As the U.K. mourns Queen Elizabeth II — who died on Sept. 8 after 70 years on the throne — memorabilia bearing her likeness is skyrocketing in price. The value of the Queen Elizabeth II Barbie doll, for example, is now six times what it was before she passed away — if online resales are any indication.
Mattel released the Barbie just four months ago, on April 21 — Queen Elizabeth’s 96th birthday. “Barbie celebrates the longest ruling monarch in British history, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose extraordinary reign has seen her lead with an immeasurable devotion to duty and a life of service,” the toy company said in the Barbie doll’s product description. “Reaching 70 years of service, Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee.”
The Queen Elizabeth II Barbie doll was reselling for $300 when it came out.
According to ABC News, Mattel modeled the doll’s outfit on the one Queen Elizabeth wore on her wedding day.
“Inspired by one of the queen’s most iconic looks, this collectible Barbie doll is dressed in an elegant ivory gown and blue riband adorned with decorations of order,” Mattel’s description adds. “A stunning crown and matching accessories complete her regal ensemble. Featuring premium packaging that’s ideal for display, the Queen Elizabeth II Barbie doll makes a great gift for collectors.”
As Slate reported in April, the Queen Elizabeth II Barbie doll — originally priced at $75 — sold out just hours after its release. And resellers capitalized on the craze, listing the dolls on eBay with prices starting at $300, Slate adds. (As of the time of this writing, the doll still appears to be sold out on the Mattel website.)
Following the monarch’s death, a Queen Elizabeth II Barbie doll sold on eBay for $1,800.
In an auction that ended on Sept. 13 — five days after Queen Elizabeth’s death — a Queen Elizabeth II Barbie doll sold on eBay for $900 after 35 bids.
Two days earlier, another copy of the doll sold for $1,800 after just one bid.
Now another user is selling one of the Barbie dolls for the queenly sum of $31,200, having already sold another for $399, a relative pittance.
The Queen Elizabeth Barbie doll got mixed reviews on QVC’s online forum when it came out, as Slate noted. “Shucks, I was hoping she’d be old, wrinkly, with a matronly figure,” one person wrote. “The only concession is her white hair. Otherwise, no resemblance. Queen Elizabeth doesn’t have a swan neck or [an] hourglass figure.”
Another commenter, however, approved of the doll. “I find the resolute set of the lips of ‘Barbie/Elizabeth’ to be rather eerily accurate,” that commenter observed. “I’ve seen that expression over the years, on the current monarch.”
Other Queen Elizabeth memorabilia is selling at a premium.
MoneyWise reported last week that sellers offering commemorative items about Queen Elizabeth’s reign have been taking advantage of the interest around the late royal. A tea set commemorating Queen Elizabeth’s coronation sold for $511 on eBay, for instance, while a scrapbook about her royal visit to Canada in 1951 is listed for $375.
Laren MacPherson, the owner of Middletown Antiques in Middletown, Calif., told MoneyWise that collectors should be cautious amid the craze. “There are always vultures in any field,” MacPherson said, “and somebody probably who did not know antiques very well — they’re opportunists, let’s just say that — and they thought, ‘Oh, she just died, so this plate is probably going to be worth a lot of money.’”