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

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