An employee at a Goodwill in Texas found an extremely rare Atari 2600 game and the company held an online auction to sell the game. After a week, on June 17, it sold for $10,590.
Earlier this month, Alex Juarez, a Goodwill e-commerce item processor in Texas, was searching through donated video games and electronics. In one of the many boxes he dug through he discovered something very rare, a copy of Air Raid, an Atari 2600 game released in 1982 and published by Men-A-Vision.
It’s not a very good game, featuring generic space combat, but its distinctive blue cartridge design, complete with a T-shaped handle on top, made it unique. When compared to most Atari carts, which were brown and boxy, Air Raid looked like something from a different planet. However, what really makes Air Raid so rare is how few copies were printed. Previously, only 12 copies of the game have been sold, and it’s believed that there aren’t many more out there to be found.
Once Goodwill realized what it had, it planned an online auction through its website, which went live on June 10 and lasted a week. According to Goodwill, it was added to 235 watchlists and after seven days it sold for $10,590.79. That’s a lot of money, especially when you realize that this is just for the cart. The box and packaging weren’t donated to Goodwill, most likely lost to time. A more complete edition of the game that included the original packaging sold for over $30,000 back in 2012.
Goodwill is a large, globally organized nonprofit charity group that operates many different services and programs. It also runs over 150 stores around North America. These stores take in donated items and sell them at a lower cost, which helps provide income for the organization and also makes things like clothes and furniture more accessible to folks who can’t afford to shop at bigger stores.
In a press release Liz Confiliano, Community Engagement Director for Goodwill, explained that the money earned from this sale could do a lot of good. “With the $10,000 earned from the sale of this one item,” said Confiliano “Goodwill North Central Texas can provide day habilitation services for a year for one adult with disabilities; or provide 20 homeless individuals with job placement services and community resources; or help 10 at-risk youth earn their GED and a paycheck at the same time.”
I hope the person who donated Air Raid to Goodwill did so on purpose and knew it would allow the group to help more people. Though it’s also possible some older parent or grandparent was cleaning out a bedroom or attic and just didn’t realize the prized piece of plastic they were donating. Either way, this story has a happy ending.