Cart 0

The Barbie Selling Translation Guide For That Other Seller


If you’re a doll seller reading this, of course, this post is not a slam on YOUR selling practices. It's all about that OTHER seller. You know, that seller. He or she doesn’t speak the same language ethical, honest sellers speak, so the rest of the world needs help understanding what they really mean.

(Here at, we are both sellers and buyers. These observations definitely do not reflect our selling practices. They unfortunately reflect the selling practices of a certain percentage of those we buy from on eBay, however.)

Without further ado, here is my translation guide for that “other” Barbie seller. Not us, not our readers, not our buyers, but that other seller.

Barbies: Any roughly Barbie shaped doll between 4” and 18” tall, including She-Ra, Bratz, Dawn, Kelly, American Girls, miniature Cabbage Patch kids, McDonalds toys, Strawberry Shortcake, any action figure that wears clothes ("Ken"), small baby dolls, certain Fisher Price dolls, Crissy, Dress-me dolls, Mego anything, paper dolls, Groovy Girls, and all vinyl fashion dolls ever made.

Barbie Clothing: May originally have belonged to all of the above listed dolls, plus Troll dolls, My Little Ponies (hey, I now have a wedding train for one of my MLPs!), Polly Pocket, Cabbage Patch Kids, or random baby dolls. Old hair scrunchies and used socks with arm holes cut in them also qualify as "Barbie Clothes." (The sellers of the used socks should list them in the correct category on eBay. They'd make more money. Just saying.)

Barbie Furniture: Any scale from 1:2 down to 1:24. Smaller furniture can be described as “Kelly” furniture, even if it’s for Fisher Price Little People.

Barbie Horse: Includes Breyer. Also, Barbie horses do not need to include all limbs to be in good condition.

Barbies Made in the 1960’s: Barbies made in the 1990’s with cheap PTR bodies and platinum blond big hair, tramp stamped "1966." 

Barbie Shoes: Shoes for any and all small dolls ranging from Polly Pocket to Strawberry Shortcake are Barbie shoes. My Little Pony shoes can double as Barbie tiaras and hats. (Or Ginny shoes, but that's a different rant.)

Barbie # 1: Any ponytail Barbie with black and white eyes. It may not have originally been a Barbie #1, but it kinda looks like one now … the seller would like to assure you that, yes, the very earliest Barbies were hand painted, and therefore the sloppily painted eyes and bright fuschia lips and glowing dots of hand-applied blush add value because it’s the earliest style of #1 Barbie.

Barbie Friend: Seller knows it's not a Barbie, but doesn't know what else to call it and doesn't want to take the time to figure it out. Frozen Charlottes, 1950s Dress Me Dolls, Nancy Ann Storybook dolls, and 18" American Girl knockoffs can all therefore be described as "Barbie Friends."

Bild Lilli: Any Barbie clone. Includes modern dolls.

Bright colors: Wow, look at those brightly colored stains.

Best Deal on eBay: For the seller.

Brand New: Not really new, but they’re fairly clean, and don’t have a lot of wear. Or, at least, they're sealed in ziplock baggies. Truely vintage items may be described as “brand new” if the seller doesn’t realize they’re actually fifty years old!

Case Lot: A damaged vintage case with modern dolls and clothing.

Case Lot Version 2: A damaged vintage case, low value damaged clothing, and damaged dolls. AKA "all the seller's junk thrown into one pile."

Cheap: Refers to the quality, not the price.

Complete Doll: Has all four limbs and a head. They may or may not be attached or original to the torso.

Complete Outfit: The shoes are clone shoes, it's missing a few snaps and buttons, and the hat is a reproduction.

Displays well: Doll displays well when dressed in a burka.

Dolls in good shape: Well, except for the missing limbs and broken necks.

Doll in hand: Seller is auctioning off an extremely desirable doll, and does not actually have it in hand. What they really mean is they are holding a different doll in their hand. So they can legitimately claim they have a "doll in hand" when they post the listing! You may or may not ever see the doll you just won. See: New Seller.

Expedited shipping: The "expedited" part is getting the order to the post office within a week of purchase. The seller will ship them media mail in a cereal box.

Expedited shipping version 2: The seller will overnight the box to you using his employer's Fedex account after you open a case for Item Not Received with eBay. You only waited a month before opening the case.

Estate Sale Find: The little old lady who was the original owner let her kids and grandkids and great-grandkids play with the dolls, so they’ve been through four generations of kids. After storing them for ten years in a box on the back porch, they sold them for .25 cents each at a yard sale.

Estate Sale Find Version 2: “Estate Sale Find” sounds better than "junk bin at a yard sale." It’s truly amazing the number of deceased grandmothers who collected “Vintage Barbies” with belly button bodies and bad hair.

Faint odor: It’s only faint if the item is sealed in a plastic bag. You can smell it through the plastic, and the mail carrier gagged delivering it. (The actual lot of clothing and dolls I’m thinking of could be smelled at fifty yards. My mail carrier sealed it in a garbage bag before delivering it and texted me a warning about the odor. There was a BAD mildew odor on both Barbies and box itself, and the box itself was moldy. The buyer later admitted to me that the items had been salvaged from a flooded house after Katrina ... though that still doesn't explain the mold on the box.)

Fair condition: Destroyed.

Fits Barbie: Sort of. Maybe. If you've got the fashion sense of a four year old. 

Found in an attic: The seller was contracted to fix the house’s electrical wiring and stole them. The buyer will be contacted by the police.

Found in my Grandmother’s Closet: Grandma has so many dolls the seller thinks she won’t ever notice he stole these to finance his drug habit. Also, they’re not as old as the seller thinks they are. Grandma has been buying Barbies for over fifty years and she got these at Toys R’ Us last month.

Found in my Grandmother’s Closet Version 2: Grandma got these at Goodwill from the bulk toy bin. They’re last year’s cheapest line of Barbies, and they’re bald. Grandma loved them anyway.

Genuine Barbie: It says Mattel on the widget somewhere, or it’s pink. It’s not necessarily a Barbie item. Polly Pocket is a genuine Barbie item by this definition. So is She-ra.

Genuine Barbie Version 2: Knockoffs. Clones. Competitors. Anything but Mattel.

Giant Barbie Lot!!!!: Two dolls, one of which isn’t a Barbie, six pieces of mismatched clothing, a random stuffed animal, seven shoes, fourteen My Scene purses, an extra modern head, a flipper, and a (broken) tiara.

Giant Vintage Barbie Lot!!!!: All of the above, plus a chewed-on Susie Goose hanger, some knockoff shoes stamped Hong Kong, a hairless Skipper head from the 90’s, and a nude Rocker Ken. The seller would also like you to know that Rocker Ken’s mullet is a classic 60’s hairdo.

Has Eyelashes: Had eyelashes once, before Kidzilla singed them off with a lighter.

HTF: Hard-to-find. There are less than a hundred others like this on eBay.

Honest seller: Doesn’t lie, except by omission. Also, they’ll ship your item thirty days after payment. When you complain about the misrepresented doll, they will react with fury and remind you that they are the most honest seller on eBay. They’re going to rip you off on the shipping charge if you buy multiple lots from them.

Huge lot: Different from a “giant” lot -- it’s smaller. Anything more than four items can be called a huge lot.

I don’t know anything about Barbies, I’m just selling these for a friend: This is actually another doll seller’s sell-the-junk account, and the lot will prove to contain a huge volume of pure garbage that was not worth the shipping cost. Said pure garbage was well presented and looked like it was worth far more than it really was because the seller knows how to take nice photos, and styled the hair and adjusted the photo angles to hide the damage.

I may have missed something: Gives plausible deniability when the doll arrives in two pieces.

Items kept in an attic: The attic had raccoons.

Items kept in basement: And it flooded. The seller also heats with coal. See also, No Funny Odors and Faint Odor.

Items kept in basement version 2: The basement has black widow spiders, one of which is going to hitch a ride to a new home inside a tall boot.

Items in storage for many years: They were stored in a very hot barn with cats, and there were also lots of field mice … see also: Needs Cleaning.

Little bit of green ear, not too bad: ZOMG, it's a zombie, it's a zombie! Aaaaaaaaugh, a zombie!

Lot contains numerous vintage items: All of which are shredded beyond repair. See also definitions of “vintage” below.

Mary Jane Shoes: Shoes were exposed to pot smoke.

No pets: The bedbugs are not pets.

Nice clean lot: The seller machine washed and dried it after photographing it. (The vintage Benefit Performance outfit did NOT survive. Sigh.)

Nice clean lot version 2: The seller's definition of "clean" is not the same as your definition of "clean."

Some Items Not Pictured: Yeah, because they're not worth the cost of shipping.

My Childhood Dolls: Seller claims they’re from her childhood in the sixties; either she’s a lot younger than she looks, or she's lying about the provenance of those dolls, because those are 1990’s Skippers.

My Wife's Childhood Dolls: Reproduction ponytails. Seller's wife is apparently underage.

Needs a new hairdo: Hair has been cut, what’s left is in dreadlocks, and she’s got a bald spot on the top of her head. Someone tried to reroot her and left big holes in her scalp. The new hair doesn’t match the old hair.

Needs hair combed: Needs a couple of hours of work involving a pot of boiling water, hair curlers, several washings, and some plugs replaced. Missing a chunk in an obvious spot, but the seller thinks you can style the hair to cover that, or put a hat on the doll. Rerooting the doll might be easier. And none of this is going to fix the missing nose, unless the seller also means for you to style a spit curl in front of the nose.

Nice vintage condition: Kidzilla played with it a long time ago, but since the hair was all pulled out forty years ago, it’s antique damage and shouldn’t be counted against the value of the doll now.

No Returns! Sold As Is! Thank goodness for eBay buyer protection. There's something very seriously wrong and undisclosed in the lot. 

Mod clothing: “Mod” stands for Modern, you know, made in the last couple of years.

Mod clothing version 2: Any short dress worn with tall boots. Includes My Scene, Hannah Montana, and Bratz.

Needs Cleaning: Buyer needs to wear a hazmat suit while cleaning the doll. And those stains are never going to come out. The seller apparently washed the doll in beet juice.

Needs TLC: It’s totally trashed, see also: TLC Lot.

New Seller: Got banned under their old ID.

No funny odors: These odors mean serious business.

Non-smoking home: No smoke, but the items smell like cats.

No tobacco smoke: The seller smoked pot, then sprayed the items with stinky perfume to hide it.

No smoke, animal free home: Seller marinated the lot in perfume, sprayed it with febreeze, burns stinky candles, and stuffed a large handful of strongly scented dryer sheets in the box before shipping. They were telling the truth about lack of smoke or animal odors, however.

Minty: This can mean various things, but is most commonly used to indicate that all limbs are attached, the neck isn’t cracked, and the hair is all there. It may also mean that the doll smells like peppermint. Shoes are minty if they weren't used like chewing gum.

Mint In Box: The doll is in the original box, but she's been stored in a hot garage for twenty years and has major heat and mildew damage.

Mint in Box, Version 2: Yeaaaaah, right. Box is new-ish looking, doll isn't, seller just tucked an old doll into a mint box. Suspiciously, the seller has a "newly deboxed" doll for sale under another name. (You can tell it's the same seller despite two different handles because the background is the same.)

Mint in Box, Version 3: Where do people get counterfeit boxes?

Parts Lot: The seller’s already used all the good parts and is just selling the ones with weird blotches, sticky vinyl and missing limbs.

Play wear: It was played with by border collie puppies, then Kidzilla lit it on fire.

Please ask questions: Let’s play 20 questions. Seller is hiding something that he won’t tell you unless you think to ask.

Prompt shipping: Seller marks “shipped” as soon as you pay, but only goes into town to mail the dolls every two weeks.

OOAK Barbie Doll: Seller has no idea what OOAK means, but sees it on a lot of other listings, so thinks it's a great keyword to include in their title. The actual doll is a stock Spin Master Liv with no alterations whatsoever, unless you count the paint rubs, missing thumbs and coffee stains.

Skipper shoes: They’re flat.

Shoe lot: Might contain a few Barbie shoes mixed in with the Bratz, Polly Pocket, Cabbage Patch Kid, and knockoff shoes.

TLC Lot: It’s a parts lot, but there’s still a few good parts left. A leg here, an arm there, that head could be rehaired, she’s only missing part of her nose, you can’t see the cat chewed the feet up if you put boots on her, and nothing is going to get that stain on her face out but you could make a zombie OOAK.

United States Seller: While the pictures are of new Barbie clothes or shoes and the seller lives in the US, you will get knockoffs drop-shipped from China.

We Threw Away The Ratty Bald Dolls: ... and the entire rest of the lot is from 1959/1960ish, making one wonder just who got thrown away. What remains is overpriced. Sigh.

Will be securely packaged and shipped in a box: A tampon box with suspicious brownish dried fingerprints. The seller also recycles! (YES, REALLY.)

Vintage: It’s no longer being made. 2009 dolls can be considered “vintage” if they are discontinued.

Vintage #2: The toys are from the seller’s childhood, and the seller is twenty-two years old.

Vintage #3: It's a reproduction.

Vintage #4: A dog ate it, a cat peed on it, AND it's literally fuzzy with mold. But yes, it's really vintage.

Vintage #5: Seller salted a lot with a few nice and very desirable vintage pieces on top of a giant pile of damaged vintage clothes, and arranged everything in the pile so none of the damage was visible on the other items in the lot.

Vintage Barbie Shoes: Are always made of thin plastic, stamped ‘Hong Kong’ and have two holes in the soles. Toy making technology has improved tremendously, dontcha know, and today’s shoes are much better quality. The old Barbie shoes were very cheaply made. Everyone knows this.

Vintage Condition: Any vintage doll (see definition of “vintage”) with specific flaws that the seller doesn’t want to disclose, as disclosing the flaws would hurt the sales price. “Vintage Condition” covers any and all problems, and a doll in “vintage condition” is by definition in good shape, worth big bucks, and highly desirable, even if it’s a flockless 1960’s Ken with a missing leg and scratched-out eyes.

  • Suwi on

    I can recognize a lot of these!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published