11 Rarest Barbies in Existence

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We’ve been living in a Barbie world since the doll’s 1959 debut, which has offered young children the ability to create and imagine themselves as regal princesses, sharp teachers, capable athletes and more. Throughout her 62 years of existence, Barbie has taken on many roles and appearances, resulting in a select few rare dolls highly coveted by collectors. Discover the extravagant world of limited edition Barbie dolls below. Extra points if you can guess the highest price (Hint: It’s over $100,000).

  1. Gala 40th Barbie
  2. Year released: 1999
    Number of pieces: Anniversary dolls
    Cost Today: $40
    Gala 40th Barbie
    photo source: Mattel

    This limited edition doll commemorates the 40th anniversary of Barbie’s debut. Her look is mostly symbolic with an elegant blue dress that represents her birthstone, aquamarine, while the sparkly bee featured on her shoulders stands for perseverance through the old adage that bees shouldn’t be able to fly, but do anyway. For the sake of brevity, this Barbie represents all of the typical anniversary dolls, which are all limited edition.

    Did you know

    Although most people are familiar with Barbie’s little sister Kelly, Barbie has several other siblings named Todd, Skipper, Stacie, Krissy and Chelsea.

  3. Lunar New Year
  4. Year released: 2021
    Number of pieces: Black Label
    Cost Today: $50
    Lunar New Year
    photo source: Mattel

    The Lunar New Year Barbie is a new edition to the Barbie collection, making it one of the cheapest dolls on this list. With that said, she is being sold in limited quantities; each buyer is only permitted two dolls each. The doll wears a red cheongsam with blue trim and tassel earrings. On the site, the Mattel company comments, “May collecting [this] Barbie doll become a cherished tradition,” indicating that this doll is set to be a collector’s item in the future.

    Did you know

    Lunar New Year is a 15-day celebration that starts with the new moon and ends with the full moon. It’s celebrated throughout East Asia.

  5. Lunch at the Club
  6. Year released: 2000
    Number of pieces: Barbie Fashion Model Collection
    Cost Today: $130
    Lunch at the Club
    photo source: Mattel

    Designed by Robert Best, the Lunch at the Club Barbie is a 21st century homage to ‘50s elegance and fashion. The doll sports a grey tweed suit and pink pillbox hat, which complements her coifed brunette hairstyle. The Barbie itself is also a reference to the past as her facial design and makeup match that of the original Barbie designs. Best is responsible for creating several dolls, including recent ones inspired by the Star Wars series.

    Did you know

    Barbie is the original career woman with over 200 jobs, including teacher, astronaut and president.

  7. Water Lily
  8. Year released: 1997
    Number of pieces: Artist Series
    Cost Today: $529.98
    Water Lily
    photo source: Mattel

    The Water Lily doll is an homage to Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies,” with a cascading gown in soft water colors that mimic those found in the art piece. Barbie’s skirt also features three dimensional water lilies in pale and dark pink as well as beaded vines running down her arm and bodice. While she isn’t the most expensive doll, she still costs over $500 in mint condition.

    Did you know

    Barbie has her own YouTube channel, where she vlogs and offers life advice to her young audience.

  9. 1988 Happy Holidays
  10. Year released: 1988
    Number of pieces: Holiday Holidays Series
    Cost Today: $2,500
    1988 Happy Holidays
    photo source: Mattel

    The 1988 Happy Holidays Barbie is dressed in true ‘80s fashion with a large red ball gown that features lots of tulle and a huge blonde hairdo. This doll marks the first in a long tradition of Holiday Barbies. This, along with its relative age, makes it one of the most valuable Barbies around. In mint condition, it costs collectors over $2,000 to purchase. Happy holidays, indeed.

    Did you know

    Barbie creator and cofounder Ruth Handler named the doll after her daughter, Barbara, who also inspired her mother to create the toy in the first place.

  11. Marie Antoinette
  12. Year released: 2003
    Number of pieces: Women of Royalty Series
    Cost Today: $2,999
    Marie Antoinette
    photo source: Mattel

    This highly-detailed Marie Antoinette Barbie is part of the Women of Royalty Series, celebrating historic European queens. Accurate to Antoinette’s lavish outfits, this doll features a pale blue ballgown with gold detailing along with a top-heavy hairstyle complete with a feathered hat. She also dons a relatively large rhinestone necklace to finish the look. In a sort of ironic twist, this Barbie costs an exorbitant amount of money in mint condition.

    Did you know

    The Women in Royalty Series also featured Queen Elizabeth and Empress Josephine.

  13. Inland Steel Barbie
  14. Year released: 1967
    Number of pieces: Barbie Loves the Improvers
    Cost Today: $3,232.08
    Inland Steel Barbie
    photo source: Hakes.com

    This 1967 Barbie is unique in both her scarcity and her outfit. The doll was part of an Inland Steel Promotion that allowed buyers to receive her by mail, making her that much more rare. She came as either brunette or blonde, wearing a pink bikini with a dress resembling a tin can inspired by Paco Rabanne’s avant-garde designs. She was shipped in a cardboard box that declared, “Barbie Loves the Improvers” on its side, which also included an aluminum card stating that Barbie is a “Best Dressed Woman” who purchases her clothes from the Inland Steel Container Company.

    Did you know

    Barbie’s canonical boyfriend Ken made his debut at the International Toy Fair in 1961, two years after Barbie.

  15. 1997 Misprint 10th Anniversary Holiday Barbie
  16. Year released: 1997
    Number of pieces: Holiday Holidays Special Edition
    Cost Today: $2,000
    1997 Misprint 10th Anniversary Holiday Barbie
    photo source: Countrycabbage via Ebay

    The 1997 Tenth Anniversary Barbie is valuable because she has green eyes, but her box displays her with blue eyes, an error the Mattel company quickly fixed after only a few boxes went out. In fact, this doll was rare to begin with as it was only available to members of the Official Barbie Collectors Club. The box error makes this highly desired collectors’ item that much more valuable.

    Did you know

    Mattel has released a Holiday Barbie every year since 1988, totaling 32 unique dolls.

  17. Midnight Red Barbie
  18. Year released: 1965
    Number of pieces: Barbie 1600 Series
    Cost Today: $12,544.96
    Midnight Red Barbie
    photo source: Christies.com

    This 1965 vintage Barbie was an alternative version of the much more common Midnight Blue design. Barbie wears classic white gloves and a red fur-trimmed cloak over a ball gown with a matching red skirt. Her hair is styled in high ponytail with a pink bow headband. She sold at auction in 2006, so her value has most likely increased since then.

    Did you know

    Throughout her films and other appearances, Barbie has owned several cats, dogs, horses, birds and even a dolphin as pets.

  19. De Beers Barbie
  20. Year released: 1999
    Number of pieces: Anniversary Dolls
    Cost Today: $85,000
    De Beers Barbie
    photo source: Trendhunter.com

    In celebration of Barbie’s fortieth anniversary, the De Beers diamond company designed and auctioned off a specialty doll, making her one of the rarest Barbies in existence. At $85,000, she’s also one of the most expensive Barbies ever made, a result of the 160 diamonds featured on her decorative bikini top as well as her white gold miniature accessories. She also wears a flowy pink and gold skirt and an orange shawl that contrast with her dark hair and blunt bangs.

    Did you know

    Ken was originally created with sculpted plastic hair, and made his debut with synthetic hair in 1973.

  21. Barbie by Stefano Canturi
  22. Year released: 2010
    Number of pieces: None
    Cost Today: $302,000
    Barbie by Stefano Canturi
    photo source: Stefanocanturi.com

    Barbie by Stefano Canturi is an extravagant example of a one-of-a-kind art piece, making her one of the rarest Barbies in existence. Canturi, the famed jewelry designer who created Satine’s necklace for the film “Moulin Rouge,” had total creative freedom with this doll, choosing her outfit, makeup hair and, of course, jewelry. The doll features a black tulle mini dress and a platinum blonde high ponytail complemented by an elaborate necklace featuring a rare pink diamond surrounded by white diamond pieces. Barbie’s lavish taste makes her the most expensive Barbie doll ever sold at over $300,000.

    Did you know

    Barbie stars in several films based on classic tales, including “Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper” and “Barbie of Swan Lake.”


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