Rare Copy Of Super Mario Bros. Sells At Auction For Record-Breaking $114,000

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Photo: Heritage Auctions

A mint-condition sealed copy of the original Super Mario Bros. sold at auction for $114,000 on July 10, setting a new record for the sale of a single collectible video game. The previous record, a private sale for $100,150 in February 2019, was another sealed copy of Super Mario Bros.


“How the heck did they come up with that number?” you may be asking. Well, several reasons. The packaging is sealed, for one, and is graded at a near-perfect 9.4, meaning it’s distinctly free of wear and tear. It’s also an early printing of the game—not as early as the one sold in 2019, but early enough to still have the cardboard hangtab on the box, which stores were supposed to punch out and use to hang NES games on pegs, like action figures. (That didn’t last long.)

“In short, a cardboard hangtab copy of any early Nintendo Entertainment System game brings a certain air of ‘vintage’ unrivaled by its successors,” reads the game’s listing on Heritage Auctions.

As Kotaku reported last year, a new influx of collectors with significant amounts of cash to spend have entered the game collecting hobby recently, dropping lots of cash on sealed, mint-condition copies of the most popular games.

A similar copy of Super Mario Bros. rated at 8.0 sold for $40,200 in late June. Other recent NES auctions for sealed games include Punch-Out! for $50,400, Super Mario Bros. 3 for $38,400, and Contra for $21,600. Heritage Auctions also made waves back in March when they facilitated the sale of the rare “Nintendo Play Station” prototype for $360,000.

Here’s to the nerds with massive amounts of disposable income.


Implied Kappa

I’m not much of a rare game collector, but an online video game community Secret Santa about 10 years ago netted me a sealed copy of F-Zero for the SNES. I checked prices online and other new/sealed copies were selling for like $20. I wasn’t a fan of the game, so neither tempted to sell it or open it, I put it in a box, where it’s stayed through six moves.

I’m now seeing auctions valuing most copies around $40 to $400 (depending on how many synonyms for “rare” the seller tacks onto the description in all caps), with one outlier priced at $1100 for a non-Player’s Choice copy. Wait, what? Now, I know my copy of F-Zero’s not going to be an original print. I know I’m going to get home from work today and check, and it’s going to be a common-ass copy of F-Zero with a Player’s Choice ribbon on it, significant only for still being wrapped in 30-year-old plastic, maybe tripling its value. 

But it’s stories like this that activate that crazy section of my brain that wants to believe that one of these days I’m going to look in a shoebox and find a gold copy of 1990 Nintendo World Championships and say, “Oh wow, I forgot all about this old thing,” and then I’m going to sell it and have enough money to take a few years off of work and go back to school for my master’s and stop worrying about which brand of peanut butter is 1.7 cents cheaper per ounce.

I can see the F-Zero box in my head. There’s a ribbon on it. And even if there weren’t and it is rare, best-case scenario, I get, like, 80% of my rent taken care of for one month.

But I’m not gonna not check.