PRC Sneakers?

Recently, a collector showed me a pair of shoes with writing on the inside that they had never seen, and honestly, neither had I!

Inside each shoe is PRC enclosed in a rectangle. The IC and Taiwan that would normally be there are only faintly visible like they’ve been rubbed out. For some reason, they changed the shoe mould. Why?

Picture of the inside of a Cabbage Patch sneaker. It has a large rectangle with the letters PRC inside.
Picture courtesy of Dixie McLaughlin.

There have been two theories put forward.

  1. It stands for Professional Regulation Committee. They believe that this label was put on the first 50 to 100 examples of the product to denote that they are samples. (FB Conversation, Feb. 9, 2021)

This may be what PNC stands for, but I’m really not sure. I could only find references to this body in relation to legal areas in Ontario, the US, and the Philippines. None of the legal areas they deal with specifically relate to physical product samples themselves. Also, no other CPK product has this label on it that I am aware of, even though MANY different ‘specialty dolls’ were produced by Coleco. Finally, these sneakers had been out for years before these shoes came out. The only difference might be the colour of the stripe.

2. The PNC stands for the Peoples Republic of China.

The history of Taiwan is long and complex. During the 1980s, Taiwan was being held under Martial Law by the KMT government. However, in 1987, martial law was lifted, and governance started moving toward democracy. However, there was a segment of the population who wanted to unify with China, both before and after martial law was lifted. (Source) I’m not sure this is a reasonable theory either. Unless someone with these political leanings got control of one of the clothing factories for a time, I have no idea why they would change the shoe moulds like this.

Based on the scarcity of these shoes, I theorize that they were only produced at one of the Taiwanese factories, likely for a short time. As they appear to have come primarily on All-Stars Kids, that would mean they were produced sometime from mid-1984 to 1985. All-Star Kids were primarily produced by IC factories.

Picture of a Cabbage Patch doll dressed in a Phillies Baseball uniform with a flag in hand,inside a CPK box. The box says CPK Stadium at the top and is from the All Stars line.
Photo source unknown.

Do you have a theory? Or maybe some evidence to put toward one of the current theories? I’d love to hear about it!

Special thanks to Dixie McLaughlin, Patty-Fisher Sheahan, and Christie Mounce Racine for their assistance with this topic.

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