Monday, December 3, 2018

The Toys of Christmas Past: The Barbie Regal Bed

  Today we're starting a series called 'The Toys of Christmas Past',which focuses on old Christmas photos and the toys in them. We're going to begin with one of my old Christmas photos,and a toy  I still have.
  Sometimes you have an item hanging around for years. Like, your whole life. (Well, practically.) You played with it as a kid. It got piled in all your toys, and boxed up for years. It sat in your Mom's attic. You did actually rescue it from your Mom's attic and take it to your house. It even moved with you. Then you stuck it in your attic, because you had one now. Fortunately, you had it in a box, because stuff got piled on it. Then one day you find out that it's rare. Like extremely rare. Like, the rarest item of Barbie accessory stuff. EVER. Maybe even the rarest Barbie item ever. Meet the Suzy Goose Barbie Regal Bed.

Modeled for us here by the lovely Barbita,my childhood Swirl Barbie,and yes, she's wearing a wig. (Note to childhood self: Do not use glue to repair your Swirl's hairdo.) Barbita is wearing the only 'store-bought' Barbie outfit I owned as a child,Dancing Stripes. Unfortunately,I lost the shoes.
  Apparently this thing is so rare that most people have never seen one. I read that, for years, nobody could even find a picture of one. Most Barbie reference books that were published a few years ago didn't even mention it. Joe Blitman, well known Barbie expert, told me he's only ever seen two in his whole career of Barbie collecting and dealing. That's not counting mine. He has one for sale on his site, which you can see HERE. Here's what his site has to say about the Regal Bed,"This is not only the rarest Suzy Goose item ever produced, it is very likely the rarest vintage Barbie item period. In 25 years of collecting, we've only heard of one other in existence." (That was not counting mine.) I remember reading in Barbie Bazaar magazine when Joe bought the bed at an auction. The price he paid was so high even he was embarrassed by it, and the magazine didn't tell what it was. The one on his site is listed at $1,995. If that's too rich for your blood, there was one on Ruby Lane a few years ago. They only wanted $699 for theirs.

   Barbie's Regal Bed was manufactured by Suzy Goose, like the other early Barbie furniture, but it was apparently not produced in such a large quantity as the wardrobe,Barbie's other Suzy Goose bed, or the vanity. 

The Barbie and Midge Regal Bed! Notice the Suzy Goose logo with Mother Goose and the slogan,"Toys that mold character".

Even the fairly rare Barbie Suzy Goose piano is way easier to find than the Regal Bed.  
The Suzy Goose Barbie piano in box. I borrowed this picture of a boxed set to show you and will remove it if asked. There is an old Wilton cake set that uses the exact same piano parts. (Except for the body of the piano, which is supposed to be the cake part.)

The Regal Bed may have been a Sears exclusive, as a Sears picture ad for the bed exists. This is according to barbielistholland, A warning before you click that link! Her page is all one super long page,and it will do weird things to your computer. I almost always get locked up when I click on that page. Ken says it's because instead of making separate pages for the site the person put it all on one 'page' and it takes forever to finish loading...or something like that.

"I got my bed back!"

The slogan for the bed was something like, "A bed fit for a Queen".

 I got mine for Christmas when I was a kid. 
Christmas 1965.What a mess.My sister on the left, and me, opening my doctor kit, on the right. The Regal Bed is in the middle, right behind the jeep. Looking at this, I can't believe that Mom obviously curled our hair on Christmas eve and I, even more, can't believe she took our curlers out before letting us open our presents! Note the cardboard fireplace on the left. My mom wanted a fireplace so badly that one year she left the cardboard one up all year! That's Ideal's Tearie Dearie, forsaking her own combination bath tub and cradle, (That's the pink thing on legs in the left foreground.),and stretched out enjoying the Regal Bed. Note the blue 'mattress' in Tearie Dearie's cradle. You'll hear more about that in a minute.

Quite a haul there. 
My sister and me, on Mom's lap,Christmas,1965. That's Tearie Dearie's cradle I'm holding. In the cradle are Tearie Dearie and a white haired doll I also got that year.

Besides Tearie Dearie I also got some clothes for her, a generic white haired doll and her clothes...

Me, on the left, holding the white haired doll. My sister got a matching red doctor kit to my white one, and this must be the year Mom got the guitar 'for' my sister. Mom longed to play the guitar and actually taught herself to play "Uncloudy Day" on it.Years later she finally gave in and bought herself a real guitar and took lessons.
... a real metal wash tub and a metal and wooden wash board,(How old am I?!), ironing board,real wooden clothes pins,and metal umbrella style washing line, which my sister wasted no time taking apart to steal the metal discs that held the line up, to make finger cymbals out of.  
I also seem to have just received my wonderful Remco Tiger Cat Jeep that could crawl over anything.It was battery operated and eventually stopped working, and we all know what that means, right boys and girls? It means Mom threw it out. All I have left is the radiator that says 'Remco'. Note the long thin box in the foreground that could have been what the bed came in if it came unassembled.

   I always thought we moved into the house in the picture when I was 4, but the picture says 1965.That's the year the Regal Bed was available, which would mean I was only almost 4 that Christmas.The Remco Tiger Cat was made in 1965, according to what I have been able to find out, so it sounds like it really was 1965. The fact that I was three when I received the bed makes it that much more amazing that it never got broken!
The Regal Bed originally had a matching red taffeta pillow with white fringe.Mine is missing the pillow now and the fringe from one side of the bedspread.

Barbita can commiserate about the missing fringe...
The Regal Bed on Joe Blitman's site has the footboard turned the other way around, with the double circles on the bottom. He says the only other one he has seen was the same way. Mine, the bed on Ruby Lane, the bed shown on Barbielistholland,and one which sold online a while back, have the double circles on the top, which makes more sense. With the double circles on the bottom they don't both sit on the floor. 

 Check out the pictures on Joe's site. Plus, the head has the double circles on top, and the pattern in the gold foil is facing the opposite way from the headboard's if the double circles are on the bottom.(Everybody got that?)

  This ad picture of the bed shows the bed came put together, with the double circles on top. (Also, do I REALLY think we would have sat down and put the bed together with more presents to open?)

Ohh! It really is The Barbie or Midge Regal Bed! "With all of the Exquisite and Beautiful Detail of our Successful Experience--Regalistic Styling--Gold Photo inset in head and foot--Rich Red Taffeta Spread and Pillow--Hand Brushed Gold Highlights---Simply Irresistible" . Notice the double circles are on the top.

 So I think mine is put together the right way. Maybe someone took theirs apart. 

The bed was assembled by popping the pegs into the holes.Once in they probably can't be pulled back out very easily.

Or maybe some of them were screwed up at the factory. Maybe some of them came unassembled. Who knows?  If you look at the Christmas photos,the floor is littered with shipping boxes,(Mom did a lot of catalog shopping.),including a long thin one that could have contained the bed.(See above caption on one of the Christmas photos.)
   As it says on the ad, the bed has, "
Gold Photo inset in head and foot--Rich Red Taffeta Spread and Pillow--Hand Brushed Gold Highlights".


 We always used the blue piece of textured cardboard from the bottom of Tearie Dearie's bed as the mattress. But I have since returned it there. I happened across a cardboard piece printed with the word "mattress' in my childhood doll stuff, so THAT may have been the mattress. 

But, it might have gone to some Barbie sized twin/bunk beds my sister had. (They were the subject of a post once, asking if anybody could identify the bed coverings, as I want to replace the beds that disappeared in the mists of time.) The  word 'mattress' is barely readable on the cardboard now. It didn't even show up in the photo I took.

Believe it or not,it says mattress right there under the two circles punched in the cardboard.
The cardboard has notches cut out of each corner.They line up at the bottom of the bed, but there's nothing for them to line up with at the top. So....?

The foot of the bed.

And the head of the bed.

Under the cardboard mattress the bed has crisscrossed plastic.

The bed is in pretty good shape. It has one little hairline crack.  I couldn't even find it this time. Actually, I'm amazed the tall headboard didn't get broken.  

There was also a good chance of it melting in the heat of either attic it was stored in. Luckily it survived unmelted. 

I don't remember asking for it. Maybe I did. Maybe I didn't. Truth be told, I may have liked my sister's bunk bed set better.  I know we never really used the cardboard bed from Barbie's New Dreamhouse. We always used the Regal Bed or my sister's bunk beds.

  I'm flabbergasted that I own something as rare as the Regal bed, and also flabbergasted that it's in still pretty good shape,and even MORE flabbergasted that Mom didn't throw it away. That was her thing, after all. 

  If you're curious about Barbita's history you can read a post about her, and my other childhood Barbie and friends dolls HERE 

    Next time we'll look at another old Christmas photo and talk about the toys therein.


  1. Wow. What a great story! It must be incredible to own something that rare.

    I had a toy ironing board too, with a little metal iron. I'm old enough that I remember my mother sprinkling clothes before she ironed them. Amazing what comes back.

    1. Not so much incredible as weird! That's the part I forgot:the iron.It didn't really heat up,but it was made of metal. My cousin gave me her little electric toy iron when she outgrew it. My kids used it,(under supervision!). My son liked to iron his blankie and then wrap up in it! My mom sprinkled the dried clothes and then rolled them up and stuck them in the fridge to await ironing.Her sprinkler was a pop bottle with a sprinkler head on a cork in it. A couple of years ago I found one of those sprinkler heads still in the package at a yard sale. I got it in case I need it sometime! Did your mom cook starch for ironing on the stove?

  2. Wow, wow, wow, this is amazing! I am so happy that you have this rare collector's item. That is fabulous.
    My Barbie days were a few years before yours. I had the third generation (I think) Barbie doll. She has pearl earrings. I don't think Barbie had anything. Certainly there was no Ken. There was no Skipper. She didn't have a car or a house, if I remember correctly. Luckily I still have her.
    I can't wait to read more.

    1. My sister had several other dolls,but I just had Barbie and Ken. She also had the New Dreamhouse. Skipper was one of those dolls 'other kids' had. A few years ago I decided I wanted 'one'. You know how that goes!

  3. Wow, how crazy is it that you own something so rare! And that you have pictures of you getting it for Christmas?! So cool! I love it.

    1. VERY crazy! The other weird thing is that that is one of only two Christmases we have pictures from of us opening our presents.

  4. Love your story. Congratulations on having a so rare item.

    1. Now I know I live in fear something will happen to it! When it was worthless it never got broken,but now I'm sure it will!

  5. That is an amazing story, such a rare item and yes, amazing that it's in such great condition especially with that tall headboard. I really like that you have the history behind it too, with photos....that's got to make it even more special and rare.
    I love the Christmas photos too, I don't recall seeing Christmas Day photos from my childhood, but will have to ask my mum. I love anything like that, it brings back such great memories, and that smell of new vinyl, it always brings back childhood Christmas memories for me :)

    1. Yes! Smells bring back so many memories. Sometimes I'll just catch a whiff of something that disappears so quickly that it's gone before I remember what it reminded me of,but the memory will be so strong.I can still remember what our GI Joe dolls smelt like when my sister and I first got them, or my newborn Thumbelina.


Thanks in advance for your comments.