Erik Voskuil, one of the world's most prominent collectors of pre-Mario Nintendo artifacts, recently took to Twitter to express his excitement over a new acquisition: two sets of Nintendo souvenir playing cards from the 1950s. As he explained on his blog, Before Mario, the cards were of interest to him for a number of reasons.
First, they showed a connection between Nintendo and the subject of Kyoto. Second, they are undeniably beautiful. And thirdly, they showed how Japan advertised itself to tourists at the time.
Writing on Twitter, he explained, "I cannot overstate how excited I was to find these seventy year old Nintendo cards, featuring Kyoto in the 1950s. In all my years of collecting, these are the only copies I have come across. On top of that, they are still sealed! Which begs the question... to open or not?!"
After some to and fro, the collector eventually decided to go ahead and open one of the boxes in order to document the rare cards in their full glory but was disappointed at what he found. In the seventy years since the cards were originally packaged, the deck had fused together, likely under hot and humid conditions, turning them into one solid brick (as first reported by Kotaku).
Voskuil writes on his blog, "After applying some further force to the pack, and trying to bend it, it became clear that there was a real risk of the layers of paper within the card giving way and tearing, rather than the cards coming loose. The other pack had the same problem. It was a solid brick as well."
Helpful commenters offer suggestions such as putting them in a freezer or using a sweat box, a technique often used by stamp collectors, but Voskuil, unfortunately, believes the packs to be too far gone.
Instead, he lives in hope that another pack will eventually surface, giving us all a chance to see this exciting part of pre-video game Nintendo history for ourselves.