Thursday, July 24, 2014

New from the Neck Up!

So as usual I was over on E-bay searching for vintage Barbie, I was looking for her head to be specific. I already have more than I need, but I'm always in the mood to hunt for my next purchase. And you can get some pretty nice deals if you happen to be looking at just the right time. If I did manage to find something for a bargain I'd quickly snatch it up. I didn't find any vintage Barbie this time, but I did stumble something I was interested in. (Shocker)

It was listed as a friend of Barbie, but I'm pretty sure that's technically not true. What I found was a Sweet Sixteen head. You may remember me talking about this doll years ago when I got one.

I don't feel like dragging up that post, so I'll give you a brief history from what I've learned about this doll. There is very little information out there for her, and what I know has been gleaned from several random sources so it could end up being dis-proven. So please don't take what I'm about to say as gospel.

The Sweet Sixteen line was released by Mattel in the mid-70's. The doll was just named Sweet Sixteen from what I can tell had no real back story. From the ones I've seen she was made in Korea. She has the older style straight leg Barbie/Midge body, but made in a pinker, cheaper, shinier plastic (sometimes these dolls are found with classic Francie arms). While her body was a familiar mold, her head wasn't. Sweet Sixteen has an over-sized anime inspired head. I have heard people claim it's the same head as German Francie, Tuli-Chan (a Japanese doll), and Living Eli (also a Japanese doll). I don't own any of these dolls, but to me she looks closest to Tuli-Chan. German Francie's looks to have much smaller eyes that Sweet Sixteen and while she has a lot of similar features to Living Eli, Eli has a pivotal neck and Sweet Sixteen has a neck designed for the vintage neck knob. Mattel could have modified Eli's neck (or vice versa) but they're not the exact same molds.
Anyway, Sweet Sixteens all look the same. I'm pretty sure she only got one issue. She has brown eyes, pink lips, and shoulder length blonde almost white hair with a side part. She was sold on a blister pack wearing a pinky-red one piece swimsuit. I believe the only things other than the dolls themselves made for this line were a small series of outfits. They were also sold on a blister pack and were pretty generic 70's era outfits. They all look extremely similar to the Best Buy fashions Barbie was getting at that time. They were different, but looked to be a continuation of that line. I'm not sure if they even made shoes for this doll (I could be wrong, I know less about her clothes than the doll).
Sweet Sixteen didn't made much of a splash on the doll world. In fact, she barely remembered. She is very overshadowed by Barbie. Around the time she came out Mattel released Sweet Sixteen Barbie to celebrate Barbie turning 16 (the Barbie line itself, not the doll she's supposed to be 18). So if you're looking for Sweet Sixteen, you're going to be inundated by people selling Barbie. Even MIB Sweet Sixteen clothing will be credited to Barbie even though Barbie's name is nowhere on the box. Barbie and Sweet Sixteen were never linked together by Mattel. In fact, while they used Barbie body molds for her, they removed her name from the markings on Sweet Sixteen. Her body will just be marked Mattel and Korea. As far as I know they were supposed to be officially two completely separate lines.
I didn't even know about her until several years ago I stumbled upon her over on Flickr and fell in love. A somewhat short time later bought my own on E-bay. (She doesn't turn up all that often). Even though she's not that common, she doesn't sell for very much. I got one nude with cut hair for under 20 dollars. I re-rooted her in brown hair (which I hope to never have to do again, she has SO many head holes) and she's still waiting to get dressed. I was having a hard time dressing her with her cutesy face and mature body so eventually she "downgraded" to a Francie body. I still haven't dressed her yet, but I like her a lot better now. Although just a word of warning, even though she's a 70's era doll her head can go yellow or pale. Mine original one has yellowed *sigh*.
Anyway, over on E-bay I found a head. She had three pale spots on her forehead, but looked to be in nice shape. I guess I don't really need another one but I still wanted her. She was an auction and had several days to go. At that point she had no bidders. I put her in my watch list and let the clock count down. I figured that if nobody bid on her I would closer to the end of her auction. I ended up being the only bidder, so I got her for eight dollars with free shipping.
I didn't get tracking information, so her arrival today was a nice surprise. Another nice surprise is her condition. She looks to be a really great shape. She does have the paling which I knew about. I tried coloring it in with a marker I was recommended, but it doesn't work for me. It ends up turning everything orange. I'm not sure if I got a bad marker or if my expectations were too high. All I know is that the spots are still highly noticeable and the area around them now has an orange tint. What a waste of 5 dollars. But, I digress. Sweet Sixteen other than the paling is in very nice shape. I did notice that she has several pin dents on the right side of her face, between her cheek and ear. I'm not sure if this is damage or factory quality control issues. It's only located in that one spot and they're not actually pin pricks, just slight indents. I didn't notice them until I was examining her, so they're not that glaring. Her hair is that terrible 70's fiber that frays like crazy, her's however isn't that bad. It does have some fraying at the ends, but it's not as extreme as it could be. I did do several hair treatments to her. They didn't do much, but hopefully they will help keep her hair from getting worse. The first one I got had a haircut, so it was an easy decision to re-root, but it's nice to have one that I can keep original. However, if her hair gets too bad, I can always re-root it. It's just going to have to get really bad to motivate me to do that!
Like I already said she came just as a head. I did have a free Sweet Sixteen body for a little bit since
my original one changed to a straight leg Francie body, but another doll claimed that back in December. Which is fine, I don't like them on their original bodies. For the time being I put her on a trashed bend leg Francie body I had in my spares box. Ironically this is the same body that my original Sweet Sixteen used before getting the nicer conditioned straight leg body for her. I'll have to hunt down a better condition Francie body for this new head, she looks so much better with that more petite body.
So with that Dear Readers, is my newest doll. A charming little cutie, who hopefully will be easier to dress than her older sister!


  1. Hello Aubrey,
    It's a shame the marker did not work! Did you ever try using dry pastels? You can go over the pastel with a brush and apply it to the doll like putting on makeup. I never tried it, just an idea.
    Big hug,

  2. Hi. Thank You for your post about the doll. Yesterday I was lucky to get my Sweet 16 Barbie at one thrift store, and I fell in love with her. I have never seen the doll before. She had her original body marked Mattel Inc. 1958 Korea. Her hair was cut to cheek length. She is dressed in white dress with white snap and barbie shoes sneakers.