It’s crazy to see how much collectibles can fetch and this article really caught our eye. The original Super Mario Bros. sealed in box (from the original NY/LA launch period) just sold for $100,150! Who says video games can’t be an investment? A good rule of thumb is to buy two of everything so you have on to open and enjoy and one to sell 30 years down the road for big bucks!
An unopened copy of Super Mario Bros., the classic video game released by Nintendo in 1985, set a world record for a graded game when it recently sold for $100,150.
“Beyond the artistic and historical significance of this game is its supreme state of preservation,” says Kenneth Thrower, co-founder and chief grader of Wata Games.
Due to its popularity, Nintendo reprinted Super Mario Bros. from 1985 to 1994 numerous times, resulting in 11 different box variations (according to this visual guide). The first two variations are “sticker sealed” copies that were only available in the New York and L.A. test market launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985 and 1986. Of all the sealed copies of Super Mario Bros., this is the only known “sticker sealed” copy and was certified by Wata Games with a Near Mint grade of 9.4 and a “Seal Rating” of A++.
“Not only are all of NES sticker sealed game’ extremely rare, but by their nature of not being sealed in shrink wrap they usually exhibit significant wear after more than 30 years,” Thrower said. “This game may be the condition census of all sticker sealed NES games known to exist.”
A group of collectors joined forces Feb. 6 to purchase the game, including some of the biggest names in video games and collectibles as a whole. The buyers include Jim Halperin, Founder and Co-Chairman of Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Texas; Zac Gieg, owner of Just Press Play Video Games in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Rich Lecce, renowned coin dealer, pioneering video game collector, and owner of Robert B. Lecce Numismatist Inc of Boca Raton, Florida.
“Super Mario Bros. is not only the most recognizable game of all time, it saved the video game industry in 1985,” said Wata Games President, Deniz Kahn. “In terms of rarity, popularity, and relevance to collectors, this game has it all. Mario is the most recognized fictional or non-fictional character in the world, more so than even Mickey Mouse. Super Mario Bros. launched the world’s largest game franchise and this copy is the only known sealed example from Nintendo’s test market release.
“I would have loved nothing more than to be a part-owner, and even though this game was already certified, I didn’t want the remote perception of any conflict of interest due to my position at Wata,” Kahn said.
Gieg called this example the equivalent of the valuable comic book, Action Comics #1. “This is first appearance of Superman of video games,” he said. “We all knew how hard it is to find an open copy of this version in nice condition, but to find one still sealed is truly something I thought I would never see, even after selling vintage video games for over 20 years”
“More and more collectors from other fields are discovering how much fun it is to collect video games,” says Lecce. “It’s a very exciting time for our industry, especially with Heritage Auctions entering the secondary market for collectible vintage video games. With upcoming movie projects and three Nintendo-themed Universal amusement parks slated to open in 2020, the impact and popularity these characters have on our culture will be that much more apparent to new collectors entering the market.”
Wata-certified video games have been selling for record prices ever since Heritage began auctioning them in January. While many video games sell regularly for five figures, breaking the six-figure mark shows that the hobby’s upward trajectory indicates no signs of slowing down, Kahn said.
“I’m very happy with our purchase of the Super Mario Bros., considering the impact the release of this game had on the world and continues to have,” said Halperin. “The first Signature Auctions featuring Wata-certified video games run this February 21-23, and while this copy won’t appear in this auction, it just may end up in an auction sometime in the future.”
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.
Heritage Auctions took the first step into a new area of collectibles when the first offering of 25 certified and graded collectible video games were made a bid debut Jan. 13 in its Sunday Internet Comics, Animation & Art Auction.
“A lot of collectors are just as passionate about their childhood games as their childhood cards or comics,” Heritage Auctions Vice President Barry Sandoval said. “We thought these certified games would do well, and we weren’t disappointed.”
The games are graded, certified and housed in protective cases by Denver-based Wata Games, offering consistency and objectivity that can be achieved only through an independent, third-party grader.
More than 30 collectors pursued The Legend of Zelda (NES, Nintendo, 1987) Wata 9.4 B+ (Seal Rating) until it ultimately sold for $3,360 to claim top-lot honors. The Classic Series version marked the last release of the game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The copy offered here includes the grey, three-screw version of the cartridge. Sealed versions of this NES title are exceptionally difficult to locate, especially in such a high grade.
Excitebike (NES, Nintendo, 1985) Wata 8.5 A (Seal Rating) also sparked a flurry of bids from nearly two dozen collectors before drawing $1,140. One of the launch titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System, this copy is a Revision-A game with a round Seal of Quality (SOQ), which indicates it is a later revision of the title. Excitebike was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, who is known best for creating iconic Nintendo titles like Mario, Donkey Kong and Starfox.
A copy of the first game in the longstanding Dragon Quest series, Dragon Warrior (NES, Nintendo, 1989) Wata 8.5 A (Seal Rating) brought $660 from the most eager among 17 bidders. Originally released in Japan as Dragon Quest, it was renamed by Nintendo for release to Western markets. To promote the game, Nintendo of America offered the game for free to new and renewing subscribers to their Nintendo Power magazine. While not initially a huge success, the Nintendo Power giveaway ensured success for the franchise. This game inspired 10 direct sequels and multiple spinoffs.
Other top lots included, but were not limited to:
“These were just the tip of the iceberg,” Sandoval said. “We’re going to auction more every week, and we have some real rarities on tap for our February signature auction.”
[Source: Heritage Auctions]