The Singapore Barbie Doll Collector

Name of Collector: Jian Yang, true-blue Singaporean.

Dolls, arranged neatly in a floor-to-ceiling glass case, occupy three walls of the living room. An additional nine cabinets and shelves proudly display many more. Most of the dolls are Barbie Dolls of every kind, for every generation, from popular movies and TV shows.

All of this in a townhouse, somewhere in Singapore, purpose-built to showcase the enormous doll collection, the largest in Asia.

Rare Grace Kelly, Barbra Streisand, and Elizabeth Taylor dolls rub shoulders or share centre-stage with dolls of Barack Obama, Elvis Presley, Jackie Onassis, Lady Diana, Maleficent (the evil sorceress from ‘Sleeping Beauty’), Marilyn Monroe, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Sean Connery (as James Bond), and characters from ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Star Trek.’

Count, as of 2019: 10,000-12,000 dolls, mostly Barbie Dolls but also thousands of other dolls, from more than 50 countries. This is second only to German Bettina Dorfmann’s record-breaking collection of over 15,000 Barbie Dolls.

Amount Spent: At least half a million Singapore dollars (S$500,000).

Collection Period: 36 years, since 1984 when the collector mistakenly opened a present, meant for his sister, which contained a Barbie Doll. But the obsession really took off about 27 years ago, in 1993. Big ventures often have small beginnings.

Recent Add-On Hobby: Crafting dresses for the dolls out of toilet paper.

Enough said. Now let pictures and video tell the story

For Trivial Pursuit players:

Barbie (full name Barbara Millicent Roberts, the name of the daughter of Mattel founders Elliot and Ruth Handler) was first launched by US toy giant Mattel at the American International Toy Fair in New York on 9 March 1959. Barbie’s signature colour is Pantone 219 C — a vivid pink.

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