Unlike most of my fellow collectors, I didn't play with dolls until I was a grown-up.  For me, the nostalgic factor comes from collecting licensed products.  I may not have had a Ken® doll as a kid, but I had a View-Master and a Magic Slate and I played with board games and puzzles - those are things I think anyone can relate to.  Finding and collecting Barbie® & Ken® licensed products is hands down my favorite way to collect, it makes me feel like a kid again.

Licensed Products are a big category to say the least, but one of the things that I'm drawn to most are the graphics.  There are some great ones out there and many of the companies commissioned their own in-house art which really makes it interesting.  I think most of us are familiar with SPP aka Standard Plastic Products who made things like cases and wallets and diaries, these are some of the most familiar graphics out there and with good reason.  They're well done and really capture the spirit of the early vintage years. 

There are variations of the Campus Hero graphic that you see in the accompanying photo that appear on the more common vinyl cases and trunks, but I thought it would be fun to see them on two pieces which most consider "hard to find".  On the left is the zippered version of the three-ring binder.  Inside are spaces to write your schedule, important numbers, and of course a place to list all your friends!  It was available in blue, black, and white.  The non-zippered version came in blue, black, white, a lovely dark blue, and a gorgeous red.  To the right of the binder, you see what appears to be a standard case except this is a very unusual olive green color which is found on only one other case.  This version of the graphic is also unique to this particular case. 

ABOVE:  Zippered Binder $150-$225, Olive Green Case $40-$65

What else do these two items have in common?  They're both Canadian!  The Great White North has a reputation with licensed product collectors for producing some of the most unusual and, frankly, odd stuff out there.  Seeking out all those different versions -both foreign and domestic- is a big part of the draw for many of us.  If you're a variation hunter, then licensed products is the place to be!

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