Q: What was the first Disney-based merchandise on the market?
Daniel, Pevely, Missouri
A: There was an Oswald stencil set, a candy bar, and a pin-back button, all licensed through Universal, who owned and distributed the Disney Oswald cartoons. The first Mickey Mouse item was a writing tablet.  Supposedly Walt was walking though a hotel lobby in New York and a man offered him $300 if he would allow Mickey to be used on the tablets. Walt needed the $300, so he said okay.
Dave Smith