I will send the original drawing for this to the first person to tell me what this specific image is based on. I'll only accept answers in the comments here, not on flickr and not via email. Bonus points for details and links.
Also: you can get this on stuff over on zazzle.
msnshn313 correctly answered the question. 1974 brought the world the first appearance of Hello Kitty on a vinyl coin purse.
Congratulations msnshn313. Email me via adamkoford.com with your address.