Barbie Jackpot

Lisa and I met a really nice couple while living in Arizona last summer who had moved from Columbus, Ohio to Kingman, Arizona and were living in the same campground as us while their home was being built.  Glen and Kay talked often about how there was nothing to do where they lived in Ohio except go to auctions and flea markets.

Having now lived in Cambridge, Ohio (just 85 miles east of Columbus) the past five weeks, Lisa and I have discovered something.  There is nothing to do here except go to auctions and flea markets.  So it was with reluctance that I agreed to go with her to an auction this past week and it turned out to be the most entertainment she and I have had in a while.  We were so spoiled living in Arizona and being just an hour from Las Vegas and a couple of hours from LA.  Here we are an hour from Wheeling WV and, trust me, Wheeling ain’t Las Vegas.  The country here is pretty, the people are nice, there is just not much to do.  The sale took place at the home of a man and his wife who were moving from Cambridge to – wait for it – Columbus.  There was a little bit of everything at this sale including some furniture, treadmills, lawn equipment, Harley Davidson stuff (which was a big hit) and numerous boxes of sh….stuff.  I was amazed at the prices people were paying for some of these things and Lisa and I discussed the idea of having an auction of our own.  In case you are interested – everything we have is for sale.

Meanwhile (back at the auction) Lisa spotted a vintage Barbie doll case dated ‘1961’.  I could tell she wanted this thing bad and she talked about how she had one just like it when she was a girl.  Collectors we have met have told us you should collect or trade things you like.  For me that would probably be toy trains.  For Lisa that would have to be Barbie dolls and accessories.  Finally – after about three hours of sitting through the auctioning of every kind of Harley Davidson jacket, helmet, hat, vest, gloves, and every possible accessory (I think they even sold some leather underwear) – Lisa’s Barbie came up for sale.  The bidding began at ten bucks and quickly got to thirty.  Lisa was in and I thought this could be bad. I had seen that look in her eyes before and it is always expensive.  The price hit thirty-five and then forty and Lisa went in at forty-five and waited.  SOLD!  She bought it for forty-five bucks.  At least we did not break the bank but I was surprised that more people were not interested and it made me think they knew something that we didn’t – namely that we just bought a Barbie Doll case for forty-five bucks that could be purchased for ten on the internet.  I always find ways to doubt purchases like this but was glad Lisa had what she wanted.  It was time to go home.

Lisa had taken a peak inside the Barbie case earlier during the auction and noticed there were some clothes and even a couple of dolls inside – but really believed they were more or less worthless in terms of monetary value.  It was not until we got home and researched the value of the case and it’s contents that we realized what we had.  We had hit the jackpot.  Now when I say jackpot that does not mean we are suddenly millionaires and no we did not discover hundred dollar bills stuffed inside a secret hidden compartment.  What we did find out was that this little case and it’s contents are worth well over a thousand bucks and that one of the dolls is a rare early sixties model that is itself worth hundreds.  To top it off – everything including all the dresses, shoes, shower caps, soap, necklaces, and other tiny Barbie items are in mint condition.  Many of the clothing items are part of sets that were completely intact which increased their value.  It looked to us like these had never been played with or seldom taken out of the box.  Wow!  I suddenly love Ohio and these auctions.

It certainly makes sense that collecting and/or trading items that you are interested in and enjoy makes the hobby more engaging.  The only problem is once you find that really special piece you don’t want to let go of it.  And I have a feeling this Barbie collection will be in our family a long, long time.

So much for that thousand bucks.

Love Steve and Lisa