Post 1985 Tag Codes and Locations

The continuing saga of the clothing tag codes . . . what happened in 1986? Why are West Hartford, Amsterdam and Gloversville so important?

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.

Clothing tag from outfit 9-167A, OK factory. Copyright date 1988 and located in 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)!

Another Question

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

A Match Made in . . . the Factory (Matching Pt. 1)

How do you know if an outfit originally came with the doll? Here’s the first step to finding out!

There is no way to know what outfit originally came on a doll. The choices were made randomly. However, you can match the production year of the doll to the production year of the outfits, and in some cases, the factory information.

1983 – 1985ish: A Match!

Coleco dolls produced from 1983 to 1984 (and some stuff in 1985) generally came with clothing made at the same factory. So, if the doll was OK factory, the outfit and shoes were also OK factory.


            KT Boy                      OK Girl

Dolls wearing 500s outfits which came out in 1985 also matched factories.

The 500 series outfits on dolls, sitting on stairs, to display the outfits.

However, I know of at least one collector who admits to taking kids out and switching clothes AT THE STORE, so even if you bought a kid from the store and it didn’t match, that doesn’t mean it didn’t originally come with the correct outfit!

Series Specific Pairs . . .

Some lines of kids had specific clothing created just for them. In many of these cases, the dolls and the outfits always match. There may be two factories producing them, but there is always a match.

Talking KidsOK 
Circus KidsP, KT 
World Travelers
WT White shirts
OK, PMI
CC, SS
Designer LineP 
1st Cornsilk Series (160s)OK, KT 
300s Cornsilk SeriesOK, KT, P
Baby outfits (BBB)SS, WS Exceptions: #1, #2
PJ Series (689-694)KT 
720s series Cornsilk and
regular kid outfits
KT
760s Cornsilk seriesP
Growing Hair KidsP, KT 
ToddlersOK 
KoosasOK, KT 

Continued in: Part 2: A Perfect Mismatch!

PTP: Packaged Outfits: Questions and (Some) Answers

Many outfits were sold packaged separately, some that came on the dolls and some that didn’t. When were they produced and what outfits were they?

Packaged Outfit: an outfit that was sold separately in its own box, without a doll.

Early Coleco Packaged Outfits

Coleco marketed four different packaged clothing lines.

Line 1

The first was produced in 1983 and was never sold on the kids. It was called the Casual Wear Line and included at least eight outfits.

Line 2

The second line was small, with only three outfits, and was produced in 1984. I call it the 1984 Knit Series. It was produced by the EX factory.

Line 3

The third came out in late 1983 I think, or early 1984. The contents are all 1983 series outfits. Although outfits from many factories were packaged, the CC factory only produced clothing for packaged outfits. If iti’s a CC outfit, it didn’t come on a doll.

Line 4

The fourth ‘line’ consists of the specialty outfits that were produced in 1985 and later. Some of these outfits were intended only for sale as packaged outfits but were sold on dolls eventually. Eg. Sports Collection. Others were only packaged when Coleco found itself with an overabundance of outfits. Eg. Twin outfits, World Traveller Outfits. Although these outfits were not officially promoted as a ‘line’, they all came out around the same time.

Transitional Coleco Outfits

In 1989/90 Coleco started producing a number of outfits that were only sold in packages. These make them hard to find as they were not sold for long and were only available separately from the kids.

The Outfits line included outfits in the following code series: 120s, 130s, 400s (that I am aware of to this point), and transitional Hasbro outfits. Some of these outfits were also produced by Hasbro and do not have recognizable tag codes.

The COLECO Deluxe Outfits line includes outfits in the 140s series along with other new pieces.

However, there was a concurrent HASBRO line.

Transitional Hasbro Outfits 

Hasbro must have found themselves with an overabundance of Designer Line (DL) outfits, as the Deluxe Outfits that they packaged (on virtually the same packaging as Coleco) consisted of entirely DL outfits. Currently, I have evidence for the use of the 170s and 180s series of DL outfits, not the 150s series.

Hasbro then produced three packaged outfit lines independent of Coleco. This most likely occurred from 1989 to 1990+. As they are not numbered in the ‘traditional sense  I cannot slot them into the clothing record I am creating. However, they are interesting, nonetheless. They are:

Splash and See Surprise Pouches.

During the transitional years, Hasbro also produced a type of packaged outfit that included a ‘gimmick’. As many of the outfits used were already in production, it may be that they were trying to get rid of extra stock. This is not clear.

The Splash and See Surprise packages contain an outfit and a small pouch with a surprise in it. When you wet the pouch it would melt away and your surprise was revealed. During a 2020 Facebook group discussion, it was noted that these pouches were included with kids as well. (Ref. FB discussion, Jodi (Punki Patch), Feb. 7, 2020) The surprise items included sunglasses, hair barrettes, hair combs, or outfit pieces. Some of the clothing came from the 150s clothing line produced by Coleco in 1989 and some only have Hasbro tags.

Foreign Packaged Outfits

Some of the foreign factories produced packaged outfits as well.

If you have any packaged outfits that you can ‘unpackage’ safely, or that have already been ‘unpackaged’, I would love to get pictures of the outfit and its tags! I have many information holes that need filling.

Clothing Tags: With a code or without?

Not all clothing tags were made equal. Some have codes, some don’t. Which do? Which don’t?

Although MOST Coleco clothing has a code on the tag, not all of them do.

The 1983 outfits have a variety of tags! Each factory had a slightly different look to its tags and some factories changed the look often. After 1985 the tags become more consistent in look and information but there were still variations by factory and over time.

In a previous post, What are Clothing Tag Codes, I noted that some factory codes were put on with stickers so that they were washed off (P, PMI, some IC), some were written on and illegible, and some were stamped on badly. Although these tags are rather rare, they can be annoying. Hopefully, somewhere, you will find the same outfit with a code!

Unfortunately, in some cases, they never put the code on to start with!

The 1983-84 Mess

Some factories like CC, KT, IJ, and PMI always have a code on the tag (if it hasn’t washed off).

Some factories, like the OK and P factories, were generally pretty good with putting codes on their tags, but there are some failures.

For example, early P and OK Hong Kong tagged outfits were hit and miss, and some of the later regular tags did not have codes (pictures below).

Some Taiwanese factories, like IC and AX, put the codes on a few tags.

Some never put a code on their tags. (e.g. UT, HP, EX, SW, CY, FD, WW, USA)

I have also seen tags where they appear to be trying to fix a mistake, or they had run out of a tag. They’ll substitute a different one and then make the correction with a pen or a marker!

Specialty Outfits

Many of the specialty outfits don’t have codes. For example:


Some specialty lines had their own specialty codes.

  • Twin outfits use T1, T2, and T3 to indicate style change, and letters to indicate colour. (TBC in another post.)
  • The Circus kids outfits duplicate the numbers 100 to 105. There are two versions of each costume, A and B.

Later Tags (1985+)

Most tags from 1985 and later have codes. These tags include any numbers 100 and above.

Foreign Factories

From the foreign factories that produced between 1984 and 1985, only Jesmar outfits have tags. (Jump to: Jesmar Tags and Clothing)

After Coleco

As far as I am aware, none of the later companies that produced Cabbage Patch Kids put any kind of code on their tags. At least, not something I know or understand.

For more information . . .

The number/letter codes, jump to: What are Clothing Tag Codes
Where to find clothing tags, jump to: Where are clothing tags located
Information on the numbers in a clothing tag code, jump to: What’s With the Numbers? and Tag Codes Continued: A 2nd Theory
Matching clothing to kids, jump to: A match made in . . . . the factory (Pt. 1)