‘Holy Grail’ Of Rare Video Games Found In A Goodwill For $7.99

‘Holy Grail’ Of Rare Video Games Found In A Goodwill For $7.99

It’s the archetypal jackpot story of flea markets, pawn shops and antiques roadshows. Someone pays a few dollars for a long-forgotten box at a swap meet and then discovers they have a five-figure rarity on their hands. That describes a North Carolina woman today, who purchased one of the rarest video games ever sold in the United States for $7.99 at a local Goodwill.

Wilder Hamm, the owner of Save Point Video Games in Charlotte, North Carolina, met this woman this morning when he opened his store. He held the box and saw its contents: Stadium Events.

“Oh my God!” Hamm said he blurted, when she showed him the box. “She knew exactly what she had,” Hamm told Kotaku. She showed it to him last, after presenting some common titles like 10-Yard Fight and The Karate Kid, before rolling out Stadium Events like a $US15,000 punchline.

It worked.

“Normally in this business, we try not to show our cards,” Hamm said. “We’re not in the business of ripping people off but, you show that kind of excitement, they start expecting a mountain of money.”

She may get it. Stadium Events, one of the first exergaming titles, was only released in a test market in the northern United States in 1987. The next year, Nintendo bought the North American rights to its “Family Fun Fitness” mat, which then became the more well known Power Pad. Anything under the Family Fun Fitness brand was supposed to have been destroyed.

The box Hamm saw most certainly wasn’t. It’s in great shape, and so is the game’s instructions and its cart. The box still had the plastic on it, though it had been slit so that the box top could be opened and the contents verified.

“She knew exactly what she had,” said Hamm, who held and inspected the cart himself. “When I asked her what she expected to get, she said she expected $US7000 to $US15,000, which is on target.”

If the plastic had not been cut — if it was truly sealed in the box — Hamm had no idea what it would be worth then. “Our price for the cartridge alone is $US2800, should we have it for any reason.” In 2010, a sealed-in-the-box copy of Stadium Events listed on eBay drew a winning bid of $US41,300.

The find kicked up a lot of excitement inside Save Point Video Games, but Hamm had to tell the woman his store simply did not have the money to make an appropriate bid on it. (Save Point opened in November.) He offered to sell it on consignment, which would charge a negotiable fee, somewhere between 15 and 20 per cent of the sale, but the woman wanted to sell it herself and keep all of the proceeds. She said it will probably be put up on eBay within the next month.

Hamm wished her well and, before she left, asked if he could take a picture of the rarest item ever to come through his door. “I felt honored just to hold it,” he said.

“It’s given people a lot of hope,” Hamm said, referring to this thread on the Nintendo Age forums. “People say that they never find anything at their Goodwill, well, the holy grail has been found there.”


  • wow, that’s in pretty good condition. I’ve got a copy of Stadium Events but it’s only the cartridge and I paid a lot more than $7.99US for it.

  • I wouldn’t veen know what the rarest game I have is. I’d need someone more well versed in this sort of thing to go through my collection. From what I know of rare games it could be any of the following:

    Twin Snakes for Cube
    Tetris DS
    Donkey Kong for Atari 2600
    MGS 3 Subsistence for PS2
    Record Of Lodoss War for Dreamcast
    Mike Tyson’s Punch Out NES

    But honestly I have no idea.

  • Best I’ve managed was a complete in box 3DO blaster from my local tip shop for $10 (only because I didn’t have change on me and used eftpos)..

  • Reminds me of a story by Neil Gaiman… forget what it was called… it was about a little old lady who really DID find the holy grail (i.e. literally the holy grail) in her local op shop. I loved that story.

    • I believe that the story you’re thinking of was called ‘Chivalry’, and can be found in a couple of his short story collections.

      • Yep, it’s either Fragile Things or Smoke and Mirrors… literally finds the holy grail in an op shop. Then finds a genie lamp at the end of the story. <3 Neil Gaiman.

  • Video game collecting is much easier in the USA. In Australia you’re lucky to find a video game section that has proper disks for its PS2 games rather than any sort of title from a generation earlier than that.

    • Kinda… but I have bought – vectrex games – rare HES for NES, c64and 2600 – ntsc sonic – a lot of Amiga games boxed – sealed MD games – several rare ps1 games and several pong variants + game and watches from vinnies etc. The earlier stuff is drying up but there is still stuff to be found. I suppose you have to be lucky…

    • In fact I bought five cheap Snes games last week from cash converters and a tabletop Mario Cement Factory from an antiques store. Mario cost me several hundred – which goes to show – retailers ARE waking up to what this stuff is worth.

        • lol. on holidays and got 2 ps1 games this morning from vinnies for $2. Unfortunately they are only worth $2. – The Mario cement factory game I paid lots for – apparently came from a dealer who bought it at a garage sale!!! That’s luck!

  • I don’t really have anything rare, but in my years of retro collecting my best find has actually been given to me. My ex girlfriends Mum found two perfectly working Famicom’s (one in box) on a roadside collection somewhere in the suburbs of Perth. Pretty cool really since you don’t even see Famicom’s in shops since they’re a Japanese console.

  • haven’t found too much gold over the years but my best pick up has probably got to be 3 brand new almost immaculate copies of r-type 3 for the snes for $50 each. average to tatty copies tend to go for $100, so no idea what i’m sitting on yet. other than that various new super nintendo games from the same, now closed down retailer including, aero the acrobat (not 2 unfortunately) xcalibur 2097 and incantation. was also happy to get minty copies of ps1 ff7, 8 and 9 for $10 bucks each at cash cons.

    • the rarest/most valuable things i own but paid good money for include, snes mega man 7 pal and md the wily wars

  • I once sold my ps1 collection of all the discworld games I had managed to track down individually from all corners of the world for $300, I was happy with that (they are very rare these days apparently). Also sold the Ico which I had tried to add to my collection for a very long time, for $200.
    Love scouring garage sales and pawnshops as well as salvos/st vinnies for this kind of stuff

  • Hmm, I have an unopened Japanese Chrono Trigger for SNES… 3 copies of Castlevania SOTN 2x ps1, and Saturn copy import (all opened and well played :D… Games I’m proud of purchasing.
    No idea what they’re worth to others but I payed around $100 AUD for each.

  • Most valuable game I own is a copy of Wing Commander: Kilrathi Saga. Still sells for $250 on ebay and one copy sold for $799USD on ebay. I’d never sell it though, too much sentimental value.

  • The best deal I’ve ever found is a Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers 2 nes cart for $2.99 Someone at my local game store mispriced it as the first game. I also got a Bandit Kings of Ancient China nes cart for $6.99 shipping included on Amazon and a Mega Man 1 nes box on ebay for $5 shipping included.

  • I know where another original copy of gamma attack is cause I played it when I was a child! I just hope my uncle didn’t throw out the Atari and games because it belonged to my grandmother

  • The best treasure i’ve ever found in a good will store was an invader zim season one dvd set…
    For me it was a good find.

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