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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Vintage Barbie struts her stuff
No.4 Barbie in a commuter outfit
Barbie has had more than 95 careers, from president to mermaid
She may have the occasional hole in her tights, oily face or thinning hair, but devotees are expected to flock to her latest fashion show in London.

Barbie fans are set to splash out 100,000 on the dolls on Tuesday as the world's largest collection is sold at Christie's.

The 4,000 dolls span Barbie's 47-year history, including limited editions, designer models and boyfriend Ken.

Most of the dolls are untouched, but some have the odd blemish.

Campus Hero Ken

Some of the catalogue listings for the 26 September sale warn potential buyers of sweaty and oily faces, rubbed lips, loose arms and green ears.

Estimates for the dolls start at 80, but some of the earlier and limited edition Barbies are expected to go for a lot more.

There is a Barbie No.1 which has an estimated price of between 800 and 1,200, and a Gay Parisienne featuring Hubert de Givenchy's famous balloon-line skirt that is expected to sell for 400-600.

Barbie's boyfriend is available in an exciting range of guises, from Campus Hero Ken, at 150-200, to Yachtsman Ken, worth 200-300.

The collection was assembled by Dutch fashion designer Ietje Raebel and her daughter Marina, who had intended to set up a private museum.

BARBIE'S WORLD
Full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts
First Barbie doll sold for $3
Sold in over 150 countries
Three Barbie dolls are sold every second
She has had over 40 pets including 21 dogs, 14 horses, 6 cats, parrot, chimpanzee, panda, lion cub, giraffe and a zebra
Source: Christie's

The Barbie doll was invented by Ruth Handler, co-founder of the US Mattel toy company, in 1959.

She came up with the idea for a teenage doll when she saw her daughter Barbara playing with a paper doll and imagining it as a grown-up.

Launched in 1959 at the New York Toy Fair, 350,000 of the dolls were sold in the first year of production.

Although over a billion Barbie dolls have now been sold worldwide, she faces stiff competition from newcomers like the funky Bratz range of dolls and long-term UK rival Sindy.

Sindy has just been given a new makeover with a younger, less curvaceous look.


SEE ALSO
Sindy gets a make-over
14 Sep 06 |  Business
Barbie doll gets live stage show
08 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Sindy annual gets child into debt
29 Jul 05 |  Scotland
Barbie's mid-life crisis
21 Jul 04 |  Business
In pictures: Sindy celebrates 40th
29 May 03 |  Photo Gallery

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