An unopened copy of Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. that had been bought in 1986 as a Christmas gift but sat forgotten in a desk drawer until recently was sold on Friday for $660,000, according to an auction house in Dallas.
The price was a record for a video game, the auction house, Heritage Auctions, said in a statement. That distinction was previously held by another copy of the same game, which sold for $114,000 in July.
The game that sold on Friday was purchased as a Christmas gift in 1986 but it had been placed in a desk drawer, where it remained undisturbed for 35 years, the statement said.
“It stayed in the bottom of my office desk this whole time since the day I bought it,” the seller, who asked not to be identified, told Heritage Auctions. “I never thought anything about it.”
Valarie McLeckie, who oversees video game sales at Heritage Auctions, said that the game was produced in late 1986 during a brief period when the games were sealed with plastic shrink wrap, rather than sticker seal, and before another packaging variation was introduced in 1987.
“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,” Ms. McLeckie said in the statement. “Never say never, but there’s a good chance it can’t be done.”
Here is what makes the version of Super Mario Bros. that sold today so special, according to Heritage Auctions:
Not only is this the finest plastic-sealed copy with a perforated cardboard hangtab we’ve ever offered of any black box title, it is also the oldest sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. we’ve ever had the opportunity to offer. This is only the fourth version of Super Mario Bros. ever produced, and its window of production was remarkably short. Just to paint a better picture of how short this really was — the nationwide release for the console came in mid to late 1986, and black box games distributed for that release did not have the “Game Pak NES-GP” code. It’s worth mentioning that Nintendo managed to add the trademark symbol to the Nintendo Entertainment System on their game boxes by the beginning of 1987. That certainly doesn’t leave much time at all for this variant to be produced in-between the two!