All the way back at E3 2002, Nintendo was promoting its new e-Reader platform by handing out prize cards on the showroom floor. The winning cards were all presumed to have been either lost or destroyed, but one has just (reportedly) emerged from the void and is up for sale on eBay.
As this 2007 story recalls, Nintendo reps at E3 2002 were giving out packs of e-Reader cards to attendees, and among them were certain Kirby cards whose only purpose was to serve as part of a competition. There were three different results you could get from these otherwise identical cards; a “no prize” result on the most common cards, 100 “second prize” cards and only ten “first place” ones.
If you ever got a “first place” card you had to hand it over to Nintendo to claim your prize, and those cards were then destroyed, which is what led to the “first place” Kirby cards becoming supposedly the rarest E-Reader card out there, both because of their number but also because E3 attendance in 2002 was so limited.
A word of caution before we go any further: while the seller has a long-running account dating all the way back to 2005, with a 100% seller rating, this card hasn’t been independently verified, or had its condition graded.
That said, they do claim that the card has been swiped in an e-Reader to confirm it was a winner, and have provided photos of a Game Boy Advance and e-Reader setup showing the congratulatory message. There’s even video of the card being swiped:
As such, if it’s proven genuine it won’t be mint, but then given the card’s origins and need to be tested for verification purposes that would be expecting a bit much.
The card is currently sitting at USD$1,500 at auction, though if you’re feeling both lucky and loose with your cash, there’s an unopened pack of e-Reader cards from E3 2002 (that might also contain a Kirby winner) for $4,400.
Update: 08.52, 7/19/21: The bidding, just a few hours later, is now at $6,500.