DES MOINES, Iowa — For some people, Barbie is just a plastic doll, but for Sue Wyatt, Barbie is a collector’s item, and after buying her first doll back in the 80s, she was hooked.
“I went back the next day and they were all gone, and when I saw that I said this is something that’s going to be big,” said Wyatt.
But little did she know just how big her own collection would one day be.
“I was shocked, we had 475 that were in mint condition and never opened. It was taking over our house, our closets were full and we had 47 tubs already,” said Wyatt.
“They just kept coming, and I was like there’s another tub, and we opened a door to a closet and there’s another tub, and the closet we hadn’t opened in ten years, that’s because it was full of tubs so there’s more barbies,” said Lisa Nordin, Wyatt’s daughter.
Now, Sue and her family are donating their combined collection to the Ronald McDonald House in Des Moines. A house that became a temporary home to Sue after her twin daughters were born prematurely and placed in the NICU.
“I had to have emergency surgery obviously, and it was a vertical C-section because they had to get them out quick. The first baby was labeled A and she was breached actually. Then the umbilical sack then collapsed around the second baby, baby B, and that collapsed her lung,” said Wyatt.
Staying at the house saved Sue the daily commute from Grinnell to Des Moines, and gave her more time with her daughters.
“It was nice because then in the morning we would get up, would walk over to Blank Hospital to see the girls every day,” said Wyatt.
Now, she’s giving back, hoping her donation of Barbies can be auctioned off to raise funds for the house.
“When the rumors of the movie came out, I was watching trailers and stuff on TV, and God just said it’s not, it’s time and this is what you need to do,” said Wyatt.
“I had no idea what 475 Barbies looked like to tell you the truth. So, we were a little overwhelmed at first but it’s been a fun process,” said Brenda Miller, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities in Central Iowa.
And that’s just the dolls.
“There are ornaments, there’s games, bathrobes for people, there’s blankets,” said Miller.
All of which are now part of the online auction benefitting the house.
“The only thing we love more than Barbie is babies, and I’m so glad that this is going to go, and not only is it going to benefit the Ronald McDonald House, but it’s going to bring so much joy for people everywhere,” said Nordin.
And some people, extra happy, as many of the Barbie’s up for auction are highly sought-after collector’s items and key Barbies from the movie.
“This is the dress that Margot Robbie found to wear to the opening of the Barbie movie. And this Barbie, this Happy Holiday, absolutely beautiful. So this has a high value of around $1,200 because if you notice the robe drapes down around her body and on the back, it’s just kind of fanned up around the back of her head. So because of the misprint, that is what has made this Barbie a collector’s item,” said Miller.
Aside from misprints, there are also full collections like the Wizard of Oz, My Fair Lady, and of course the iconic Holiday Barbies.
“I mean, who knew there was a Barbie for President, right?” said Miller.
Bringing a whole new term to a “Barbie World.”
“I mean she can do anything, and that’s the real draw to a Barbie is that she can do anything,” said Wyatt.
The Ronald McDonald House releases new Barbies in the auction every Thursday. To learn more, visit their website here.