barbie collection split image

We reckon there’s nobody in the world who loves Barbie dolls quite as much as Bettina Dorfmann does.

The 62-year-old superfan, from Germany, has been collecting the iconic character for 30 years, and she’s amassed an impressive collection of 18,500 dolls.

Bettina has held the record for the largest collection of Barbie dolls since 2005.

Back then, she had 2,500 of them to her name, taking the record from Tony Mattia (UK), who had 1,125.

Since then, her collection has grown and grown.

She had 15,000 in 2011, and today, she's amassased 18,500 of them.

As Greta Gerwig’s Barbie film, starring Margot Robbie in the titular role and Ryan Gosling as Ken, hits cinemas, we’re taking a look inside Bettina’s awe-inspiring collection and her love for the doll.

Barbie was first launched by American toy company Mattel, Inc. in 1959, and quickly became a worldwide phenomenon.

barbie collection bettina dorfmann has 15000 barbies new

Children everywhere were desperate to get their hands on all the different versions of the doll and her boyfriend Ken.

Over the years, Barbies have been made in many varieties. She’s been created in the image of many different races and has had just about every career you could imagine.

Bettina began her collection seriously in 1993, but she received her very first doll in 1966 when she was just five years old.

She said: “I love Barbie dolls because I played with them in my childhood, and it was a very good time for me.”

barbie collection blue themed barbies

She has many rare dolls in her collection, the rarest of which is one of the original 1959 Barbies.

Bettina has made a living off exhibiting her dolls and writing books about Barbie, but also has a special ‘doll hospital’ where she repairs dolls for others.

The “Barbie doctor” continues to add to her collection and says she’s already ordered the dolls released for the new movie.

She told i: “Barbie is a mirror for our times. Through her, we can see how the world has changed – including women’s careers from the 50s to today.”

barbie collection bettina dorfmann poses with barbies new

She added of her repair business: “In the 90s I started repairing my own dolls and buying replacement parts for them, such as arms and legs. I did it for myself because I like crafting and repairing.

“Collectors at toy trade fairs began asking if I could help restore their dolls’ hair and make-up, or replace missing eyelashes. When they asked what it cost, I asked for things I needed such as dolls’ shoes. From there it just grew and grew.”

Bettina’s love for Barbie was passed down to her own daughter, who also enjoyed playing with them when she was young.

It was while attending toy fairs and coming across dolls that were starting to look a little worse for wear that she decided to become a “Barbie doctor”.

barbie collection bettina dorfmann with some of her barbies

She’ll charge anything between €5 (£4.30; $5.60) for quick repairs that can be done on the spot and €300 (£256; $336.01) for more complex repairs that require lots of time and multiple parts.

But she said she’ll often suggest to potential customers that they might be better off just buying a new doll if it’s still commercially available.

Barbie fashion dolls currently being sold on the Mattel website range in price from £7.49 ($9.67) to £209.99 ($271.14).

However, rare dolls that are no longer on sale can fetch much higher sums at auctions, with collectors desperate to get their hands on unique pieces.

barbie collection bettina shows off her collection

The most expensive Barbie doll sold at auction was a custom-designed doll that was bought in New York for $302,500 (then approx. £192,000) in 2010.

The 11.5 in-tall doll was wearing a strapless black evening dress and a one-carat pink diamond necklace surrounded by three carats of white diamonds.

The proceeds from the auction were donated to fund breast cancer research.

barbie collection some of bettinas barbies on display

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