An ultra-rare edition of the classic NES game Super Mario Bros. sold for over $600K at a recent auction. This particular edition of the Nintendo game is different from the cartridge that sold in July 2020 for another astronomical number. According to Heritage, who oversaw the auction, this edition of the game "is a pristine example of a variant for this title that was produced for an extraordinarily short period of time." Classic video games are big money these days, especially when they're still in the original shrink wrap.
The latest sealed edition of the Super Mario Bros. cartridge, which was first introduced in 1985, is said to have an "elite level of preservation." Heritage states, "Not only is it the finest sealed copy with a perforated cardboard of any black box title ever offered by Heritage Auctions, it is also the oldest factory sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. ever offered by Heritage." The game was sold for $660K, which even shocked Heritage. Heritage Auctions Video Games Director Valarie McLeckie had this to say.
"This particular copy was produced in late 1986, and it was one of the earliest copies produced that had plastic shrink wrap, rather than sticker seal. By early 1987, Nintendo was producing a version that had another new variation to their original packaging (an additional 'code'). Since the production window for this copy and others like it was so short, finding another copy from this same production run in similar condition would be akin to looking for single drop of water in an ocean. Never say never, but there's a good chance it can't be done."
The Super Mario Bros. seller says he purchased the video game as a gift back in 1986, but it somehow got lost in a drawer for 35 years. "It stayed in the bottom of my office desk this whole time since the day I bought it," the said the unidentified seller. "I never thought anything about it." Heritage knew that the NES cartridge was going to go for big money right away. "As soon as this copy of Super Mario Bros. arrived at Heritage, we knew the market would find it just as sensational as we did," says Valarie McLeckie.
Valarie McLeckie went on to say that the bidding war was still surprising, despite knowing the love for Super Mario Bros. "The degree to which this game was embraced outside the market has been nothing short of exceptional, and that aspect of this sale has certainly exceeded our expectations." The variant of Super Mario Bros. that sold for over $100K in July was because it came at a time when Nintendo packaged the games "in boxes with a cardboard hang tab underneath the plastic."
Nintendo games haven't always been hot ticket collectibles. Analysts started to see a trend at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, mostly having to do with factory sealed cartridges. Collectors have been able to secure sealed titles for a little over $1,000 and quickly flip them for at least 10 times that amount, due to new collectors on the hunt for a piece of their childhood. Even games like Mega Man are selling for over $75K, so it might be a good idea to go hunting for any possible sealed NES games up in the attic. The New York Times was one of the first outlets to report on the Super Mario Bros. record breaking auction.