Chances are, if you grew up in the 1980s or ’90s, you’ve probably tossed or sold a retro video game or two at some point in time. As much fun as fans had playing classic Nintendo or Sega games, at some point in time, most players will choose to get rid of our retro collection.
On the other hand, some gamers aren’t so quick to get rid of their prized collections, and to this day, there’s a thriving market for those looking to collect old-school games, with collectors paying top dollar for cartridges that are in pristine condition. One collector, in particular, shelled out a nice chunk of change for a one-of-a-kind copy of a much-beloved Nintendo classic.
As reported by the Verge, a mint condition copy of Super Mario Bros. sold at auction for a whopping $100,150. The pristine cartridge was sold to a handful of collectors, who came together to purchase the game. The auction, which was handled by Heritage Auctions, took place earlier this week.
As detailed on the company’s official website, the game was purchased by Jim Halperin, the founder and co-chairman of Heritage Auctions, Zac Gieg, who owns Just Press Play Video Games in Pennsylvania, and Rich Lecce, a well-known coin dealer and video game collector. Leece also owns Robert B. Leece Numismatist Inc., located in Boca Raton, Florida.
— The Verge (@verge) February 14, 2019
Kenneth Thrower, the co-founder and chief grader of Wata Games, weighed in on the recent auction.
“Beyond the artistic and historical significance of this game is its supreme state of preservation,” Thrower said.
For those wondering why this particular copy of Super Mario Bros. took in so much at auction, it comes down to the many variations on the game’s box and packaging. Due to the game’s massive popularity, Nintendo reprinted Super Mario Bros. often — it was in print from 1985 to 1994. As a result, there are 11 variations of the game’s box, with the first two being “sticker sealed” copies, which were only made available in New York and Los Angeles, as part of a test launch for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
The copy that sold at auction was certified by Wata Games and received a grade of 9.4, which corresponds with “Near Mint” condition. The game also received a “Seal Rating” of A++.
“Not only are all of NES sticker sealed games extremely rare, but by their nature of not being sealed in shrink wrap they usually exhibit significant wear after more than 30 years,” Thrower explained. “This game may be the condition census of all sticker sealed NES games known to exist.”
Super Mario Bros. was released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is currently the eighth best-selling game video game of all time, having sold over 40 million units.