An unopened 1985 copy of the iconic “Super Mario Bros.” video game has been sold for $100,150.
The sale set a new world record for a graded video game, according to Heritage Auctions, which participated in the purchase. The classic Nintendo title was graded by experts at Wata Games and received a “Near Mint” grade of 9.4 and a “Seal Rating” of A++, it said.
“Beyond the artistic and historical significance of this game is its supreme state of preservation,” said Kenneth Thrower, co-founder and chief grader of Wata Games, in a statement.
Thanks to its wild popularity, 11 different box variations of “Super Mario Bros.” were printed between 1985 and 1994, according to Heritage Auctions. “The first two variations are ‘sticker sealed’ copies that were only available in the New York and L.A. test market launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985 and 1986,” explained the auction house. “Of all the sealed copies of Super Mario Bros., this is the only known ‘sticker sealed’ copy.”
The game was purchased by a group of collectors on Feb. 6. The group includes Heritage Auctions Co-Chairman Jim Halperin, Zac Gieg, owner of Just Press Play Video Games and coin dealer and video game collector Rich Lecce, the owner of Robert B. Lecce Numismatist Inc.
“We all knew how hard it is to find an open copy of this version in nice condition, but to find one still sealed is truly something I thought I would never see, even after selling vintage video games for over 20 years,” said Gieg in the statement.
Gieg compared the video game to the historic comic book “Action Comics #1.” The comic, which was published in 1938, marks the first appearance of Superman. A rare, nearly flawless copy of the comic book sold for $3.2 million in 2014.
Dallas-based Heritage Auctions told Fox News that the sale was a private transaction. “The previous owner wishes to remain anonymous due to security concerns,” a spokesman for the auction house explained.
“I’m very happy with our purchase of the Super Mario Bros., considering the impact the release of this game had on the world and continues to have,” said Heritage Auctions’ Halperin, in the statement. The executive confirmed that “Super Mario Bros.” will not appear in an auction of video games later this month, but added that it may end up in an auction at some point in the future.
Vintage technology can command a hefty price tag. In 2014, for example, one of the first Apple-1 computers was sold at auction for $905,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers
By James Rogers