a sturdy box with lots of packing material.  Then you may be less likely to receive a doll in an envelope with her head rolling around, or in newspaper, with ink on your doll.  


If the doll is not what you expected, I have found most sellers to be nice about returns, as long as you are nice in the way you contact them.  


Buyer Beware, but still have FUN!:)


Teresa

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20 Comments

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Reply Tama
5:53 AM on January 1, 2013 
Thanks for putting this together Teresa...I have only the one bad experience with the #1 that strangely never arrived, but it all turned out okay. I was refunded my $, but disappointed that I didn't get that hand-painted #1. I have learned my lesson, and am so much more careful now, but still, I do buy outfits that turn out not as minty as the seller professes. Thanks again!!!!
Reply Teresa
7:12 AM on January 1, 2013 
Tama says...
Thanks for putting this together Teresa...I have only the one bad experience with the #1 that strangely never arrived, but it all turned out okay. I was refunded my $, but disappointed that I didn't get that hand-painted #1. I have learned my lesson, and am so much more careful now, but still, I do buy outfits that turn out not as minty as the seller professes. Thanks again!!!!


You're welcome Tama! I might add, any helpful hints from you and other collectors are welcome too.:)
Reply Jamie Schmidt
10:17 AM on February 24, 2013 
Very informative! Thank u so much Teresa!!
Reply Teresa
12:10 PM on February 24, 2013 
Jamie Schmidt says...
Very informative! Thank u so much Teresa!!

You're welcome, Jamie--Any helpful hints I figure are a GOOD thing!:)
Reply cubby
1:18 PM on March 29, 2013 
I bought a bubblecut and her outfits once on EBAY....she arrived in a pizza box.......no tissue just her and her clothes thrown in.....they didn't even clean the box.....when I wrote to the seller about it she said her Husband packed it for her........
Reply Teresa
2:53 PM on March 29, 2013 
cubby says...
I bought a bubblecut and her outfits once on EBAY....she arrived in a pizza box.......no tissue just her and her clothes thrown in.....they didn't even clean the box.....when I wrote to the seller about it she said her Husband packed it for her........

That's awful. I'm surprised the doll made it intact!
Reply Laurie
7:29 PM on April 16, 2013 
Thanks Teresa for this information. I've been reading your other blogs and they are very informative too. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Reply Teresa
7:47 PM on April 16, 2013 
Laurie says...
Thanks Teresa for this information. I've been reading your other blogs and they are very informative too. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Thank you, Laurie!
Reply Guy labrecque
10:49 AM on July 22, 2013 
thank you so much Teresa for this great blog. Definitely made me look ,buy and ask more ? when on eBay...
love to read them...can't wait for the next one
Thanks again
Reply Teresa
7:44 PM on July 22, 2013 
Guy labrecque says...
thank you so much Teresa for this great blog. Definitely made me look ,buy and ask more ? when on eBay...
love to read them...can't wait for the next one
Thanks again

You are welcome! I'll have to come up with another post for the blog soon.
Reply Kimbo
2:39 PM on October 15, 2013 
What does a marking B4 and Barbie (R) mean for identifying which # Barbie I have? Seems like a can't find one to match her.
Reply Teresa
6:01 PM on October 15, 2013 
Kimbo says...
What does a marking B4 and Barbie (R) mean for identifying which # Barbie I have? Seems like a can't find one to match her.

Hi Kimbo,
The B4 is a mold mark and has no special meaning. The Barbie-R mark is found on the right butt cheek of all Barbies made from 1959 through 1962. In 1963 "Midge" was added to the mark. If you want to post a photo of her in the Photos page, I (or someone) will help you identify her.
All best,
Teresa
Reply BarbieFever
12:16 PM on March 13, 2014 
I would just like to add, if a seller says that a vintage doll is a "limited edition" then that is a flat out LIE. Mattel never made any "special or limited edition" versions of the ponytails or bubbles, etc. Also, if a certain seller has a bunch of dolls that all look great with perfect bangs, etc. They have been restyled! Do not be fooled by these swindlers who advertise as original - almost ALL ponytail dolls (unless never played with) have some mussed bangs. Not that restyled hair is a bad thing - many times it is necessary, but we like to know that before buying. Also, if a seller says that they BELIEVE a doll to have all original paint ask for an alcohol test or at the very least test them when you get them home (don't do this on a handpainted #1 doll, just look at her paint under magnification). I also recommend that one wait at least 5 years after being an active vintage Barbie collector to take the plunge on a #1 or a #2 because there are so many things to look for that only a seasoned buyer will be aware of - it takes looking at these dolls thousands of times before certain little differences really pop out at first glance.
Reply Teresa
8:32 PM on March 13, 2014 
BarbieFever says...
I would just like to add, if a seller says that a vintage doll is a "limited edition" then that is a flat out LIE. Mattel never made any "special or limited edition" versions of the ponytails or bubbles, etc. Also, if a certain seller has a bunch of dolls that all look great with perfect bangs, etc. They have been restyled! Do not be fooled by these swindlers who advertise as original - almost ALL ponytail dolls (unless never played with) have some mussed bangs. Not that restyled hair is a bad thing - many times it is necessary, but we like to know that before buying. Also, if a seller says that they BELIEVE a doll to have all original paint ask for an alcohol test or at the very least test them when you get them home (don't do this on a handpainted #1 doll, just look at her paint under magnification). I also recommend that one wait at least 5 years after being an active vintage Barbie collector to take the plunge on a #1 or a #2 because there are so many things to look for that only a seasoned buyer will be aware of - it takes looking at these dolls thousands of times before certain little differences really pop out at first glance.

Thanks for some excellent observations, and advice! I had in fact sold one Ponytail to a very discerning buyer as having original topknot, and lo and behold he figured out it was a replaced band. I had missed that! Details, details, details! Very important.:)
Reply delroy green
2:26 PM on June 4, 2014 
my fiance has some rare barbie dolls that i think are valuable. all mint in box and some i think never removed from box. we have never sold any thing on ebay and i would like to know how i would go about selling them at their desired prices.
Reply Teresa
2:31 PM on June 4, 2014 
delroy green says...
my fiance has some rare barbie dolls that i think are valuable. all mint in box and some i think never removed from box. we have never sold any thing on ebay and i would like to know how i would go about selling them at their desired prices.

Hi, I will send you a note at your email address, but basically you want to try to find out their approximate value so you don't list them at an incorrect price--you might get way too little for them, or you will get no bids if priced too high. I will give you a few specifics in the email.
Thanks!
Teresa
Reply delly_jc
2:38 PM on June 4, 2014 
Teresa says...
ok thank you. i await your email

Hi, I will send you a note at your email address, but basically you want to try to find out their approximate value so you don't list them at an incorrect price--you might get way too little for them, or you will get no bids if priced too high. I will give you a few specifics in the email.
Thanks!
Teresa
Reply delly_jc
4:01 PM on June 4, 2014 
Sapphire Splendor? Barbie® Doll Bob Mackie,
Reply alice bryan
12:45 PM on July 7, 2015 
Hi, I have two #3 Ponytail Barbies that are not perfect but really need to know how to tell without alcohol? I want to have the Spa treatment with nail and toe nail polish, with restyled ponytails, but do not want to take my Barbie and add Paint if it is original paint.
I have been buying and selling clothing items for 4 years and am just now getting into the #3 Ponytails. I cannot afford the #1 and #2s. I also have a bunch of probably #5 or #6 dolls.
Reply Teresa
4:41 PM on July 7, 2015 
alice bryan says...
Hi, I have two #3 Ponytail Barbies that are not perfect but really need to know how to tell without alcohol? I want to have the Spa treatment with nail and toe nail polish, with restyled ponytails, but do not want to take my Barbie and add Paint if it is original paint.
I have been buying and selling clothing items for 4 years and am just now getting into the #3 Ponytails. I cannot afford the #1 and #2s. I also have a bunch of probably #5 or #6 dolls.

Hi Alice, I don't know a sure way to tell a pro retouch without alcohol testing, but sometimes it's possible to tell by looking. If you send your dolls to a professional like Krista Candler or Mardie (Heartwhisper) they can usually tell you, and they will do only what is needed for your doll.:)
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