Disney Consumer Products's origins trace back to 1929, when Walt Disney licensed the image of Mickey Mouse for use on a children's writing tablet. On December 16 of that year, Walt Disney Productions formed the Walt Disney Enterprises division to handle merchandising and we believe this has some significance in relation to the rarity of this HAPPY superior needle tin,one of our all time favorites.
You can see below that it features three legendary Disney characters, Mickey Mouse, Felix the Cat and Betty Boop. The last of these characters to come into being was in fact Betty Boop who first appeared as a finalized character in 1932. Thought to be inspired by real life actress and seductive flapper Helen Kane, in the mid 1930's Betty's image was changed to be a little more conservative to the way she appears here. Mickey Mouse was created in 1928 and Felix the cat in 1919 but unlike Mickey, by the early 1930's Felix's profile had already faded significantly.
None of this seemed to deter the Japanese makers of this wonderful tin. From these few facts one could deduce that this tin would be no earlier than 1932 but most likely a few years older than that. That in turn means that it clearly used licensed Disney images but there are no references to any copyright on the tin. It would also be reasonable to assume this tin was made for export with no references in Japanese anywhere on the tin.
Just imagine if these turned up as imports in the USA and Walt Disney was made aware of the use of his images without licence. I am sure he would not be so HAPPY! Perhaps this is one reason which explains why these tins are so rarely seen, as they were either made in very small numbers to begin with or something happened to limit their production. Either way you can see why those remaining have been treasured for the past 80 or so years. We certainly don't know of any other needle tins which feature and Disney characters, perhaps you do?
If you would like to add one of these tins to your collection we do have one for sale now in our Premium Tin Collection. Click here to check it out!
*Thanks to Wikipedia for the facts*