I'm a German collector. I mainly collect vintage Skippers, but also love American Girl Barbies and Swirls.
I was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1966 and worked and lived in Libya and the U.S.A. (in Atlanta, Georgia). Today, I live in a town near Stuttgart.
You can meet me at my facebook groups: "Skipper - Barbie's little sister" (international, English speaking group) or "Barbie und andere Modepuppen 1959 - 1979 (Vintage, Mod, ...)" (German speaking group).
When I opened my Facebook account, I wasn’t really interested in being active there, but wanted to check it out because my kids wanted to have their own Facebook accounts. I didn’t want my real name in the worldwide web. So I chose my second name, which is the German version of Emily. My daughters left Facebook years ago, but I’m still there. Since people know me as Emily or “Em” on Facebook, I also use this name for my websites. I call my private Skippers “Emily’s girls”.
I started out with “vintageslskipper.jimdo.com” (slskipper = Straight Leg Skipper). After adding not only more dolls, but also fashions and everything else connected with Skipper, the size exceeded the maximum for this free website. I don’t make money with my websites and share all the information for free, so I didn’t want to pay for upgrading the website and started a second one: “vintageskipper.jimdo.com”. Strangely, the maximum size for this new site was reached very fast, and the third website had to be created … (vintageskipperdolls.jimdo.com). The same happened again, which made me create #4: “emilysgirls”. I cannot count the number of hours I put into these webpages, usually I’m having lots of fun, but sometimes it gets stressful. These are the times I need a break and don’t check my contact E-mail account, so please don’t get impatient if you don’t get a reply for a while …
I’ve been asked by many collectors why I don’t write a book about Skipper dolls. Well, I did – it was written in English and German and contained around 400 pages – and was finished in January 2017. Unfortunately, I didn’t get Mattel’s permission to publish this book, because they had other plans for the brand (that’s what I was told when contacting them and asking for permission). However, I made lots of updates to the book and created one for my private ownership – it’s all in German now and has reached 410 pages. I love to hold a book in my hands and personally prefer books to online information. So it’s really a pity that I’ll probably never be in the position to publish my book (and to make up for a little of the money I spent on items I bought only for my research and documentation). On the other hand, it’s good for you, you get all that information for free.
Unfortunately, it’s very hard to find vintage Barbie dolls in Germany (and the rest of Europe). Back in the 60s and 70s, German kids didn’t have as many dolls as kids in the U.S.A., and many parents threw away their children’s toys after they grew up because of lack of storage space. You hardly ever find them nowadays – neither at flea markets, nor in thrift stores nor online.
Some items, like Dressed Box Dolls and most gift sets, were never sold in Germany. There are lots of things that can only be bought internationally on an online marketplace and which have to be imported, which adds a lot of shipping costs and import fees to the amount collectors pay in the U.S.A. For example, if you live in New York and pay 200 (500) US $ for an item incl. shipping, I end up paying 275 (662) US $. This makes collecting frustrating … and expensive!
On the other hand, there are some dolls which were only produced for the Germany or European market, like the “German Skipper” and many more Skipper dolls with the vintage facemold. They are also rare in Europe, but of course easier to find than in other parts of the world.
I do my research thoroughly. I’m very skeptical. If I find information, dolls or other items I haven’t seen anywhere before I use my eyes, knowledge, my common sense and feedback from other collectors (some of them have been collecting for decades now and have a very huge knowledge) to find out more about these items and determine what they are and if they are original. Part of my brain is reserved for Skipper – it’s like a sponge that absorbs every tiny bit of information that has anything to do with these dolls.
It also helps to know where the items come from. Not everything that exists in the Barbie world has been discovered or written about until now. Only recently, a Japanese Skipper fashion was found (lose and also nrfb) by trustworthy fellow collectors. For decades, collectors thought it was a fact that there weren’t any Japanese exclusive Skipper fashions. You cannot find this outfit in any book, but you can see it on my Mod Fashions page (#2) on vintageslskipper.jimdo.com.
I found a coat variation of “Chilly Chums”, which evidently is a sample fashion. There’s an incredibly rare version of a Funtime Skipper box from Germany (which is the only known example). This box isn’t documented anywhere else and I have never seen again. These are only a few items you can find on my websites which weren’t believed to exist before or which haven’t been documented before.
But indeed you have to be careful with what to believe. People tend to dream of exciting finds (so do I), but you should always try to find out as much as possible about these items before you assume they are genuine. There are many awesome seamstresses out there which know how to create outfits that look very much like genuine Barbie fashions, and there are lots of people who know how to re-root or re-paint dolls. That’s OK if they state what they did when they sell these items. However, unfortunately there are also people who like to cheat on others and try to make money with fakes.
I remember a fellow Skipper collector who was convinced to have found a prototype or sample Skipper dress in a lot from Germany. I had the feeling I had seen that dress before (the information got stuck in the “Skipper sponge” part of my brain) and did some research. The dress ended up to be a German Peggy doll fashion from the 60s.
Once there was a big discussion in one of the Barbie doll groups on Facebook, because a collector showed a photograph of a tan Japanese Skipper with brown eyebrows and stated that the doll was original. Since most of the collectors believed what was written about Japanese Skippers in the books (that they came with pink skin and black eyebrows only) the doll was classified as a fake. Well, in the meantime I found evidence of tan Japanese Skippers, of tan Japanese Skippers with beige eyebrows, and all of them have the early Skipper markings and not the later markings stated in the books. In fact, the Skipper dolls sold in the Japanese exclusive Dressed Doll Boxes all are tan Skippers with the early markings. In the meantime, I own some of these dolls.
I try to add some information to my webpages when it comes to rare finds to show why I believe they are rarities and genuine. But I am not willing to and I don’t have time to add an academic essay stating everything that lead to my conclusion. I hope you trust my judgement. On the other hand, you can never convince everybody, so I do accept living with the fact that some people might not believe what they see or read on some of my pages.