I was a Barbie fanatic growing up. I never wanted to let go of my Barbie dolls and grow up but thank goodness my parents knew what was best for me. Or did they? No, they did, I didn’t need a Barbie Doll Dream House at age 8 a mirror was a much better choice, but now I can relive the Barbie dream through my daughter. She has a Toy Story Barbie, and so does my son, so they can play Barbie together. She is getting new Barbie clothes for Christmas from her aunt, she’s making her some home made Barbie clothes. Isn’t that awesome? We can dress her and change her clothes and, wait, this is supposed to be about a book I think.
Ok, now onto Barbie: A Rare Beauty! When Sandi Holder met the 11½ inch tall American icon, Barbie was turning heads in her Red Flare outfit, a rich red velvet tent coat, and sporting the brunette Bubblecut she donned in the early 60s. Now owner of Doll Attic in Union City, CA, the celebrated Barbie doll expert is presenting her incredible collection in BARBIE: A Rare Beauty. I’m thinking Sandi made her fantasies into a profession. She used her dolls, “collection” have you.. to create the glamorous guide to Barbie’s first 50 years. In her book she showcases stunning vintage dolls, classic fashion sets, one-of-a-kind rarities, store displays and many never-before-seen items—all acquired by Holder during two decades of Barbie doll collecting.
Three Barbie dolls are sold every second according to Mattel and I would believe it. These staggering statistics, especially in today’s economic times, prove that Barbie is ageless, even after celebrating her 50th birthday in February 2009. Born Barbie Millicent Roberts, the doll first appeared at the New York Toy Fair on March 9, 1959. The sly, side-staring Ponytail Barbie doll wearing a black and white striped, one-piece swimsuit appeared seemingly out of nowhere amongst the era’s one-dimensional paper dolls and chubby baby dolls, selling for a mere $3. That same Barbie doll, shown in BARBIE: A Rare Beauty, earned Holder a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006 after it sold for more than $25,000 at a Doll Attic auction. Holder’s biannual auctions continue to be a mainstay of her business, offering some of the rarest Barbie dolls and accessories.
Reading Barbie: A Rare Beauty made me reminisce of my little collection of dolls that I had. I still love Barbie and everyone does. So Barbie: A Rare Beauty is the perfect coffee table book. It’s going to start conversations and you’ll have people looking at it never wanting to put it down. You’ll see them smile as they come to a page that reminds them of the doll they used to have. Holder’s book is fun, informative, fabulous to look at and is a great read. The novice collector won’t be lost and the seasoned collector can find plenty to look at, including some never before seen items. It’s great for everyone!
About Sandi Holder:
Unlike the plastic megastar, Holder’s road to prominence wasn’t paved with pink boxes, pilgrim heels and ponytails. Two decades ago when her son fell seriously ill and Sandi suddenly needed to generate income while staying at home, she and Barbie got down to business. With such an impressive resume of over 100 positions, from fashion designer to school teacher to three-time presidential candidate, Barbie was the perfect silent partner in Holder’s plan. Immersing herself in all-things Barbie, she began attending doll shows, buying duplicates and assessing the market and was soon selling vintage dolls from two plastic milk crates in her garage. In 1989, she opened her Doll Attic in a storefront in the San Francisco Bay area.
Holder was named Mattel’s first Dealer of the Year in 2004 and was the 2006 recipient of Barbie’s Best Friend Award given by Mattel designer Carol Spencer at the National Barbie Convention. She has appeared on The Today Show and the Doll Attic has been featured in The New York Times, CNN.com, Newsweek, and others.
I was supplied with Barbie: A Rare Beauty in exchange for my unbiased opinion.