Tri-State Area game collectors may want to take out a second mortgage. The ultimate nerd basement, stacked to the rafters with classic video games and computers, will be put up on the auction block in New Jersey on May 31.
This is no mere hobbyist’s garage stash. Page through the photos taken by auctioneer Bodnar’s Auction and you can get a sense of the enormity of it all. There are vintage computers from all over the world, from common sights like the Apple II to never-heard-of-it obscurities like the Tano Dragon or the NEC Trek PC-6001. Often there are multiples of each machine, lined up in columns. There are towers of floppy drives and rows of monitors, all overhung with vast, cascading tangles of ribbon cables that seem to be growing like ivy. And there are games, games, games, thousands of them, crammed into every available nook or stacked Jenga-like in their candy-colored cardboard boxes.
Even more overwhelming than the sheer size of the collection is that all of it, down to the last ROM chip, will apparently be sold off on May 31 at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center.
The collection is owned by New Jerseyan Bill Loguidice, 45, an author of several books about vintage video games. He’s been amassing it since he was 7 years old, he told Kotaku, but it finally became more of a burden than a blessing. “I went from an active user to an active storer,” he wrote in an email. “That was never my intention. Once you pass a critical mass of stuff, it’s just too much and you end up being able to use very little of it.”
There’s an old adage in collecting: It’s easier to buy than to sell. What can be acquired in dribs and drabs over the better part of three decades is difficult to dispose of all at once. Parceling the collection out on eBay was one option, but “hardly would have been an efficient use of my time for the next several decades,” Loguidice said. He looked into donating his collection to a museum, but the size of it made that difficult: “They only wanted portions of the collection,” he said. Going with the auction house meant taking a lower price for everything, but it also meant the basement would be cleared out immediately. It’s now home to a gym, an office, a “makerspace” for crafting, and a much more sparsely furnished vintage computing room.
While 100 of the best pieces of the collection are set to be auctioned online, the vast majority of the tens of thousands of items will be sold in lots via the live auction. As the date gets closer, the auction site should be updated with the final listings—but you’ll have to be in Jersey to buy any of it.
“There’s just no way to properly explain or show what’s really in this auction,” Loguidice said. “I think whoever is fortunate enough to go to the physical auction will be in for quite an overwhelming surprise.”