A sealed copy of Super Mario. Bros. has become the most expensive video game of all time after it sold at auction for an eye-watering $114,000.
The 1985 cartridge, sold on Friday, 10th July during a public auction of vintage comics and art by Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, has been sealed for 35 years. It took 29 bids to push the final sale price beyond the previous record-holder: $100,150 for another mint copy of Super Mario Bros. sold in February 2019. According to Heritage Auctions, the buyer wishes to remain anonymous.
So why was this cart considered so special? It’s the highest-graded (9.4 out of 10) sealed Super Mario Bros. game cartridge ever offered at public auction, and even retains its original cardboard hangtab – a quality that makes it vintage among collectors.
“It was part of one of the short production runs of the game packaged in boxes with a cardboard hangtab underneath the plastic, an indication that it was part of one of the first variants produced after Nintendo started using shrink-wrap to seal the games rather than stickers,” Heritage Auctions explained.
Super Mario Bros. wasn’t the only big-selling game sold on Friday at the auction. A Sega Pluto-02 Console Prototype – Sega (c. 1995-1996), brought a winning bid of $84,000. The prototype, from Sega’s cancelled project to create a second model of the Sega Saturn console, never was released to the public before Friday.
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! – Wata 9.2 B Sealed (Rev-A, Round SOQ, Mid-Production), NES Nintendo 1987 USA prompted bids from 27 collectors before finishing at $50,400.
And the first sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 – Wata 9.0 A Sealed (Bros. “Left”, First Production), NES Nintendo 1990 USA drew a winning bid of $38,400. The variant’s nickname refers to the formatting of “Bros.” on the front of the box, which confirms this copy is from the earliest production run of the title, effectively equal to a first printing. This is believed to be one of fewer than 10 in existence.