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Christie's South Kensington is offering one of the most complete collections of Barbie Dolls ever to come onto the market on September 26. Comprising some 4,000 dolls, the Ietje Raebel and Marina collection is thought to be the largest collection in the world, spanning the entire history of Barbie, her family, friends and fashion during the second half of the 20th century. Included is Barbie's boyfriend Ken. Estimates start at GBP80 but rare items will top GBP1,000.
Barbie was invented by Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, in 1959. The idea came to her as she watched her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls, and rather than assuming they were babies, Barbara was imagining them in grown-up roles. As a result, Ruth decided to make a teenage doll that would help little girls dream about their future. The trade thought Barbie was kitsch, but Barbie is still a best-seller.
To help promote the sale, Christies has provided some Barbie factoids:
* Ruth Handler was born Ruth Mosko on November 4, 1916 in Denver, Colorado the daughter of Polish-Jewish immigrant parents. She died in 2002 in Los Angeles
* Barbie and Ken are named after Ruth Handler's children
* Barbie has had more than 95 careers - from rock star to paleontologist and presidential candidate
* The first Barbie doll sold for $3.00.
* Barbie is sold in more than 150 countries. Every second, three Barbie dolls are sold somewhere in the world
* Barbie has represented 45 different nationalities and has had over 43 pets including 21 dogs, 14 horses, 3 ponies, 6 cats, a parrot, a chimpanzee, a panda, a lion cub, a giraffe and a zebra
* Barbie's full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts
* Over 1 billion outfits and pairs of shoes have been produced since 1959 for Barbie and her friends, using 105 million yards of fabric.