The Amazing Popularity of Vintage Blythe Dolls

by bizilady

Vintage and retro Blythe dolls have an amazing appeal to young and old, all over the globe. She will win your heart with those big beautiful eyes and fashions.

Who is Blythe?

Vintage Blythe was first introduced to the children's toy market in the early seventies as a novelty doll. The original one was designed by Allison Katzman and distributed by Hasbro Toy Company. She was very unusual and didn't sell very well so distributors pulled her from the shelves after a year. Poor Blythe was neither as pretty as Barbie or cuddly as a baby doll. She had the normal sized fashion doll body but her head was three times the average doll size. Variations of her hair came in blonde, brunette, black and red, with medium length hair.

Blythe comes on the scene

Who is Blythe?

Old Blythe was also a fashionista, and had fun, stylish clothes to match her many moods. The most fun aspect of Blythe was the eye color changes with the gentle pull of a cord on the back of her head. It was as if she had four different personalities with each pull. The eyes were not only a different color, purple, green, yellow and pink, but the direction also changed. She would look right, left, and forward.

Some adults and children were creeped out by this doll but I loved that aspect of her. I collected unusual character dolls so she was a part of my wacky and wonderful doll collection for many years. Blythe would sit in the china cabinet waiting and watching me. I would on occasion, take her out and gently pull on the cord to see her eyes change. She did amuse me so!

Original ad for 1972 Blythe

Blythe artwork

Strawberry Blythe Doll
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Blythe becomes a cult sensation

She becomes popular and very valuable

Somewhere in the early 2000's vintage Blythe began to be noticed by adult doll collectors. Gina Garen, a photographer and video producer from New York City, wrote one of the first comprehensive books on this little beauty and it took off. She began writing a monthly article in a Japanese version of “Vogue” with new locations featuring her. Soon Gina discovered that the Japanese collectors bought the dolls out every time they hit the shelves, whenever she visited Japan.

Gina was an extensive collection of vintage Blythe dolls and outfits herself. As a matter of fact, she can claim 100 dolls and 10,000 outfits; now that’s a collector!


Items on Blythe by Gina Garen
This is Blythe
Chronicle Books
Only $12.95

Vintage Blythe sells for big money

sold my doll

Vintage Blythe has developed a cult following few toys ever see. She has managed to resuscitate her career and interest in many countries. Buyers will pay big money for the original vintage ones. If you check Ebay today, you'll see that the original 1972 Blythes are still commanding $1200 and up to $2400! I was surprised to see this, even in this economy.

Not only are people buying dolls, but earrings, books, paper dolls, simplicity clothes patterns, pet spiders, and custom clothing are all in demand. Anyone who is a talented seamstress can earn well designing and sewing Blythe outfits. The sky’s  the limit with money and interests.

I gave way to the temptation of big money and sold my vintage Blythe doll in 2002 on Ebay to a Japanese buyer.Even though she had a body crack, the tremendous desire for her astounded me. The dolls were averaging $500- $800. when I decided to list my doll. I guess everyone has a price so my Blythe was sold for $1250!

Am I sorry that I sold her? Sometimes I miss her quiet, pink stare, sometimes it's her golden hair. Yes, I admit that I do miss her. Maybe I'll have to save up for another one or buy a reissued Blythe. Either way she is an expensive pasttime. have fun and let me know if you have one.


Check the Ebay ads below to see any that are currently for sale. The prices are still high.

New versions of Blythe

Collectors will now collect the newer retro versions of Blythe since she was reissued and redesigned slightly in 2002. She still comes in the 11.6 inch size but now a new, smaller, petite version is available The petite Blythe can be seen and bought on Amazon today. She seems to appeal to children.

 The usual hair colors of black, brunette, blonde and red, are giving way to more fantasy colors of blue, fuchsia, pink, green or whatever you can think of. The owners are making up their own variations to go with her stylish outfits. Just check out sites such as Ebay and private websites and you will see the enormous popularity has not waned.

The many faces of Blythe
The many faces of Blythe
Wiki Commons

Customized Blythe Outfits by Fans

Molly's custom Blythe fashion look
Molly's custom Blythe fashion look
Wiki Commons

Vintage 1970's Blythe Dolls

1972 Vintage KENNER BLYTHE Doll ~Changing Eye Color~ Dark Hai...

Time left: 5 days, 22 hours
Current bid: $599.95  Place bid

Blythe on the Collectors Show

vintage and new Blythe is a hit

Rosie Red Blythe Custom Look doll

Blythe -Rosie Red
Blythe -Rosie Red

Some links to read more about Blythe

How to be an Antiques and Collectibles Picker
Here's a story about becoming a good picker and how I sold my Blythe doll.

Gina Garens article on Blythe

Ebay Guide on Buying Blythe

Wikipedia entry on Blythe

Blythe and Neo Blythe Doll Shop in Tokyo
Visit this amazing shop devoted to Blythe in Tokyo

Did you have a Blythe Doll?

Updated: 12/27/2015, bizilady
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bizilady on 09/12/2011

Anything is collectible..Blythe posters are probably collected by the Japanese who adore her!

barbarab on 09/11/2011

I didnt have one but she is one of the things I have copied as far a drawing...not from the item itself but from all the pictures...there were ton of posters/pics etc i the 70's...wonder if they are collectible?

bizilady on 07/05/2011

yes, you're right. The only thing I would correct is that Tim Burton may be a little more Blythe, since she first appeared in 1972 ! LOL
thanks for reading!

Guest on 07/05/2011

There's something a little Tim Burtonesque about them. Very stylized.

bizilady on 06/14/2011

theherbivorehippie: she has been around a long time but didn't became crazy popular till 2002.
I know you will love collecting her!

theherbivorehippie on 06/14/2011

How have I never heard of Blythe? I want one! Wow....I've been looking for something new to collect...those eyes are just fabulous! Maybe I'll need to save my pennies and watch for a vintage one.

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