A mint-condition sealed copy of the original Super Mario Bros. sold at auction for $US114,000 ($163,305) on July 10, setting a new record for the sale of a single collectible video game. The previous record, a private sale for $US100,150 ($143,465) in February 2019, was another sealed copy of Super Mario Bros.
“How the heck did they come up with that number?” you may be asking. Well, several reasons. The packaging is sealed, for one, and is graded at a near-perfect 9.4, meaning it’s distinctly free of wear and tear. It’s also an early printing of the game — not as early as the one sold in 2019, but early enough to still have the cardboard hangtab on the box, which stores were supposed to punch out and use to hang NES games on pegs, like action figures. (That didn’t last long.)
“In short, a cardboard hangtab copy of any early Nintendo Entertainment System game brings a certain air of ‘vintage’ unrivalled by its successors,” reads the game’s listing on Heritage Auctions.
As Kotaku reported last year, a new influx of collectors with significant amounts of cash to spend have entered the game collecting hobby recently, dropping lots of cash on sealed, mint-condition copies of the most popular games.
A similar copy of Super Mario Bros. rated at 8.0 sold for $US40,200 ($57,587) in late June. Other recent NES auctions for sealed games include Punch-Out! for $US50,400 ($72,198), Super Mario Bros. 3 for $US38,400 ($55,008), and Contra for $US21,600 ($30,942). Heritage Auctions also made waves back in March when they facilitated the sale of the rare “Nintendo Play Station” prototype for $US360,000 ($515,700).
Here’s to the nerds with massive amounts of disposable income.