An unopened copy of Super Mario Bros. has sold for $660,000, smashing the world record for a video game sale. The previous record was $114,000 for another sealed copy of Super Mario Bros.
The copy of the NES classic sold on Friday at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. It is the finest known copy of the oldest sealed hangtab Super Mario Bros.
The game was labelled "Super Mario Bros. - Wata 9.6 A+ Sealed [Hangtab, 1 Code, Mid-Production], NES Nintendo 1985 USA".
So why is this particular copy of Super Mario Bros. so valuable? It's only the fourth version of Super Mario Bros. ever produced, and its window of production was remarkably short, Heritage Auctions said. The nationwide US release for the NES came in mid-to-late 1986, and black box games distributed for that release did not have the "Game Pak NES-GP" code. Nintendo added the trademark symbol to the NES on its game boxes by the beginning of 1987. That means this copy of the game can be dated to some point between late 1986 and the beginning of 1987 - a short production run indeed.
"This particular copy was produced in late 1986, and it was one of the earliest copies produced that had plastic shrink wrap, rather than sticker seal," Heritage Auctions video games director Valarie McLeckie said.
"By early 1987, Nintendo was producing a version that had another new variation to their original packaging (an additional 'code'). Since the production window for this copy and others like it was so short, finding another copy from this same production run in similar condition would be akin to looking for a single drop of water in an ocean. Never say never, but there's a good chance it can't be done."
Heritage Auctions said the game was bought in late 1986 as a Christmas gift but ended up inside a desk drawer, where it remained untouched for 35 years. It was then discovered earlier this year.
"It stayed in the bottom of my office desk this whole time since the day I bought it," said the seller, who asked not to be identified. "I never thought anything about it."