Vintage Visitors – Barbie and Friends Part One

This week’s Vintage Visitors are Naomi’s collection of vintage Barbie friends and family dolls.

I’ve divided them roughly into their eras, the vintage 1959 – 1966, Mod 1967 -1972, the Malibu Barbie era which overlapped slightly the Mod and Superstar eras as they were made from 1971-77 and the Superstar era 1977-to the mid 1990’s.

Vintage Midge, Ken and Skipper

First of all is Barbie’s best friend Midge. She was one of those lucky finds that collectors love. Naomi found her at a market, the stall holder thought that she was a clone doll called Maisie and only wanted $10 for her. Naomi was pretty sure that she was a genuine Midge which she is. She’s in pretty good shape too.

Naomi's $10 Midge wearing a home made vintage fashion.
Naomi’s $10 Midge wearing a home made vintage fashion.

Naomi also has a vintage painted hair Ken who is in pretty good shape too. We won’t tell Barbie that he and Midge are hanging out together.

Naomi's blonde Ken.
Naomi’s blonde Ken.

Here is Skipper, she is the original straight body Skipper which is similar to the one that I have but this is the later issue bend leg doll. She is not missing any hair plugs, she just needs a bit of a tidy up.

Keeping the her company is Skipper’s friend Ricky who looks a lot like Allan, perhaps he is his little brother. Neither of us have Skooter yet so she is on my list.

 Mod Era

The Mod Era is said to begin with the first Twist and Turn waist Barbie in 1967 but as we know nothing is ever as cut and dried with that with vintage dolls. It’s not unusual to find Mod Era doll heads on the straight Midge Barbie body which could be Frankendollies but are more likely to be “baggies” dolls put together from parts on hand to use them up.

Vintage Standard Barbie 1967-69

This pretty girl has the newly designed face on a standard Midge/Barbie straight body. However, her hair is not quite right for a standard Barbie of that era as those dolls mostly seemed to have a fringe. I have looked at a lot of pictures and the main ones I have seen with their hair parted on the left have a flip hairstyle.

The most likely explanation seems to be that she is a foreign issue doll. I think that Australia got a lot of the same dolls produced for Europe and Canada. I feel like I should know who this one is but I’ve looked at so many Barbie pictures now that I can’t focus on her properly so comments are welcome.

Twiggy 1968

This is one that I’m quite certain about as I was with Naomi when she bought her at a doll show I think.Twiggy is named after the British model Jean Shrimpton whose professional name was Twiggy. Twiggy is rather similar to my Casey but with heavier eye make up. I think they used to call it “Panda Eyes”, Twiggy and Casey both have the Francie body which is slightly less mature than Barbie and they have flat feet. Twiggy has discoloured a little with age as these dolls often do. Here you can see Naomi’s Twiggy and my Casey.

 Equestrienne Barbie 1977-79

I was fairly sure that this doll was Busy Barbie at first as she has the articulated thumb. I didn’t think any other Mod Era Barbie had that. Her hair did not look like the pictures I’ve seen of Busy Barbie eitehr but I thought that she may have had a restyle or a trim. However, her butt is marked “1968 Mattel. US and Foreign Patented, Patented in Canada 1967, Other Patents Pending Taiwan”. Busy Barbie was made in Hong Kong. The only doll I could find with that marking in my researching was Live Action Barbie from 1971-3 but she did not have “busy” hands. “So, another oddball doll.” I thought and emailed Naomi to tell her she’d done it again. She emailed back “I thought she had something to do with horse riding.” It was twenty years ago she bought the doll she reminded me. I had not thought of horse riding as none were mentioned in the Mod Era references I was using. I searched for a vintage equestrienne Barbie and there she was. Equestrienne Barbie 1977-79 was only sold in Europe and Canada. She had the Live action body with the busy hands. The markings were right. Bingo!

Strictly speaking she’s not really Mod Era but her but as she was made from parts of Mod Era dolls I’ll leave her in this group.

Malibu Skipper

Naomi’s other Skipper has a TNT body and as she is quite tanned I’d say that she is a Malibu Skipper. There were four issues of Malibu Skipper, this one is marked made in Japan so she would be one of the early ones. Malibu Skipper was made in either Japan or Korea between 1970-77. The later ones were all made in the Phillipines.

Bend leg Skipper in an original Skipper outfit.
Bend leg Skipper in an original Skipper outfit.


In the next post I’ll show you some dolls from the Superstar Era.


Further Information




  1. I always enjoy reading your posts and these vintage dolls are so nice, especially Ricky who is still on my Wish List. I would like to add some information about the Twiggy doll, or rather about the real life model. She was nicknamed Twiggy, but was born Lesley Hornby. Although she was influenced by Jean Shrimpton, they are two different models.
    So interesting to read your information about Equestrienne Barbie – I love those hands!
    Thanks for a great blog!


    • Thanks Elizabeth. I should have cross checked before I wrote that. I remember both models but as I was a little girl when they were making waves I often get them mixed up with each other so I’ll correct that.


  2. Fun post, brought back a lot of memories! As I was reading the first half, I was saying ‘Wow, I have the exact same ‘Barbie’ family–Midge, Ken, Ricky, & Skipper. I was hoping to share a picture of mine, but I forgot it’s not a comment option. Oh, well, they look pretty much the same as your first few pictures! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hooray for Mod dolls! Your oddball doll is most likely a Frankendolly. Her head looks like Busy Barbie for sure. Maybe some child or parent just swapped heads. There were some cheaper bathing suit Barbies in the 70s sold in Europe, but as far as I know none of them had a standard body. The only one with a standad body has a Steffie mold. It does look like Equestrienne Barbie had a hair trim, usually the hair length on these dolls is a little longer than shoulder length.

    Malibu Skipper brings back memories. I loved her so much, that I saved up my weekly allowance and bought a second one, because my Barbie family needed a set of twins.


    • Frankendolly’s certainly make identifying old dolls more interesting. It never occurred to me as a child to swap heads and bodies but apparently a lot of children did. It’s quite hard to tell if you have a Frankendolly or a baggie sometimes but they are all interesting in their own way.


  4. I wouldn’ mind if she is a Frankendolly or not, as long as the skin tone is a good match. I used to pop off a regular Barbie’s head to play with the Hair Fair Heads, but I always changed them back. The mom of a childhood friend who was a little rough with her dolls swapped the good heads to bodies whose heads were getting too worn out. I have an American Girl Head on a standard body and a TNT Head on an AG body. Both dolls were purchased on fleamarkets in the same city, both from private sellers. I guess I’ll never know, if they originally belonged to the same person who might have just swapped their heads, or if they both are victims of Mattel’s using up old stock.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely collection. I would have to say my fav out of the lot is Midge.
    The vintage standard barbie looks like it has the head of Busy Barbie but not on the right body…
    Love Malibu Skippers dress 🙂


  6. I love your “frankendollied” moniker. probably describes a goodly portion of e-bay mixed lots I have sorted lately.I love these dolls regardless of their questionable roots, perhaps the clones most of all.


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