Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll be well aware that Barbie fever has taken the world by storm this year.
Despite stiff competition, the Barbie movie set a box office record back in July after the film raked in a staggering $1.3 billion (£1.05bn) globally, Meanwhile, Mattel – the owner of Barbie – has seen its value rise by 15% since the turn of the year.
Besides impacting the sale of all things pink over the past few months, Barbie’s success on the big screen has also massively increased the interest in Barbie dolls. This has led to some audacious traders taking advantage of their short supply by buying and selling the dolls for a quick profit.
In this article, we’re going to explore how Barbie fever has transformed the value of Barbie dolls over the past year or so. Plus, we’ll take a look at why Polly Pocket could be the next ‘big thing’. So if you see yourself as a bit of a wheeler dealer read on…
The success of the Barbie movie is quite extraordinary when you think about it. A film about a children’s toy has managed to net a magic ‘nine figure’ sum for its makers, and has officially taken the title of the highest-grossing film of 2023 worldwide.
And don’t forget we’re just talking about the box office here. Mattel, the owner of Barbie, has seen its share price soar 15% so far this year, while interest in Barbie dolls, and other Barbie-related merchandise, has gone through the roof.
What this has all meant is that Barbie dolls have become the most surprising ‘new’ investment of 2023.
An online Barbie doll collector who goes by the name of ‘Maria Dollyz‘ has been collecting Barbie dolls for years. According to reports, Dollyz says she was offered $1,098 (£892) for a 2005 ‘Elina’ Barbie doll, $220 (£178) for a ‘Rapunzel’ Barbie, and €330 (£268) for a doll based on a character from the ‘Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus’ movie. What’s surprising about these offers is the fact that they’re for dolls released in 2005, so they’re hardly vintage.
On a similar note, ‘Allan’ dolls have attracted a lot of interest over the past few weeks. (If you aren’t familiar with the Barbie universe, Allan is a close friend of Ken). These dolls are no longer available from Mattel, though it’s been reported that they were retailing for roughly £50 prior to the release of the recent Barbie movie. However, thanks to the reappearance of Allan in the Barbie movie – played by Michael Cera – these dolls are now fetching northwards of £250 on online marketplaces such as eBay.
So the message here is actually quite simple, if you have any Barbie dolls around your home right now, now could be a good time to capitalise on the growing interest in the franchise.
While interest in Barbie has certainty skyrocketed since the release of the movie, it’s fair to say that investing in Barbie dolls was always a ‘thing’ prior to Barbie mania.
When it comes to ‘investing’ in Barbie dolls, it’s worth knowing that there are three ‘eras’ of Barbie dolls: The Vintage Era (1959 – 72), The Modern Era (after 72), and The Collectible Era, which was started by Mattel in 1986.
Understandably, the oldest, and rarest dolls tend to fetch the highest sums. And if you’ve a Barbie in mint condition, preferably in its original box, then it’s very likely to be worth a few bob.
According to The Morning Star, if you manage to dig out a red-hair Barbie No. 1, then you could be sitting on a small fortune. In fact, one collector believes if the ‘two or three’ remaining in circulation was put up for sale it could earn a six-figure sum.
To learn more about buying and selling Barbie dolls for profit, see our article: make money collecting barbie dolls.
Mattel, the owner of Barbie, has revealed that a new Polly Pocket movie will be its next ‘big project.’ The movie, set to star Lily Collins, will bring to life Polly Pockets.
If you were wondering, Polly Pockets were launched in 1982 with Mattel acquiring the rights in 1998. The original Polly Pocket toys were plastic cases which that opened to form a dollhouse with Polly Pocket figurines inside. The cases, along with the doll, could be folded, making the Polly Pockets the ultimate mobile toy.
Once Mattel gained the rights in the late 1990s, it made the dolls larger and give the dolls an improved, lifelike appearance.
There’s no doubt that Polly Pocket collectors haven’t been rolling in the money as much as Barbie doll enthusiasts in decent times. In fact, Polly Pockets have actually been discontinued on more than one occasion, with the dolls most recently re-introduced in 2018.
Yet if the upcoming Polly Pocket move turns out to be another major box office hit, then it’s very possible that Polly Pockets will capture the public’s imagination once again.
Sadly we don’t yet have a release date for the movie, but there’s little doubt that Mattel will be keen to get cracking considering the success of its most recent hit!
Of course, we can’t say for sure if this new movie will emulate the success of the Barbie movie, or whether it will end up flopping. What we do know, however, is that the release of the movie certainly has the potential to generate fresh interest in physical Polly Pocket dolls.
So, if you feel you’ve missed the Barbie bandwagon, you may feel tempted to stock up on Polly Pockets. When we checked on eBay, we noticed that there was an abundance of 1990 Polly Pockets sets selling for between £10 as £20, while sets from the 1980s were typically fetching between £40 and £100.
If the movie does prove to be a hit, then buying some dolls now could earn you a tidy profit in future. Just bear in mind that you’ll need to have the means to store them for a few years.
It almost goes without saying, but if you’re interested in buying Polly Pocket dolls, or any other type of dolls for that matter, then focusing on ‘limited edition’ dolls is likely to give you the highest chance of bagging a profit. Older sets are also likely be worth more than dolls from the 1990’s or later.
Without a crystal ball, it is impossible to say whether now’s a good time to stock up on Polly Pockets.
Yet, as mentioned above, you’ll give yourself the best chance of success if you focus on dolls that are likely to be limited edition, or only available for a short period of time.
It almost goes without saying, but if you buy plastic dolls with the intention of selling them, then there’s a chance you’ll lose money. For example, it’s possible the current demand for Barbie dolls will fade in future, Similarly, it’s also possible that an oversupply of dolls will saturate the market in future.
The chance of the the Polly Pocket movie passing with little interested should also not be discounted. Remember, even the most hyped up box-office movie can go down badly with audiences. A big box office budget doesn’t guarantee a hit!
Yet despite this negatively, we should say that the chances of losing money applies to all types of investing. While it’s impossible to eliminate this risk, it is possible to at least minimise the impact of a bad investment.
This is why, if you do decide to buy Polly Pocket dolls – or buy similar alternative investments (Lego is popular right now) then it’s best to do so as part of a diversified portfolio. That way, if you’re investment turns sour, then the other assets in your portfolio will likely offer you a cushion.
And on this point, when it comes to ‘fun’ investments in general, it’s best to keep your expectations in check, and not to invest more than you can afford to lose. Investing in dolls isn’t like investing in stocks, shares, bonds etc, so it’s best not to treat it as such!
And while we’re on the subject of investing in non-traditional assets, take a look at our article that looks at investing in alternative assets for further inspiration.
Are you interested in learning more about investing? If so, do sign up to the MoneyMagpie bi-weekly Investing Newsletter for a unique way to digest our investing tips. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence. When investing your capital is at risk.