The many definitions of Transitional

The term transitional is used a variety of ways within the Cabbage Patch collecting community. It can be very confusing. Here’s an [attempted] explanation.

The term transitional has a variety of meanings in the Cabbie Collecting Community. It can get incredibly confusing. I’m going to try and explain.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online

Cabbage Patch Collector Definitions

Time Period Definition

The term refers to the change from Coleco, as the manufacturing company, to Hasbro. This change occurred in steps, as displayed by the tags used on CPK products of the time, so it took a while. The period typically referred to as ‘transitional’ is from 1989 to 1990. Some collectors will also include late 1998 (see clothing definition below).

Oddly enough, although there have been many similar transitions as CPK manufacturing moved from company to company (see the list here) over the last 40 years, none of the others are referred to in the same fashion. When we use the term transitional as a label, it’s always the FIRST transition from Coleco to Hasbro.

Doll Definition

As I mentioned, the tags on their products of this time displayed the steps taken during the move from Coleco to Hasbro, and this included the dolls.

When referring to a ‘transitional doll’, a collector can be referring to any doll produced between 1989 and 1990. That means they have a light pink (rose-coloured) signature (Coleco 1989), or they have a mauve signature (Hasbro 1990). To see all the signatures visit HERE.

However, a doll can have more than one label, and those labels typically take precedence when describing the doll. For example, Designer Line Kids came out during the Transitional Period, but we don’t generally call them ‘Transitional Designer Line Kids’. We call them Designer Line kids. The transitional label is left off. The same can be said for Growing Hair Kids (1988-89) and Poseable Kids (1989 – 1990).

On the other hand, regular kids produced during that period DO get labelled with the word. We call them ‘Transitional Toddlers’, ‘Transitional BBBs’, ‘Transitional Preemies’, and ‘Transitional kids’ (referring to regular 16” kids). Some of these kids are hybrids. They have a body made by one company and a head made by the other. DL kids and GH kids are never hybrids.

If the doll isn’t from a specific line being produced at the time (i.e. Designer Line), then it can come in a variety of clothing. The clothes may have been produced BEFORE the transitional period, during the transitional period, or it might have Hasbro clothing produced after 1989. Hasbro and Coleco spent a few years putting together very odd combinations to get rid of old stock.

Clothing Definition

The clothing tags have the same issues as the doll tags. In fact, they can be even more confusing. I’ve provided an explanation of the changes over time in the post Transitional Period CPK Outfits – A Summary. I suggest you read it first, then come back to this post. Sorry! I wrote this in the wrong order.

Anyway, like the dolls, the clothing from specific lines is described using those names first. So, Designer Line outfits and Growing Hair Kid outfits are called ‘Designer Line’ ‘ and ‘Growing Hair’, not transitional. However, to add to the confusion, Poseable kid outfits ARE called transitional. This is because most of these outfits were produced by Hasbro and were also sold on regular kids. They weren’t specific to the Poseable Kid line.

As noted in the post I suggested you read earlier, transitional clothing doesn’t follow the numbering schema used for most of Coleco’s production. These clothes are in the 100s and often have a 9- in front of the number/code.

White clothing tag from cabbage patch outfit 145A, factory P, made in 1989.

Now, there’s one group of clothes that are VERY confusing. Those are the regular kid clothes that started being sold in 1988 (800s Series) and then continued being put on kids and sold well into 1989. Although these clothes aren’t technically transitional, as they were made in 1988, they often came on transitional dolls. So, there’s some debate as to whether they can also be considered transitional.

It doesn’t help that some of these outfits were changed slightly by Hasbro and then given the same number as their original Coleco counterpart. These outfits are technically transitional but still have a 1988 production code! They do use a Hasbro tag though, so that makes it somewhat easier. These outfits are #808, #809, #812, and #815, all of which are described HERE.

The 800s series regular outfits are also easily confused with outfits produced in 1989 because they look very similar. For example, the 800s look quite a bit like Designer Line outfits. The individual pieces can be easily confused between them.

Some of the other packaged outfits produced in 1989 (Future Post) also look quite a bit like 800s series outfits. This just adds to the overall confusion.

Fun Links

1989 Coleco Catalogue
Hasbro 1990 Catalogue

800’s Regular Kid Outfits – Summary

Dino overalls, safari outfits, and confusion are all part of this 1988 series. Finally straighten out the confusion between these outfits, Designer Line and other outfits.

All About Outfits #804 – #809
All about Outfits #810 – #815

There are 14 outfits in this series, #804 – #815, as well as two missing outfits, #805 and #813. All of the outfits were made by the KT factory or by Hasbro. Most of them likely came on KT kids. I am unsure if these outfits came with underwear, diapers, or panties. Do you know? Finally, they came with a variety of shoes depending on the outfit, including striped sneakers, ballet flats, saddle shoes, and chunky sneakers.

Photos courtesy of Chris Hansing Tallman, Jodi Issacs, Dani, Melissa Crick Gore, Kat Pershouse, and Jennifer Runnoe.

Most of the outfits in this series came out in 1988 on regular yarn-haired kids, but they can also be found on 1989 dolls. Consequently, they are often confused with Designer Line and Hasbro Poseable Kid outfits. They are also often described as transitional and some are, but many are not. (To learn about what I consider transitional, visit The Many Definitions of Transitional) To add to the confusion, some of these outfits also came on 1989 Growing Hair Kids, but Growing Hair outfits didn’t come on regular kids, and a few of the outfits in this series may have only come out in 1989. Those outfits could technically be considered transitional.

Photos from Coleco 1989 Catalogue, 1989 p. 7 & 9 and Hasbro 1990 Catalogue, p 2.

Confused yet? There’s more!

For an outline of the Coleco to Hasbro timeline, visit Transitional Period CPK Outfits – A Summary

Some of these outfits have both a Coleco and a Hasbro version, for example, #808, and some outfits were only produced by Hasbro, for example, #810. Based on an article from the Dec. 1988 Dolling Around Newsletter, it seems likely that the Hasbro outfits didn’t come out until 1989. So, I guess they are transitional. The article provides a list of the new 1988 outfits, and none of the Hasbro outfits are on the list. In addition, the VHTF Coleco outfits are missing, as I believe they would have thought them to be Growing Hair kid outfits (Ref #4, Dec. 1988, Vol 3, Iss. 1)

Some photos courtesy of Jodi Issacs.

As I said, some of these outfits also came on Growing Hair (GH) kids. When they did, they also came with a matching hair accessory. The outfits I have confirmed as coming on GH kids are #808, #809, #811, and #814.

Photos courtesy of Chris Hansing Tallman, Melissa Crick Gore, and Jennifer Runnoe.

Packaged? Nope

I have no evidence that these outfits ever came packaged. However, being so near the end of Coleco’s run, there may be package lots out there with individual pieces or entire outfits. Not being sold as packaged outfits and having been made for such a short period would also explain why the outfits in this series are generally harder to find.

Popular and Hard-to-find

Outfits #807 and #812 are the most sought-after outfits in this series, with #807 being copied frequently. One collector has gone so far as to hand copy the pattern of the fabric and recreate it so she could make exact replicas. They’re amazing! As for #812, cats.

 #805 would be the hardest to find if it exists, but at the moment, I believe that #814 and #809 (Coleco version) hold this title. Given Coleco’s previous history, there’s a good chance #813 was never produced.

There are many additional unusual aspects to these outfits. To find out more about each specific outfit, visit:
All About Outfits #804 – #809
All about Outfits #810 – #815 (Future Post)

Transitional Period CPK Outfits – A Summary

As Hasbro took over production of the Cabbage Patch brand, chaos ensued. Find out what collectors means by ‘transitional’ and how this is reflected in the clothing.

For an explanation of how the word ‘transitional is used by Cabbage Patch collectors, visit The many definitions of Transitional

Quick List/Links

  • 9 – #101 – #152 (BBB, Preemie, Toddler, Regular kids) (Future Posts)
  • 9 – Designer Line Kid outfits (150s, 170-180s)
  • 9 – Sippin’ Kid outfits (160s) (Future Post)
  • 0 – 400s (BBB outfits) (Future Post)

Transition: the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

(Google Dictionary)

In this instance, we’re referring to the transition from Coleco to Hasbro as the manufacturer of the Cabbage Patch brand, 1989 – 1990. This progression, and the chaos it caused, can be seen in the tags used in their clothes. It occurs in five stages.

Stage 1 Tags: 9 – Amsterdam and Gloversville, NY – Coleco

Coleco began using the location Amsterdam, NY, on their tags in late 1987 (I think) and continued until sometime in 1989. Then they switched to Gloversville, NY, the last known Coleco location used on their tags. Consequently, Gloversville tags only occurred in outfits that came out in the first 6-months of 1989. These outfits all have 9 – in front of their outfit code. (See Part 2: The Code Addition for an explanation). Some of the outfits produced in 1989 were designed earlier but weren’t sold until then.

Coleco Cabbage patch kid clothing tag with Gloversville, NY, as the location, clothing code 9-167A and factory OK.

Outfits series sold at this time (that I know of):

  • 9 – #101 – #153 (BBB, Preemie, Toddler, Regular kids)
  • Designer Line outfits 150s (all Gloversville)
  • 9 – Sippin’ Kid outfits (160s)

Stage 2 Tags: 9 – Pawtucket, RI – Hasbro

The codes in these outfits have the 9 –, indicating they are also from 1989, but they are made by a different company. These tags have a Coleco-like clothing code and factory code but are now listed as being made by Hasbro out of Pawtucket, RI. They introduced a new factory code H101, likely intending the H to indicate Hasbro. This happened because Hasbro bought out Coleco in July of 1989 (Ref#3, p. 176).

Outfits series sold at this time (that I know of):

Stage 3 Tags: 0 – Pawtucket, RI – Hasbro

Following along with the year labelling convention, if 9- is for 1989, then the 0 – would be for 1990. So, these outfits were sold in 1990. However, the tag looks more Hasbro-like than Coleco now. In addition, there are very few outfits with this code. The only outfits produced at this time were the BBB 400s. series (Future Post). These outfits are likely the last of the Coleco designs Hasbro used OR their first attempts at their own designs. My guess is the latter, as all four outfits in this series mimic the look of earlier Coleco-produced outfits.

Hasbro Cabbage patch kid clothing tag with Pawtucket, RI as the location, clothing code 0-100D and no factory code.

Stage 4 Tags: Hasbro tag

By this stage, the tags are all Hasbro, and there are no codes on them at all. It appears that, although they considered or tried to keep using the Coleco coding system, they gave it up rather quickly, likely sometime in 1990.

Hasbro Cabbage patch kid clothing tag with Pawtucket, RI.

Outfits series sold at this time (that I know of):

  • Outfits #148, #151
  • Outfits #116 – #120
  • Hasbro produced versions of some 800-815 series
  • Some early Hasbro BBB outfits
  • Some early Hasbro regular kid outfits (generally a duplicate in some way of a Coleco outfit)
  • Many Poseable Kid outfits
  • Some Splash and See packaged outfits
  • Hasbro Fashion Separates Line – packaged
  • Hasbro Deluxe Fashions Line – packaged
  • Hasbro Fashions Line – packaged (likely but not confirmed by tag yet)

Stage 5 Tags: No tag

By 1991, Hasbro was producing their own kids and clothes. None of the outfits are tagged. Some of these lines include Babies (BBBs), Babyland Kids, Poseables (replaced the regular kids), Birthday Kids, Preschoolers, Designer Line Kids and Kissin’ Kids. (Ref#2, p.104))

Hasbro Catalogue 1990, p.4

Transitional Dolls

Although many dolls were sold in these two years, what most collectors refer to as a ‘Transitional doll’ is very specific and quite sought after, as few were produced. These dolls are an amalgam of Hasbro and Coleco parts. One might have a Coleco head, Hasbro body, and Coleco outfit. Or a Coleco body and head, but wear a Hasbro-tagged outfit. There are several possible combinations. (Ref#3, p. 176)

Selling off Coleco Stock

During the Transitional period, you could find odd packages of Cabbage Patch clothing and accessories that were being sold off by Coleco and Hasbro. For example, you might find a Coleco outfit on a Hasbro board and in others, it’s a mishmash of items that don’t belong together on what looks to be an unauthorized board, but isn’t. Hasbro used a variety of avenues to rid themselves of leftover stock. Refer to PTP: Packaged Outfits: Questions and (Some) Answers for more information.

Shoes: Sneakers

Sneakers can be found in a rainbow of colours. Which kids did they come with and how can you tell?

Other relevant posts: CPK Shoe Summary, Lacing CPK Shoes

CPK Sneakers were manufactured by Coleco throughout the entirety of their production. However, the characteristics of the shoes varied by factory and over time.

Hong Kong Shoes

For a definition of ‘Hong Kong Kids’, jump to the Glossary.

In the beginning, when production took place in Hong Kong [HK], the shoes had a very distinctive look. In general, they can have a number of these features but do not need to have them all.

  • The stitching is VERY prominent.
  • They have a thicker feel to the vinyl. In some cases, the vinyl did not mould well and may have a runny look on the inside.
  • Some are extremely hard vinyl. VERY hard.
  • Not all HK shoes have black text in the heel, but if it is black, it’s likely an HK shoe.
  • They tend to look less finished than other shoes. The edges look more like they’ve been cut out, or the vinyl around the edges has been trimmed.
  • HK shoes are more likely to discolour and get pox than later shoes.
  • The bottoms are ‘bumpy/textured’.
  • The body is bumpy (see below).
Comparison picture of an Hong Kong sneaker with a regular later sneaker. They both have pink stripes.
Hong Kong shoe vs. later shoe

OK HK Shoes
– very hard & very malleable
– very prominent stitching
– The tongue is not cut out (or is partially cut). It is formed as part of the shoe.
– textured body and bottom
– laces are thick and not very long

P HK Shoes  
– The text runs vertically, not horizontally, in the heel.
– I have not found any P with black text.
– The vinyl is very malleable.

KT  HK Shoes
– I am unable to comment on specifics. I don’t have any in my collection.
Photo courtesy of Christy Gann.

Post HK Shoes – 1986ish shoes

After the ‘experimental’ Hong Kong period, the shoes became more uniform but still had many characteristics that varied by factory. It can be very difficult to ‘match’ shoes. You THINK they should match, but when you put them side by side, they are nothing alike! They aren’t the same shape, colour, texture, etc.

Most of the shoes have the factory indicator and the words HONG KONG stamped on the inside by the heel, on the bottom. The factory indicator can be inside a circle or not.

After production moved to China, the shoes became more uniform in appearance but continued to vary by the factory. Indeed, as more factories began production, the amount of variation increased.

1987-1989

Although there are quite a few colours available, many did not show up until 1988 and 1989 (Transitional period). They came on later kids and wearing outfits 800 – 815 and as separately packaged accessories.

It seems that Hasbro did not continue to produce or use sneakers.

25th Anniversary Sneakers (separate post)

Stripe Patterns

The sneakers come in three different stripe patterns.

#1 – the most vertical
#2 – slightly more angled
#3 – the most angled

Picture of three sneakers, each one with a different stripe pattern. One at the top, three at the bottom.

Some factories, like P, appear to have produced all three patterns. Others did not. For example, all the OK sneakers I have use pattern #1.

Stripe Colours

The first sneakers came in only two colours, blue and pink.

In 1985 they started producing additional colours.  For example, the stripes on the All-Stars Kids sneakers often matched the colour of the uniform, so colours like red, green, black, and navy blue show up. I believe that most of these shoes were produced by the FD and IC factories. At the same time, both coloured and white striped shoes were produced for Sports Collection outfits (CY and FD) and by the UT factory. Do you have UT shoes with coloured stripes? I have only seen white.

Some colours were produced in varying shades. I believe this was caused by factory variation and changes over time. For example, the PMI factory seems to have very distinct pink and blue colours.

Three sneakers, each one with blue stripes, but all of various shades of blue. The top is lighter, the bottom is navy blue.

In some cases, the same factory produced different shades of colour. For example, these two P shoes are varying shades of pink.

The Rainbow

Here are all the colours, and their variations, that I have owned. I know that I am missing yellow and hot pink.

Update: Brown stripes came with the Padre’s baseball outfit. Special thanks to Margaret Granato and Jennifer Pelfrey.

Picture that shows all the colours I am currently aware of. Black, purple, red, green, pink, blue and white.

Numbers

Some of the shoes have numbers near the factory code. I think these numbers are related to moulds, but I really don’t know. What I do know, is that there are lots of numbers and a matching pair does not have to have matching numbers. One shoe can be 1 and the other 4. Numbers are most often found in shoes produced by the Taiwanese and P factories.

Which outfits came with Sneakers?

Sneaker Descriptions by Factory

Disclaimer: The following observations have been made based on my collection. I welcome any information and will not hesitate to make revisions as needed.

OK Shoes
– They are thin and flexible with a tongue that is the same size as the opening.
– The text is raised, comes in two font sizes, and is sometimes blurred.
– They tend to discolour and become sticky more than others.
– They only appear to use stripe pattern 1.

P Shoes
– They tend to stay very white, and the stitching is very prominent.
– The tongue is smaller than the opening.
– The text is raised and very clear. It is generally vertical along the length of the shoe.
Numbers used: 1, 2, 3, 4
Stripe Patterns used: 1, 2, 3

KT Shoes
– They feel like OK shoes but with a very thin top edge. Some are extremely malleable.
– The tongue looks to have been formed as part of the shoe and then cut out.
– Some material is missing, making the tongue smaller than the hole.
– The text is raised.
– The bottom and inside are VERY smooth.
– Some of them have the ‘Jesmar’ shape inside.
Stripe pattern: 1

PMI Shoes (small sample size)
– The feel and stitching are similar to OK shoes, but they tend to say while like P shoes.
– The text is a large, well-spaced PMI that is generally very legible.

IC Shoes
– They are rather hard, with little flexibility.
– Moderately prominent stitching
– The tongue is similar to P shoes.
– The text is raised and very clear. They say MADE IN TAIWAN and have numbers underneath.
Stripe patterns: 2, 3
Numbers: 2, 3, 5

UT Shoes (small sample size)
– They feel and look like IC shoes.
– Text is clear, in a small font.
Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6
Stripes: 2

FD & CY Shoes
– They feel and look like IC shoes.
– Text can be VERY large or rather small.
FD Numbers: 1, 4,3, 6,9, 12
CY Numbers: 3, 4
Stripe Pattern: 2,3

SS factory: They did not produce sneakers.

Part 2: The Code Addition

What did they add to the code and why?

As noted in Part 1: Tag Codes Continued: A 2nd Theory, I originally thought the first number of the code indicated the year the outfit came out.

E.g. 501 came out in 1985, 630 came out in 1986, 720 came out in 1987

This is true for some outfits, but not for all.

A lot of tags had #- in front of the code and I did not know what it meant, until now.

I believe that starting in 1986 and continuing until 1990, those tags with a #-, indicate the actual year the outfit came out. You can’t use the first digit of the code for these outfits.

This theory answers a few questions.

  1. It confirms that the first BBB series came out in 1986.
    These outfits were among the first to be coded differently.
                         
  2. Why would they put out a second series of BBB outfits in 1986?
    They didn’t, the 670s – 680s series BBB outfits came out in 1987.
                       
  3. Why are there no 1989 outfits with 900 numbers?
    Because they put them all in the 100s! The 1989 Designer Line Kids, Sippin’ Kids, and all the transitional and package outfits that came out in 1989 are numbered 9- 1_ _. I have no idea why they chose to do this.
                       
  4. What do the tags with 0- mean?
    Following the pattern, these are outfits that came out or were slated by Coleco to be produced, in 1990. There are very few outfits with these codes, and all of them are Transitional Hasbro clothing tags. They may have been the last outfits designed by Coleco, or the first designed by Hasbro. Who knows.
                       

Having said all that, not all the factories used this coding innovation equally.

Photos in 1 – 3 courtesy of Jodi’s Punk Patch.

Update: For more information about 0 – tags, and where they fit into the transitional period, see The Transitional Period – A Summary.

Why should you care . . . .

If you have an outfit that has an 8- before the code, you know that it belongs to a kid from 1988 or 1989, nothing earlier. If you have a BBB outfit that has 6- before the number, it has to go on a 1986 BBB kid.  If you have an outfit with a 9- or a 0- , barring some exceptions, it could have come on a Coleco kid or a Hasbro kid as it is a Transitional Outfit.