On November 20, online auction site Heritage Auctions reportedly sold a copy of 1990 NES title Super Mario Bros. 3 for $156,000. This sets a new record as the most amount of money for which a single video game has been sold. The previous record, set earlier this year, was held by a copy of the original Super Mario Bros., also for the NES, which sold for $114,000.
The reason for this particular copy’s high value was not just its sealed state but also its non-standard packaging, The word “Bros.” on the cover, rather than being located in the center of the design, was formatted slightly to the left so that it was printed on top of one of Mario’s white gloves. This is a particularly early version of the Super Mario Bros. 3 packaging, and very few copies were ever made or released.
Bidding for the game began at $62,000. Twenty different bidders participated in the auction, raising the price nearly a full $100,000 from the initial listing.
Heritage Auctions, which bills itself as the world’s largest source of collectible auctions, has made a number of exciting video game sales in 2020. Earlier this month, a copy of Pokemon Red sold for $84,000, making it the highest selling Pokemon title of all time. Vintage video game consoles, including an early model of the original Sony PlayStation, have sold for more than $300,000.
While this particular copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 is valuable primarily due to its unique packaging, the game itself also made a huge cultural impact when it initially released. It remains one of the most highly rated games for the original NES, and introduced a number of elements which would become standard in later Mario titles, including a large overworld map, the Ground Pound move, and the Tanooki Suit power-up.
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