By going through and comparing the appearance of clothing tags, I discovered that something interesting happened in 1986 and early 1987.
The original theory about the numbers used in the clothing tag codes was that the first digit of the codes from 500 onward indicated which year the outfit came out. Jump to: What’s With the Numbers?
E.g. 501 came out in 1985
630 came out in 1986
720 came out in 1987
A Question . . .
This works most of the time, but some things did not fit the pattern. For example, half of the Talker outfits are 690s, and the rest are 700-710. If the original theory held, they should all be in the 700s as Talking Kids came out in 1987. Another example is the 670s – 680s BBB series. BBB kids came out in 1986; why would they put out a second set of clothing almost immediately? As it turns out, they didn’t!
In 1986, Coleco seems to stop rigidly adhering to the original rule that they had in 1985. They still used it, but not all the time. I do not know why, but the change corresponds to some kind of upheaval in the Coleco Company itself.
Possible Answer . . .
At some point in 1985 or 1986 they started producing tags which printed the location of the Coleco Company in the US. The first tags said West Hartford, CT. Then sometime in 1986, the address changed to Amsterdam, NY. By sometime in 1987, they stopped using the CT tags entirely.
If your tag says CT, the outfit is most likely older than one which says Amsterdam, NY. They were likely made in the same place, but the tags were changed. It’s interesting to note that it was around this time that the company’s major financial problems started to become public. It is also interesting to note that some 500s Series outfits have West Hartford, CT tags so they must have been produced into 1986 although, they started production in 1985.
Then in 1989, the company address on clothing tags changed again, from Amsterdam, NY, to Gloversville, NY.
Coleco had owned buildings in both locations for decades. (Coleco – The Official Book.pdf, p. 33) I theorize that as company assets were closed to save money, the main offices and official registered location of the company was moved from place to place.
1986 and Onward
1986+ clothing codes are all over the place. There were some 1987, and 1988 series that follow the original theory (E.g. Splashing kids, Toddlers). However, it was no longer used consistently. More and more outfits show up with ‘odd’ codes.
In some cases, they put 1987 outfits in the 600s (Example A), in some cases they chose a different hundred for the series (e.g. 400s) (Example B), in other cases, they created an entirely new matrix (Example C), and for still others, they didn’t use a code at all ( Example D)!
- A – 1987 in the 600s: BBB outfits 670s – 680s
- B – Another number: 160s – 1st Cornsilk series
- C – New matrix: World Traveler outfits and their matrix
- D – No code: All-Stars baseball kids
Where are the 1989 outfits? There are no 900s outfits, so how were they coded? I had a theory, but I had no evidence for it. Now I do. To find out, continue to Part 2: The Code Addition