Cabbage Patch Kids Dolls: History, Fun Facts & Collectibles
Rediscover the fun of childhood with a look back at the beloved Cabbage Patch Kids dolls! We explore their history, popular accessories and collectibles.
A Comprehensive Guide to 1980s Cabbage Patch Kids Nostalgia
Do you remember the excitement of discovering a new Cabbage Patch Kid under the Christmas tree? Or playing with friends and their beloved dolls, each one with a unique name and adoption certificate?
The 1980s were marked by many iconic trends and fads, but none quite captured the hearts of children (and parents) like Cabbage Patch Kids. These adorable dolls took the world by storm, becoming a must-have for any toy collector or child.
So, let's take a trip down memory lane and explore everything there is to know about these beloved dolls from the 1980s.
The Origins of Cabbage Patch Kids
Cabbage Patch Kids were the brainchild of American art student, Xavier Roberts. In 1978, he created a line of handmade dolls called "Little People" and sold them at local craft fairs.
But it wasn't until 1982 when toy manufacturer Coleco Industries saw potential in Roberts' unique concept and signed a licensing agreement. The dolls were renamed Cabbage Patch Kids, and soon they were flying off the shelves.
One of the most significant aspects of Cabbage Patch Kids was their adoption feature. Each doll came with a unique name, birth certificate, and adoption papers, making them feel like real babies that needed love and care.
The Role of Martha Nelson in the Cabbage Patch Kids Phenomenon
Martha Nelson, Xavier's right-hand, was a pivotal figure in the creation of Cabbage Patch Kids.
Her masterful skills in fabric sculpture were instrumental in developing the unique, hand-stitched faces that defined each doll's individuality and endeared them to children worldwide. By delicately crafting each feature, she brought to life dolls that embodied a wide range of human emotions, from joy to sadness, curiosity to surprise. Nelson’s dolls were not mere toys; they were companions, friends, and sometimes, confidantes. Her work added an immeasurable depth of personality to Cabbage Patch Kids, making each one utterly unique and priceless. It is, in no small part, thanks to Martha Nelson that Cabbage Patch Kids continue to be cherished collectables today.
The Craze for Cabbage Patch Kids
The Cabbage Patch Kids phenomenon began in earnest in the United States. The dolls quickly became a nationwide sensation after their introduction by Coleco Industries in 1982.
With their adoption feature and individual personalities, they were unlike any other toy on the market. Parents lined up for hours outside stores, all in the hopes of securing one of these coveted dolls for their children. It wasn't unusual for stores to sell out within minutes of a new shipment. The demand was so high, it even sparked brawls and chaos in some stores, a phenomenon dubbed as 'Cabbage Patch Riots'. The Cabbage Patch Kid-mania had begun, and it wasn't long before the rest of the world caught on to it. These dolls weren't just toys; they became cultural icons, a symbol of the 1980s that no child or collector could resist.
Coleco Industries marketed the dolls aggressively, creating high demand and long lines at stores everywhere. As the dolls became harder to find, parents struggled to fulfill their child's wish for a Cabbage Patch Kid.
In 1983, news outlets reported on "Cabbage Patch riots" where desperate parents fought over the last dolls in stock. The craze was so intense that some hospitals even offered delivery room services for mothers giving birth to a Cabbage Patch Kid lookalike.
The popularity of Cabbage Patch Dolls exploded even further when celebrities like Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, and Ronald Reagan were seen with their own dolls. The dolls soon became a cultural phenomenon, with clothing lines, TV shows, movies, and even a theme park dedicated to them.
Collecting Cabbage Patch Kids Today
If you're feeling nostalgic and want to add a piece of your childhood to your collection, you're in luck.
Cabbage Patch Kids are still available today, although they look a bit different than their 1980s counterparts.
In 2019, the brand celebrated its 35th anniversary by releasing "Cabbage Patch Kids Vintage" dolls that resemble the original handmade Little People dolls. These vintage dolls have become highly sought after by collectors.
But that's not all. You can also find various types of Cabbage Patch Kids merchandise and memorabilia, including clothing, accessories, books, and more. And if you're feeling extra nostalgic, you can even watch episodes of the animated TV show "The Cabbage Patch Kids" on DVD.
Different Types of Cabbage Patch Kids
The charm of Cabbage Patch Dolls lies not only in their individual personalities but also in the sheer variety of types available. As their popularity soared, so did the diversity of the dolls, each type catering to a different taste or collector's preference.
Original Hand-Stitched Little People: The dolls that started it all, the Original Hand-Stitched Little People, were individually handcrafted in the soft-sculpture style by Xavier Roberts and his team. These dolls were initially sold at local craft fairs, where their unique charm and individuality quickly caught the public's attention. Each doll was painstakingly created with meticulous attention to detail, from their embroidered features to their soft body construction. Their hair was yarn, and they donned hand-sewn outfits, often made from vintage fabrics. Each doll was truly unique, not just in appearance but also in name. A characteristic 'Xavier Roberts' signature scribbled with care on each doll's bottom made it a cherished collectable. The dolls' individuality was further amplified by the inclusion of a birth certificate and adoption papers, making each Little Person not just a toy, but a new member of the family. Now, these original creations are considered priceless pieces of Cabbage Patch history and are highly sought after by dedicated collectors worldwide.
Preemies: As the Cabbage Patch Kids mania grew, Coleco introduced a new line in 1984, known as "Preemies." These dolls were smaller than the original Cabbage Patch Kids as they were designed to resemble newborn babies. Just like their larger counterparts, each Preemie had its own unique name and came with adoption papers, furthering the real-baby illusion.
Preemies were instantly recognisable due to their distinct feature - the bald head. Instead of the yarn hair found on most Cabbage Patch Kids, Preemies were bald, much like a real newborn. Their clothes were also unique, often consisting of onesies or light baby dresses, reinforcing their newborn status.
Preemies were wildly popular, adding another layer to the Cabbage Patch Kids phenomenon. Not only did they appeal to kids who wanted a baby of their own to care for, but they were also a huge hit with collectors. Today, the Preemies line is considered a classic part of the Cabbage Patch Kids collection, and finding an original Preemie in good condition can be a real treasure for vintage doll collectors.
World Travelers: The Globetrotting Cabbage Patch Kids: Emphasising the global phenomenon that was Cabbage Patch Kids, Coleco introduced the "World Travelers" line in 1985. These unique dolls were designed to represent various countries around the globe, instilling an appreciation for diversity and culture in young children. Each World Traveler doll was dressed in traditional attire from the country they represented, adding an additional level of authenticity and uniqueness. From a Scottish kilt to a Japanese kimono, the attention to detail in their clothing was simply exquisite.
The World Travelers line further expanded the range and appeal of Cabbage Patch Kids; they weren’t just dolls anymore, but also became educational tools teaching children about different cultures and nations. Their passports, complete with stamps from their respective countries, made them an even more exciting addition to the collection. Today, these multicultural dolls are highly sought after by collectors for their uniqueness and cultural representation, making them an invaluable addition to any Cabbage Patch Kids collection.
Twins: The Double Surprise of Cabbage Patch Kids: In keeping with the theme of innovation and big surprises, Coleco introduced the 'Twins' line in 1985. This line offered not one, but two Cabbage Patch Kids in one package. The Twins, often a boy and a girl, were slightly smaller in size and came dressed in matching or coordinating outfits. Just like real-life twins, these sets of dolls quickly became a favourite among children and collectors alike. The aspect of two dolls offered double the fun and added an extra element of play for children, as they could now enact scenes of sibling camaraderie or rivalry. Each set of twins, like all Cabbage Patch Kids, came with their own individual birth certificates and adoption papers, further enhancing the realism of the dolls. For collectors, the Twins line offered an exciting opportunity to expand their collection quickly. Today, unopened Cabbage Patch Kids Twins are a rare find and are considered a valuable addition to any vintage doll collection.
Cabbage Patch Kids Vintage 2019: A Nostalgic Revival: As part of their continued commitment to capturing hearts and imaginations, the Cabbage Patch Kids brand celebrated a nostalgic revival in 2019. This line of vintage dolls was designed as a tribute to the original Cabbage Patch Kids of the 1980s. Staying true to the original charm that once swept the globe, these dolls bore the distinctive features that made Cabbage Patch Kids unique. Each doll was meticulously designed with yarn hair, cute fabric clothes and the characteristic baby powder scent - adding an extra touch of authenticity. Just as in the good old days, each Cabbage Patch Kid came with a unique name, adoption papers and birth certificate, reigniting the magic that once made them a household name. For collectors and enthusiasts of 80s memorabilia, the Cabbage Patch Kids Vintage 2019 line offered a chance to relive history and experience the joy of adoption all over again. Today, these modern reiterations of the classic Cabbage Patch Kids stand as a testament to the enduring appeal of the brand and its ability to captivate generations.
Collecting different types of Cabbage Patch Kids can be a rewarding hobby, creating a sense of nostalgia and offering a unique insight into toy history. Whether it's the original hand-stitched Little People, the mass-produced dolls by Coleco, the special Preemies, World Travelers, or Twins, each type of Cabbage Patch Kid holds its own charm and significance in this beloved toy legacy.
Cabbage Patch Kids Pricing: Then and Now
During the great Cabbage Patch Dolls craze of the 1980s, a doll could cost anywhere from $20 to $30, which was a fairly significant sum in those days. The dolls' popularity and the resulting demand made them a hot commodity, often resulting in inflated prices in secondary markets. In some instances, desperate parents were willing to pay hundreds of dollars to secure one of these cherished dolls for their children.
Fast forward to 2023, and the pricing landscape for Cabbage Patch Kids has changed significantly, especially for vintage pieces. While newer models can be found in stores for around $40 to $60, vintage Cabbage Patch Kids from the 1980s era are considered collector's items and command much higher prices. These nostalgic pieces can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on their condition, rarity, and associated memorabilia. Limited edition dolls, such as those from the World Travellers series or hand-stitched Little People, are particularly valued. It's not uncommon for a pristine, boxed Cabbage Patch Kid from the 1980s to fetch upwards of $2,000 at auction. Collecting Cabbage Patch Kids has evolved from a mere hobby into a potentially lucrative venture, with collectors worldwide always on the hunt for these treasured pieces of doll history.
Where to Buy Cabbage Patch Kids Today
Cabbage Patch Kids are available to purchase from a variety of outlets today, allowing you to indulge in a bit of 80s nostalgia or even start a new collection.
Retail Stores: Large toy chains and department stores like Walmart, Target, and Toys R Us often stock the newer Cabbage Patch Kids dolls.
Online Marketplaces: E-commerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay offer a wide range of Cabbage Patch Kids products, from current models to vintage dolls. Here, you can stumble upon rare finds from various eras, or even locate that special doll you've been searching for.
Specialist Collectible Stores: Shops that specialise in collectibles or vintage toys often stock Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. These stores can be a goldmine for collectors, as they might have rare and hard-to-find dolls.
Cabbage Patch Kids Official Website: The official Cabbage Patch Kids website sells the latest models and occasionally releases special edition dolls that are not available anywhere else.
Who Sells Cabbage Patch Kids Today
Today, Cabbage Patch Dolls are manufactured by Wicked Cool Toys, a division of Jazwares.
After the Coleco era, the Cabbage Patch Kids brand has changed hands a few times. Hasbro, Mattel, and Play Along Toys are among the companies that have produced Cabbage Patch Kids dolls over the years. However, since 2015, Wicked Cool Toys/Jazwares has taken over the reins, continuing to bring joy to a new generation of children while stirring a sense of nostalgia in those who remember the Cabbage Patch Kids craze of the '80s.
Cabbage Patch Kids Dolls Questions And Answers
1. What are the origins of the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls?
Answer: Cabbage Patch Kids dolls originated from the imaginative mind of Xavier Roberts in the late 1970s. Originally called Little People, these dolls were hand-stitched and sold at local craft shows. The name was later changed to Cabbage Patch Kids when the brand was acquired by Coleco in 1982.
2. Why were Cabbage Patch Kids so popular in the 1980s?
Answer: Cabbage Patch Kids were a unique concept in the 1980s. Each doll was different, with its own name, birthday, and adoption papers, making each one special and personal to its owner. Their charming features and the concept of "adoption" made them an instant hit with children and parents alike.
3. What are some of the different types of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls?
Answer: Over the years, various types of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls have been produced. The original hand-stitched Little People, the mass-produced dolls by Coleco, the special Preemies, World Travelers, and Twins are just a few examples. Each type of doll has its own unique appeal.
4. How has the pricing of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls changed over the years?
Answer: In the 1980s, a Cabbage Patch Kids doll could cost between $20 to $30. Today, newer models retail for around $40 to $60, while vintage dolls from the '80s era, especially those in mint condition or with associated memorabilia, can fetch several hundred to thousands of dollars.
5. Where can I buy Cabbage Patch Kids dolls today?
Answer: Cabbage Patch Kids can be purchased from a variety of outlets including large retail stores like Walmart and Target, online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, specialist collectible stores, and the Cabbage Patch Kids official website.
6. Who manufactures Cabbage Patch Kids today?
Answer: Today, Cabbage Patch Kids dolls are produced by Wicked Cool Toys, a division of Jazwares.
7. Are Cabbage Patch Kids still popular today?
Answer: Yes, Cabbage Patch Kids continue to be popular to this day, capturing the hearts of a new generation of children while remaining a treasured collectible for those nostalgic for the 1980s.
8. I have a Cabbage Patch Kid from the 1980s. How can I find out how much it's worth?
Answer: The worth of a vintage Cabbage Patch Kid can vary based on factors like condition, rarity, and any associated memorabilia. An appraisal from a professional doll collector or an antique dealer may be the best way to determine its value. Online auctions can also give a sense of what similar dolls are selling for.
Relive Your Childhood Memories
Whether you're a seasoned toy collector or simply feeling nostalgic for the 1980s, Cabbage Patch Kids are sure to bring back fond memories. From their humble origins to their cultural significance and lasting popularity, these dolls hold a special place in the hearts of many.
So why not add a touch of 1980s nostalgia to your collection with a Cabbage Patch Kid? Who knows, you may even find yourself back in the midst of a Cabbage Patch riot once again. The mere mention of these dolls can transport us back to happier times, when the excitement of adopting one of these unique 'Kids' was a highlight of many childhoods. There's something truly magical about an era that held such a beloved phenomenon, an era filled with imagination, creativity, and unparalleled joy. And even though time has moved on, the legacy of the Cabbage Patch Dolls continues to live on, resonating with fans and collectors all around the world. So, let's revel in the nostalgia, celebrate the joy of collecting, and cherish the fond memories these adorable dolls evoke. After all, the 1980s may be a bygone era, but the heart-warming magic of the Cabbage Patch Kids will forever remain timeless.