While it might not have generated as much as Beeple’s recent NFT sale, a sealed cartridge of Super Mario Bros for the NES just crushed the record for the most expensive video game auction ever sold going for a whopping $US660,000 ($867,966).
According to Heritage Auctions, the recent auction for this pristine Super Mario Bros cart beat the previous record set last year by over half a million dollars when a copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 sold for $US156,000 ($205,156) in Nov. 2020. Heritage Auctions says that the reason for the big jump in price is that the sealed cart is simply the “finest copy known to have been professionally graded for auction,” earning a 9.6 A+ rating from Wata.
However, the origin story behind the cart might be even more impressive than its auction price, as the seller of the sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. (who wishes to remain anonymous) said the game was originally purchased as a Christmas gift in 1985, before being forgotten in a desk drawer and left untouched for more than 35 years.
On top of being the highest quality Super Mario Bros. cart ever seen, Heritage Auctions says the item is also the oldest factory sealed copy the company has ever sold, which no doubt influenced the final price. The previous record sale for a copy of Super Mario Bros came last year when a slightly lower quality copy sold in July for $US114,000 ($149,921).
Heritage Auctions video games director Valarie McLeckie said “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,” though McLeckie added that the final price definitely exceeded expectations.
And while it might seem rather quaint in a time when NFT art sales seem to be ruling the net, when all is said and done, the new owner will get to own an essentially pristine physical copy of one of the greatest games ever made, instead of a digital token attached to the blockchain somewhere. Now isn’t that refreshing?