Durban Barbie collector, Shaun Naidoo with some of his amazing collection.
Durban Barbie collector, Shaun Naidoo with some of his amazing collection.

Durban Barbie fan shows of his collection as the iconic doll turns 62

By Tanya Waterworth Time of article published Mar 13, 2021

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Durban - As the legendary Barbie turned 62 years this week, with the equally fashionable Ken hitting his 60th, Barbie collectors around the world shared birthday wishes and special offers for the iconic doll.

In Durban, Barbie collector Shaun Naidoo used to have well over 200 dolls. But he’s since reduced his collection, focusing on the collectible dolls.

Naidoo has a special place in his heart for Indian Barbies. His collection of Expressions of India has a series of five dolls, as well as Bollywood stars Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif from the Bollywood action thriller, Dhoom 3.

"I also like the celebrity dolls, such as Destiny's Child and Beyoncé and the designer dolls. I have the Versace doll which is a platinum label with only a limited number being made," says the specialist collector.

Naidoo said he was first introduced to Barbie when he was young and would go over to his neighbour’s house, where they would play with the dolls.

“I’ve had dolls since I was a child, but only started collecting in 2016. One day I saw a YouTube video about all the Barbie dolls they were making and I became interested. I have a friend in the US and she sends dolls to me from shops such as Walmart, but I also buy on Amazon and E-Bay. I have also joined groups and made friends on international Barbie groups. At first I bought every doll I saw, but I didn’t have time to enjoy all of them, so I sold some and I look for the collectibles,” said Naidoo.

His high-value collectible dolls remain boxed, while others are unboxed.

Naidoo, who works in the corporate sector, described his collection as a “fun hobby”.

“I’m taken in by a particular face or sometimes I really love the outfit. I collect, display and sometimes dress them up to take photographs. I love Indian culture and I get dolls from a friend in India. One Diwali, I took all the Indian dolls and created a display and took photos.

“For the face mould, my favourite is the Claudette, the 2016 holiday doll. She has a really nice face, she looks good in photos and I switch up her outfits,” he said.

While he enjoys seeing the vintage and classic dolls – the original Barbie came out in 1959 ‒ Naidoo prefers more recent models, saying he pays attention to the articulated movement for each doll, with the latest dolls having 22 points of movement, including areas such as wrists.

He also has a few Ken dolls, including the Ken doll from the Moschino Ken and Barbie set.

Bloemfontein collector, Elzette Barnard, is probably the biggest Barbie collector in SA with 4 300 dolls.

This week Barnard said she would add the new Signature Silkstone Barbie to her collection in honour of Barbie’s 62nd birthday.

“Barbie's birthday is special to me as it is a celebration of a life-time of memories and love for the brand. Ken obviously also plays a huge role in my collection, and I’m just as excited about his 60th birthday. In fact, I’ve already added all three of the 60th Anniversary Throwback dolls. I know that Barbie will be with us for many years to come, and that she’ll be celebrated as both an icon and pioneer to collectors from all ages. Happy birthday Barbie,” said Barnard this week.

The "King Of Barbies" is considered to be Cape Town collector, Justuis Pieterse, who boasts a collection of more than 2 000 dolls.

He has a dedicated room, fully kitted with floor-to-ceiling shelving to house his dolls. He said they were currently worth about R1.8-million and he continues to add to his collection.

His favourite doll is from the Bob Macki range Madame Du Barbie.

“This historic, iconic French doll inspired by Marie Antionette, oozes exceptional and intricate detail by designer Bob Mackie.

“I started the collection 12 years ago, a year before my daughter Gemma was born and it now includes Barbie imports and special editions and it just continues to grow as I try to source them locally and internationally. I am hooked,” he said.

The Independent on Saturday

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