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Ken (1961-67)


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Vintage Ken doll by Mattel Vintage Ken doll by Mattel Box for vintage Ken doll by Mattel
Photos courtesy of eBay seller luving_dolls.

Barbie's boyfriend, Ken, was introduced in 1961. He went through a couple of variations through 1967, when he was discontinued. A new version of Ken returned to Mattel's lineup in 1969. Ken had a buddy named Allan, as well as many outfits that could be purchased separately and fit both of them.

Body Construction
The vintage Ken doll is all-vinyl, tan toned with a hollow torso. The first Ken doll had flocked hair in blonde, brown or brunette. Because the flocked hair rubbed off easily, Ken got molded, painted hair in blonde or brunet starting in 1962. Ken is jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips. For the first couple of years, Ken dolls were 12" tall. In 1963, his torso was redesigned, making him 1/4 inch shorter. In 1964, they went back to the 12" version. A Ken doll with the same head mold, but with bendable legs, was sold from 1965-67, alongside the regular straight leg dolls. Some of the bend leg dolls had blushed cheeks.

All straight leg Ken dolls had the same Mattel stock number, 750, while the bend leg dolls had stock number 1020.

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Vintage Ken doll by Mattel Vintage Ken doll by Mattel Vintage Ken doll by Mattel Vintage Ken doll by Mattel

Markings
The earliest Ken dolls are marked "Ken (registered trademark symbol) // Pats. Pend. // (copyright symbol)MCMLX // by // Mattel // Inc." The shorter Kens from 1963 are marked "Ken (registered trademark symbol) // (copyright symbol) 1960 // by // Mattel, Inc. // Hawthorne // Calif., U.S.A." When they went back to the 12" version, he was marked "(copyright symbol) 1960 // by // Mattel, Inc. // Hawthorne // Calif., U.S.A." The bend leg dolls had this same marking.

Clothing
The straight leg Ken dolls were sold wearing a red and white striped jacket with white terrycloth lining the collar, red swim trunks, and cork sandals with red straps. There are variations in the jacket fabric and construction. Except for the earliest dolls, Ken was packaged with a yellow terrycloth towel and a black wire stand. The bend leg Ken wears a blue jacket with "K" monogram, red trunks and sandals.

Click on the thumbnail photo to see a larger version.
Vintage Ken doll by Mattel Vintage Ken doll by Mattel

Packaging
Vintage straight leg Ken dolls were packaged in a box illustrated with pictures of Ken in various outfits. The bend leg dolls were sold in a box featuring a full color photo of the doll.

Sources for this page include:

  1. "Collector's Encyclopedia of Barbie Dolls and Collectibles" by Sibyl DeWein & Joan Ashabraner

Copyright 2009-2013 by Zendelle Bouchard.