Poor Ken: Barbie Starting to Creak

updated 01/04/2002 at 12:00 AM EST

originally published 01/04/2002 11:45AM

Barbie isn't aging well. The collectible market for the 43-year-old Mattel doll, who was modeled after Marilyn Monroe, has gone bust, according to the Wall Street Journal. Collectors have instead turned their allegiances to Game Boy, Rescue heroes and Harry Potter. Furthermore, says the Journal, old Barbies's copper-wire legs act arthritically and her earlobes can turn a "sickly green." Poor Ken. But Barbie is not alone is watching her value slip. With the economy in a slump, reports the Journal, the market for Beanie Babies and Hummel figurines is drying up, too. Compared to the boom times of the late 1990s, sales of such doo-dads are down some 30 percent. Cited is a recent, much-hyped auction in New York of a vintage mint 1959 Barbie (original packaging included). Bidding stopped at $4,400 -- a third of the record price for such a prized collectible. And the special-edition Scarlett O'Hara Barbie? Fiddle dee dee. The $75 doll is now going for half-price on eBay, which, the Journal notes, has an astounding 18,800 Barbie-related items in cyberstorage. "There's just too many damn Barbies," said "Kovel's Antiques and Collectibles Price List" co-author Terry Kovel. Chimes in Helaine Fendelman of the Appraisers Association of America: "It's still a hug market, but the heat is gone." Also slipping are Swarovski crystal dragons (there's an oversupply on the Net), while mint-condition Chatty Cathy dolls from the '50s and '60s can still command $150 each.

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