Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nintendo Trump and Hanafuda cards key-rings (トランプと花札カードキーリング, ca1965)

The image below shows two standard-size vintage Nintendo playing card sets. At least, that's what they look like at first glance. The style of the plastic case and sleeve dates them around the first half of the 1960s.

But when we remove the sleeves, we see that there is actually more to this; these are no standard packs of cards at all.

Each of the cases contains a gold-coloured metal key-ring, presented in a purple velvet bed.

The first key-ring is a small metal case with a cut-out in the shape of one of four card symbols (hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds) on each of the sides. Through these openings, you can see a miniature pack of cards that is stored inside.

To convey just how small this item is, I have included a Japanese 100 yen piece and US quarter in some the pictures below.

The key-ring case has a little door with a little hinge. It is really well made and the door closes with a nice 'click'.

The pack of cards inside must be one of the cutest in the world.

The cards measure only 15 by 24 millimetres.

The key-ring contains a full western style trump deck: 52 cards plus two jokers. The ace of spades contains the familiar Nintendo playing card logo.

The second key-ring contains a pack of hanafuda cards. Hanafuda are the original Japanse playing cards that are the foundation of Nintendo: the first product they started with in 1889.

This case is engraved on two sides with an image representing a hanafuda card. Two other sides have cherry-blossom shaped cut-outs ('hana' is Japanse for flower).

The pack inside is a full hanafuda set, with 48 cards. The cards are even smaller than the miniature trump cards: 15 by 22 millimetres.

Playing an actual game of cards with these must be somewhat of a challenge, but they make a great novelty item.


  1. Okay, how can folks in the States get their hands on one of these?

    1. These are vintage cards that are almost 50 years old. I know of only one pair, which are the ones featured here. And these are not for sale. Sorry.