When I first started collecting Barbie dolls in the early 1980s, I noticed that one statistic was significantly absent. Well, it's 25 years later, and that little statistic still has never been printed anywhere. Even when I asked the question last summer on a discussion group, the answers I got indicated that (A) people misunderstood my question, or (B) no one had ever thought to ask it before, or (C) no one knew.
The question is: How many different Barbie dolls were sold between 1959 and 1999? I'm not referring to the various facial molds or body types, not her umpteem friends and relatives, and not those silly statistics that keep circulating about the number of Barbie dolls sold could span Earth three times (I think that means 6 billion).
I wanted to know how many individual new styles of Barbies were sold each year, by hair or skin color, clothing, activities or accessories, etc. It was easy for 1959--there were only four. But figuring out the numbers for 1960 onward is far more challenging.
It took me six months to compile my statistics, using every reference book, magazine and email I could find, not to mention just looking at my own collection.
So what you see on both sides of this column are my results of research. I realize that there are probably umpteem dolls I haven't mentioned, simply because they aren't listed in any reference book. And I probably have some dolls listed in the wrong year. You tell me what needs to be added or corrected, and I'll gladly post it.
Oh, and by the way, the number is 2,386.