“Barbie: A Rare Beauty” Book Review

By Shannon Gosney
In Book Review
January 11, 2011

She owns a mansion, a jet, a cruise ship, and a few convertibles.  She’s traveled the world, stopping in over 150 countries.  She has five sisters, over 40 pets and an on-again-off-again relationship with the smoothest in America.  Her photo adorns the walls of sought-after hotel suites in cities such as Paris and Las Vegas.  But most importantly, she is the face of a nearly $2 billion empire – and still has time to shop for shoes.

I grew up playing with Barbie.  I vividly remember the enjoyment I felt as I walked down the pink aisle filled with different Barbie products.  I had friends who collected different Barbie dolls.  Barbie was a big part of my life growing up.

Sandi Holder, Author of Barbie: A Rare Beauty, is getting down to business with America’s most successful career woman.  Barbie: A Rare Beauty was released on October 31st, 2010 and is available for purchase in bookstores and online, retailing for $30.00.  When Sandi Holder met the 11 1/2 inch tall American icon, Barbie was turning heads in her Red Flare outfit (#939), a rich red velvet tent coat, adn sporting the brunette Bubblecut she donned in the early 60s.  Now owner of Doll Attic in Union City, CA, the celebrated Barbie doll expert is presenting her incredible collection in Barbie: A Rare Beauty.  The glamorous guide to Barbie’s 50 years showcases stunning vintage dolls, classic fashion sets, one-of-a-kind rarities, store displays and many never-before-seen items – all acquired by Holder during two decades of Barbie doll collecting.  Holder was named Mattel’s first Dealer of the Year in 2004 and was the 2006 recipient of Barbie’s Best Friend Award given by Mattel designer Carol Spencer at the National Barbie Convention.  She has appeared on The Today Show and the Doll Attic have been featured in The New York Times, CNN.com, Newsweek, and others.

Three Barbie dolls are sold every second according to Mattel.  These staggering statistics, especially in today’s economic times, prove that Barbie is ageless, even after celebrating her 50th birthday in February 2009.  Born Barbie Millicent Roberts, the doll first appeared at the New York Toy Fair on March 9, 1959.  The sly, side-staring Ponytail Barbie doll wearing a black and white striped, one-piece swimsuit appeared seemingly out of nowhere amongst the era’s one-dimensional paper dolls and chubby baby dolls, selling for a mere $3.  That same Barbie doll, shown in Barbie: A Rare Beauty, earned Holder a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006 after it sold for more than $25,000 at a Doll Attic auction.  Holder’s biannual auctions continue to be a mainstay of her business, offering some of the rarest Barbie dolls and accessories.

Unlike the plastic megastar, Holder’s road to prominence wasn’t paved with pink boxes, pilgrim heels and ponytails.  Two decades ago when her son fell seriously ill and Sandi suddenly needed to generate income while staying at home, she and Barbie got down to business.  With such an impressive resume of over 100 positions, from fashion designer to school teacher to three-time presidential candidate, Barbie was the perfect silent partner in Holder’s plan.  Immersing herself in all-things Barbie, she began attending doll shows, buying duplicates and assessing the market and was soon selling vintage dolls from two plastic milk crates in her garage.  In 1989, she opened her Doll Attic in a storefront in the San Francisco Bay area.


This was a really fun book to look through.  It was amazing to see the different styles Barbie has had over the years and to flip through page after page of colorful Barbie images.  A big thanks goes to Sandi Holder for putting together this Barbie masterpiece!

I received a copy of “Barbie: A Rare Beauty” from Sandi Holder to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine.

About Has 4151 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of RedheadMom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

2 Responses to ““Barbie: A Rare Beauty” Book Review”

  1. Andrea says:

    My girls love the Barbie books. My oldest daughter is almost 12 now, and she’s still doesn’t really like to read unless it’s something that interests her. I guess I’m the same way. It’s hard to get into a book if you don’t really care what happens to the characters! Barbie books were some of the first books that she actually enjoyed reading on her own. I think it was partly because of the pretty pictures! My youngest daughter is now into all of the Barbie books, and when we read them together, I can still remember most of the words without even looking at the books!

  2. Kailee Adams says:

    I love Barbie! I remember Toys R Us had a glass case almost an aisle long filled with the expensive Barbies on display like the Bob Mackie ones, I wanted them sooo bad!

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