Barbie collectors from around the globe gather in Jacksonville

This year's theme focuses on pop art

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of collectors are in Jacksonville for one of America’s favorite dolls – Barbie.

The 800 collectors arrived from all over the country and around the world to attend a collector’s event for the classic doll Saturday at the downtown Hyatt Regency.

This year’s theme for the convention is "Pop Art Happening" focusing on Andy Warhol.

Everyone at the event is a collector. They collect vintage Barbies, new Barbies and one-of-a-kinds. Some people collect a dozen Barbies. Some collect 2,000 to 3,000, while others have more than can be counted.

Maria Sox, from Miami, is a member of one of the many Barbie clubs. Sox got her first Barbie in 1963.

“I thought my first Barbie was the best thing in the world,” Sox said. 

Lisa franco, of Boston, has been collecting for 23 years.

“People back at home, when they find out that I have Barbie homes, ask if they can come by,” Franco said.

The event isn’t just about collecting. The makers of Barbie, Mattel, supports the event by donating Barbie dolls for auction. The money will go to local charity, the cathedral project, which benefits the Special Olympics. So far, they have raised $42,000.

The event is open to the public, and the first Barbie ever made will be on display. It’s worth $15,000.

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