Okay, you have to understand a few things, first off. I played with Barbies until I was 12 or 13. Secondly, I collected them for a few years after that. I love Barbies, bad rap for screwing with little girls’ body image and all (I think I turned out okay after playing with them, no matter about their origins as German sex toys). But I haven’t bought a Barbie, or had one bought for me, in probably 12 or 13 years, at least. There was a point, though, where I had each of the holiday editions and some of the other fun ones (Wonder Woman, Lucy, etc.).
There was this particular Barbie that I really, really wanted. She came out in 1993 or ’94 and she was the object of my desire. I was a bit obsessive over ancient Egypt, not just that year (although it was right after I read Mara, Daughter of the Nile, admittedly not the best book in my childhood repertoire, but it piqued my interest) but for a long time. I could recite the ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses, read some hyroglyphics, etc. For this reason I had to go to the King Tut exhibit when it was in Los Angeles a few years ago (and was sorely disappointed – the British Museum was SO much better and cheaper!). But I digress.
This Barbie was all the gorgeousness of the world’s most popular fashion doll with all the incredible Egyptian mythology mixed in. She was part of the “Great Eras” series of dolls, and I think originally sold for something around $60. My mom had thought to buy her for me for Christmas that year and for some reason didn’t (we just had this discussion and she can’t even remember anymore). I am pretty sure that the story is that the doll was on sale, but I was out shopping with my mom; she decided to come back to the store when I wasn’t with her (to surprise me) and when she got back all the dolls were sold. Even years later, my mom would say “Remember that Egyptian Barbie? I should have gotten her for you…”
Since then, I’ve seen her a few times. I think we even looked her up once. She was priced at over $100. “Collector” Barbies can get quite expensive, and as much as I thought she was just gorgeous I had no desire to spend that kind of money. I stopped collecting a long time ago and just didn’t think about her since.
But yesterday I stopped into the toy shop here in La Jolla. It’s moving to the mall and selling off all the old stock. I walked carefully through the aisles, looking for something interesting (for hubby’s class, or a niece, or a cousin, or a friend’s baby, or just a fun art project for yours truly). But it was mostly cleaned out. I stopped in the Barbie aisle (hey, I can still look!) and noticed some of my favorite old dolls. There was the Holiday Barbie from 1996 (yes, I have her)… And then I saw the Grecian Goddess Barbie.
Now, the Grecian Goddess Barbie was in the “Great Eras” collection too. I looked down the shelf and they had the Chinese one, but no Egyptian Barbie. Still…
“Do you happen to have the Egyptian one?” I asked the owner, thinking he’d say “No, everything’s out on the shelves” and I’d leave. “Hang on,” he said instead. “Let me check.”
He walked into the back and I walked down another aisle, trying not to hover. I wondered if it would still be exciting, 15 years later. He was in the back room a while and when he returned, he was carrying a little box. “Is this it?” he asked.
Egyptian Barbie smiled up at me. I tried not to squeal. Yup. Felt the same. “How much?” I asked, trying to restrain myself. “Well, they’re normally $60, but it’s half off. So $30,” he answered. “I’ll take it!” I said. “I loved it so much when it first came out and never got it!”
So… Here’s my find, photo courtesy of Wow Dolls (where Egyptian Barbie is currently being sold for $89… yeah, I got a good deal!).