By: Nick Gambino
A sealed copy of the classic NES game Super Mario Bros. sold for a record-shattering $660,000 on April 2nd. That makes the Nintendo game the most expensive/valuable video game title in history.
An earlier record for the most expensive game ever sold was held by the same title when a sealed 3 code copy of Super Mario Bros. was auctioned for $114,000 by the same auction house. That was finally broken by a copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 which was sold for a cool $156,000.
Why this newest one sold for almost five times as much is made clear when you read the Heritage Auctions description of the game.
“Not only is this the finest plastic-sealed copy with a perforated cardboard hangtab we’ve ever offered of any black box title, it is also the oldest sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. we’ve ever had the opportunity to offer,” the description says. “This is only the fourth version of Super Mario Bros. ever produced, and its window of production was remarkably short.”
The game was released in the later part of 1986 and this particular copy does not bear the Game Pak NES-GP code that started being slapped on copies as early as the beginning of 1987. That means this $660,000 copy was pumped out in those early few months of production. Add in the fact that it’s in near-perfect condition and you can see why it fetched a pretty penny.
With the value of NFTs making headlines because buyers are shilling out millions of dollars for digital assets, it’s still heartening to see physical objects commanding top dollar. It’s not that NFTs should be dismissed but they can be created overnight, while it took over 30 years of preservation for this copy of Super Mario Bros. to appreciate in value. That means something more, I think.
The value of art or collectibles is directly linked to how much a buyer is willing to pay for it. It’s an arbitrary number. Once someone was willing to pay big for a sealed copy of a Mario game from over 30 years ago, sellers of similar collectibles were able to command similar pay days.
I guess the moral of this story is if you’ve still got an old Mario game, maybe check out how much that baby might be worth.