DALLAS — The finest known copy of the oldest sealed hangtab Super Mario Bros. video game smashed the previous record for the most ever paid for a video game when it sold Friday for $660,000 in Heritage Auctions' Comics & Comic Art Auction.
Super Mario Bros. - Wata 9.6 A+ Sealed [Hangtab, 1 Code, Mid-Production], NES Nintendo 1985 USA is the finest copy known to have been professionally graded for auction. The previous world record for a copy of Super Mario Bros. was $114,000, which was set in July 2020 at Heritage.
"As soon as this copy of Super Mario Bros. arrived at Heritage, we knew the market would find it just as sensational as we did," Heritage Auctions Video Games Director Valarie McLeckie said. "Even so, the degree to which this game was embraced outside the market has been nothing short of exceptional, and that aspect of this sale has certainly exceeded our expectations. Though, I suppose we can't be too shocked; who doesn't love Mario?"
The classic Nintendo video game was purchased in late 1986 as a Christmas gift, but ended up being placed inside a desk drawer, where it remained untouched for 35 years, before being discovered earlier this year. "It stayed in the bottom of my office desk this whole time since the day I bought it," said the seller, who asked not to be identified. "I never thought anything about it."
The game was the lead lot in an auction that featured the largest selection of high-end video games ever offered in a single auction at Heritage, both in variety and in the number of lots offered. It is a pristine example of a variant for this title that was produced for an extraordinarily short period of time.
While its desirability is fueled by its variant's rarity, and this is only further compounded by its elite level of preservation. Not only is it the finest sealed copy with a perforated cardboard of any black box title ever offered by Heritage Auctions, it is also the oldest factory sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. ever offered by Heritage.
"This particular copy was produced in late 1986, and it was one of the earliest copies produced that had plastic shrink wrap, rather than sticker seal." McLeckie said. "By early 1987, Nintendo was producing a version that had another new variation to their original packaging (an additional "code").
"Since the production window for this copy and others like it was so short, finding another copy from this same production run in similar condition would be akin to looking for single drop of water in an ocean. Never say never, but there's a good chance it can't be done."
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