Vintage Comparisons

IDENTIFYING VINTAGE SLACKS

Online sellers will often claim to have slacks which fit several outfits. However, the slacks, although similar, varied for each outfit. The guide below should help. One other way to tell whether you have the correct ones, is to check the cut and fabric. For example, in 1966, the same type of fabric was used to make the Jazz Concert, Seein’ The Sights & Best Man slacks, and they all have a similar, loose cut. The slacks from 1965 also share a similar cut and type of fabric.

For more information and many more detailed photographs showing close-ups of the vintage slacks see THE VINTAGE KEN® BOOK.

No black slacks are labelled.

1961-66 Ken black slacks
From left to right: Tuxedo 1961-63, Country Clubbin’, Tuxedo 1964-65, Best Man

Many sellers get ‘confused’ when selling Jazz Concert or College Student – even professional sellers regularly list the cheaper Fashion Pak or Casuals slacks, as belonging to these rarer outfits. Of the brown trousers only the Fashion Pak Slacks are labelled. The College Student slacks are not shown here – they are dark brown with front and back ‘pocket’ stitching (see 1965 The Outfits).

From left to right: 1961 Casuals, 1962-3 Casuals Army & Air Force, 1964 Casuals reissue, Jazz Concert, Fashion Pak, Fraternity Meeting
From left to right: Casuals (1961), Casuals (1962-3), Army & Air Force, Casuals (1964 reissue), Jazz Concert, Fashion Pak, Fraternity Meeting

Of the white trousers, only the slacks from Campus Hero are labelled.

1961-4 vintage Ken white slacks
From left to right: Campus Hero (1961), Campus Hero (1962-4), Dr. Ken, Sailor, Victory Dance, Roller Skate Date, Campus Hero (Japanese version)

No blue slacks are labelled.

From left to right: Special Date, American Airlines Captain, Rovin' Reporter, Seein' the Sights
From left to right: Special Date, American Airlines Captain, Rovin’ Reporter, Seein’ the Sights

Only the grey Fashion Pak Slacks are labelled.

From left to right: Saturday Date (1961), Saturday Date (1962-3), Fashion Pak, Going Bowling
From left to right: Saturday Date (1961), Saturday Date (1962-3), Fashion Pak, Going Bowling

‘POCKET’ DETAIL STITCHING

The trousers and shorts from 1961 have front ‘pocket’ stitching as shown below left. All versions from 1962 on have a revised ‘pocket’ design, which extends into the stitching around the waist, as shown below right. The only exceptions are some outfits with jackets – such as Saturday Date, Rovin’ Reporter and Tuxedo – which have slacks with no ‘pocket’ stitching at all.

1961 #783 Sport Shorts
Shorts from #783 Sport Shorts (original 1961 version)
1961 #783 Sport Shorts (1962-3 version)
Shorts from #783 Sport Shorts (1962-3 version)

IDENTIFYING VINTAGE WHITE SHORT-SLEEVE SHIRTS

Ken’s white short-sleeve shirt first appeared in 1964. There are two versions of the shirt, and both of them came with and without label.

1. KEN IN SWITZERLAND. This shirt is extremely well-made, like a real shirt, with panelling and finished cuffs. Later versions were not labelled.

1964 white short-sleeve shirt
1964 Ken In Switzerland shirt
1964 white short-sleeve shirt
1964 Ken In Switzerland shirt
1964 #0776 Ken In Switzerland in original packaging
1964 #0776 Ken In Switzerland in original packaging
1964 #0776 Ken In Switzerland in original packaging
1964 #0776 Ken In Switzerland in original packaging (Later version)

This version of the shirt is a nice little oddity, as the stitching on the Ken label is white. If it was from bleaching, then it certainly wasn’t done recently, as the shirt has seriously yellowed with age.

1964 #0776 Ken In Switzerland shirt with completely white Ken label
1964 #0776 Ken In Switzerland shirt with completely white Ken label

2. COLLEGE STUDENT / ROVIN’ REPORTER. This shirt is like the one from Ken in Switzerland, but without the label. Later versions of Ken In Switzerland came with this shirt too.

1965 College Student / Rovin' Reporter shirt
1965 College Student / Rovin’ Reporter shirt
1965 College Student / Rovin' Reporter shirt
1965 College Student / Rovin’ Reporter shirt
1965 #1416 College Student in original packaging
1965 #1416 College Student in original packaging
1965 #1417 Rovin' Reporter in original packaging
1965 #1417 Rovin’ Reporter in original packaging

3. KEN IN MEXICO / VICTORY DANCE. This shirt is more basic (no panelling, no cuffs), but still labelled. Later versions of this shirt came without label.

1964 white short-sleeve shirt
1964 Ken In Mexico / Victory Dance shirt
1964 white short-sleeve shirt
1964 Ken In Mexico / Victory Dance shirt
1964 #0778 Ken In Mexico in original packaging
1964 #0778 Ken In Mexico in original packaging
1964 #0778 Ken In Mexico in original packaging
1964 #0778 Ken In Mexico in original packaging (Later version)
1964 #1411 Victory Dance
1964 #1411 Victory Dance in original packaging

4. SEEIN’ THE SIGHTS. Basic shirt with no label. Later versions of Ken in Mexico also came with this shirt.

1965-6 white short-sleeve shirt
1966 Seein’ The Sights shirt
1965-6 white short-sleeve shirt
1966 Seein’ The Sights shirt
1966 #1421 Seein' The Sights in original packaging
1966 #1421 Seein’ The Sights in original packaging

VINTAGE KEN FACE PAINT AND HAIR

1) Teal iris with white dots to the left of pupil. No line around edge of iris. This style is found on 1961-63 flocked hair blonde and brunette Kens. The Kens from 1961-2 have quite thick eyebrows, the thickness and colour varying, especially in blondes. By 1962-3 their eyebrows have a more ‘plucked’ look. The hair colour and shape varies too. Some have an almost perfectly straight hairline, and on others the hairline curves at the temples.

1961 #750 Ken
1961 #750 Ken
1961 #750 Ken
1961 #750 Ken
1961 #750 Ken
1961 #750 Ken
1961 #750 Ken
1961 #750 Ken
1962 #750 Ken
1962 #750 Ken
1962 #750 Ken
1962 #750 Ken
1962-3 #750 Ken
1962-63 #750 Ken
1962-3 #750 Ken
1962-63 #750 Ken

2) Teal or turquoise iris with white crescents/dashes in the pupil. No line around edge of iris. Pale, light brown eyebrows, thicker ‘eyelashes’, and painted eyelids. This style was used for the 1961 ‘brownette’ Kens. There were several shades of brown used for the hair, and some have a painted scalp under the flocking.

1961 #750 'brownette' Ken
1961 #750 ‘brownette’ Ken
1961 #750 'brownette' Ken
1961 #750 ‘brownette’ Ken

3) Teal or turquoise iris with no line around edge. Dark eyebrows and thicker ‘eyelashes’. Found on 1963 first version Japan-made Kens.

1963 #750 Ken
1963 #750 Ken
1963 #750 Ken
1963 #750 Ken

4) Blue iris with no line around edge. Found on painted hair ‘shorty’ Kens from 1964. These can vary a lot, especially the hair colour and quality of paintwork. On some the plastic has turned a ghastly white.

1964 #0750 'shorty' Ken
1964 #0750 ‘shorty’ Ken
1964 #0750 'shorty' Ken
1964 #0750 ‘shorty’ Ken

5) Turquoise iris with black line painted around edge. Found on second version Japan-made Kens from 1963 and third version Japan-made Kens from 1963-64.

1963 #750 Ken
1963-64 #750 Ken
1963 #750 Ken
1963-64 #750 Ken

6) Blue iris with black line painted around edge. Brightness of blue varies. Found on Japan-made Kens from 1964-5. Some Kens, Allans and Rickys from 1965 have ‘tanned’ faces, which is presumably an effect of ageing.

1964 #750 Japan-made Ken
1964 #750 Japan-made Ken
1964 #750 Japan-made Ken
1964 #750 Japan-made Ken
1965 #0750 Ken
1965 #0750 Ken
1965 #0750 Ken
1965 #0750 Ken
1965 #1020 bendable leg Ken
1965 #1020 bendable leg Ken
1965 #1020 bendable leg Ken
1965 #1020 bendable leg Ken

7) Aqua or blue iris with black line painted around edge. Blushing cheeks and/or much lighter lips. Found on Kens from 1966-7.

1966 #0750 Ken
1966 #0750 Ken
1966 #0750 Ken
1966 #0750 Ken
1966 #1020 bendable leg Ken
1966 #1020 bendable leg Ken
1966 #1020 bendable leg Ken
1966 #1020 bendable leg Ken
1966-67 #1020 bendable leg Ken
1966-67 #1020 bendable leg Ken
1966-67 #1020 bendable leg Ken
1966-67 #1020 bendable leg Ken

THE TWO VINTAGE ARM/HAND MOLDS

In 1963 Mattel released a new look painted hair Ken, to replace the easily-damaged flocked hair version. As well as a new head, he also was given a totally new arm/hand design.

From Mattel Dolls 63 catalogue
From Mattel Dolls 63 catalogue

However, Mattel were smart enough to use all the unsold flocked hair Ken limbs before switching to the new version, so the earliest painted hair Kens all come with the original arms/hands and have the typical wide stance.

1962 #750 Ken
1962 #750 Ken
1963 #750 Ken
1963 #750 Ken
1963-4 #750 Ken
1963-4 #750 Ken

FIRST VERSION HAND

1961-63 #750 Ken hand
1961-63 #750 Ken hand
1961-63 #750 Ken hand
1961-63 #750 Ken hand

The revised design gives him a slightly chubbier, but nevertheless more elegant and natural-looking, hand shape. This design remained the same for all vintage Kens and Allans.

SECOND VERSION HAND

1963-67 #750 Ken hand
1963-67 #750 Ken hand
1963-67 #750 Ken hand
1963-67 #750 Ken hand