A rare, sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. for the NES sold for just over $30,000 on eBay Wednesday. No, that’s not a typo.
Classic video game trader DKOldies put the copy of the 1985 game up on eBay a week ago at a starting bid of one cent, CEO Drew Steimel said. Bids started coming in quickly, and the auction hit $6,000 a few hours before closing.
“The last minute it started climbing up,” Steimel said. “And then in the last 10 seconds it went from $6,000 to $30,000, and I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh.'”
He said that’s the most amount DKOldies has ever been paid for an individual game (and the payer did actually pay it wasn’t a fake). They also put up about 10 or 12 other perfect-looking games that Steimel kept in the office, and were expecting to make something in the $10,000 range for the whole lot.
One of the other games put up for sale, Kid Icarus (sold with three other, less popular games), had a similar mad dash near the end of its auction.
“I was in the car at the time, I was driving and my wife was trying to refresh the page on her phone,” Steimel said. “She said, ‘Well, it’s at $2,000,’ and she refreshed, which took a while, and I’m like, ‘Well, OK, Kid Icarus went for $2,000.'”
“Oh my god it went for $11,000,” Steimel’s wife said.
The copy of Super Mario Bros. wound up fetching $30,100.44 soon after.
The high price tag is pretty unusual for a copy of Super Mario Bros., which was one of the most ubiquitous NES games ever. A copy of the game typically goes for $10 to $15, Steimel said.
So what made this one so valuable? Steimel said some knowledgeable collectors at the NintendoAge forum had the answer.
“They said the reason that game went for so much was because Mario was always sold in the system,” Steimel said. “You bought it with the system, it came in the box. This particular copy was from before that happened, before Nintendo decided to bundle them. They only did it for a short time.”
You can tell it’s a super-rare, super-early copy of Super Mario Bros. because of the hangtag on the back of the box, meaning it was meant to be sold on store racks, not bundled in with the NES.
A member of NintendoAge estimated that there are only about a dozen sealed copies of Super Mario Bros. with the hangtag and this one in particular is likely in the best condition.
Steimel said that people who are unaware of this copy’s unique qualities have accused him of price gauging because they’ve never seen a copy of Super Mario Bros. sell for that much before.
“I only put it out at a penny,” Steimel said with a laugh.
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