It isn’t a stretch to say that most video game enthusiasts have a certain affection for Super Mario Bros., and it’s pretty much a guarantee that classic video game collectors treasure vintage copies of the iconic platformer a bit more than other titles. For that reason, a sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. from an early print run recently sold at auction for over $30,000.
The transaction took place over eBay yesterday afternoon, where the buyer purchased the mint-condition title for $30,100.44 USD. Longtime vintage game seller DKOldies, based out of Pennsylvania, initially listed the pristine copy of Super Mario Bros. under a no-reserve auction and set the bidding at one penny.
The seller’s CEO Drew Steimel reported that the game, as well as a handful of other like-new and unwrapped NES titles, had been laying in his office for quite some time. After years of simply sitting there, the game was put up for auction when Steimel decided he needed to let it go. Thankfully, Steimel’s parting of ways proved fruitful, and the buyer has already coughed up the $30,000 for the mint condition Super Mario Bros.
As far as how Steimel got his hands on such a flawless vintage title, even he doesn’t know. “I wish I knew how I got it,” he revealed to Kotaku. The collector/seller indicated that the title was traded in to DKOldies as part of a collection years ago.
The copy of Super Mario Bros. in question is in incredibly good condition and has been kept sealed in its original shrinkwrap, but its merits don’t stop there. It’s also a very early copy of the iconic NES game, and has remained in the vintage “hangtab”-style packaging, which includes a perforated tab on the rear side that can be popped out to allow players to hang the game on a peg.
A seasoned game collector on the NintendoAge forums stated that there are likely only a dozen hangtab sealed Super Mario Bros. games out there, with this copy having great potential to be in the nicest condition, making it a so-called “‘name your price’ copy.”
While this purchase is undoubtedly astonishing, learning that rare video games have sold for five and even six-figure prices is becoming more common. Recently, a sealed copy of the supremely treasured NES title Stadium Events sold for $42,000 USD, with loose and boxed copies going for upwards of $10,000 USD.
What makes this particular sale of Super Mario Bros. interesting is that an unwrapped version of the game would only cost about $10 or $15 USD. This wide gap goes to show that extreme price differentials in vintage game collecting are beginning to form, a trend that will likely grow more prevalent as the high-end hobby gains more traction and popularity.