New Record! Mario’s been at it again and has set a new record for video game prices at the most recent Heritage Auction event, where a sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. sold for $660k.
“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. 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?” – Heritage Auctions Video Games Director Valarie McLeckie
When asked about where they got the game, the seller (who chose not to be identified), said “It stayed in the bottom of my office desk this whole time since the day I bought it,” and that they, “never thought anything about it.” One imagines that the seller is happy they thought about it recently to get it appraised given the amount of money it made them.
Valarie McLeckie explained a bit more about what made this particular version so valuable:
“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.” 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.”
The high quality of the game is viewed by its 9.6 A+ rating from Wata, and all the factors mentioned by Valarie combined with the soaring marketing to create a record price for the auction, one that is about a four times leap on the previous record held by Super Mario Bros 3. A version of that game with the rare printing of Bros. on the left, sold for 156k in November last year to become the most expensive video game ever sold at auction.
This isn’t the first Super Mario Bros. first time in the auction market either. In July of last year, it was one of the many signs of the market increase when it sold for a then-record 114k on Heritage Auction, a number that is little more than a sixth of today’s price, albeit for a game later in print run and slightly worst quality.
That said, we are probably not seeing the end of this yet. Frank Cifaldi of the Video Game History Foundation pointed to this as another reason to believe there will be a million dollar Super Mario Bros. sale in our lifetime. Given the market for both video game and Pokemon trading cards, I’m not inclined to disagree.