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Hiroshi Yamauchi, then president of Nintendo, took a trip to the United States in 1959 and used his excellent bargaining skills to retain a contract with the Walt Disney Company that provided them access to several Disney properties to use on their playing cards. With this license, Nintendo produced their first ever television advertisement that focused on the Disney playing cards. The playing cards became so popular that they tripled Nintendo's profits, allowing them to become a part of the Kyoto and Osaka stock exchange.
Many different varieties were produced, though the exact number is virtually impossible to know. The following are the known characters and properties that have been plastered on the back and front of Nintendo playing cards:
- Several playing card games came with Playing Guides (P.G.s), including Disney card games. Known Disney card games with a Playing Guide include cards with Mickey, Lady and the Tramp, Bambi, Donald Duck and one of his nephews, and Donald Duck and Sleeping Beauty together (certainly an odd pairing).
- Several Donald Duck cards were produced including one of him playing baseball with his nephew, one of him playing golf, one of him reading, and one of him swinging on a swing.
- Multiple Mickey Mouse cards were produced, including Mickey Mouse holding an Olympic torch with several country flags behind him, Mickey golfing, Mickey sitting next to a pond with a butterfly fluttering by, Mickey painting, Mickey playing the piano in one and the drums in another, Mickey skiing (Donald is with him in this one), Mickey swinging, Mickey playing the ukulele, and Mickey hunting.
- Some of the earliest Disney card games had Mickey and friends involved in several events with a plain background. At least three of these were patriotic and featured the American flag (note that these were released exclusively in Japan).
- Bambi was featured on several playing cards, including one with Thumper.
- Peter Pan and several characters from the movie appear on playing cards.
- 101 Dalmatians has at least two playing card games.
- Lady and the Tramp was regularly featured.
- Sleeping Beauty has its own playing card game.
- Jiminy Cricket was a joker in an unknown card deck.
- Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp were featured on the cover of expensive playing card boxes.
- Nintendo manufactured cards for Tokyo Disneland featuring popular characters from their shows.
The following are images of some of Nintendo's Disney-themed cards.