Super Mario Bros. Sealed Copy Breaks Record For Most Expensive Game Ever Sold
Super Mario Bros. broke record after 3 decades of its original release. A sealed copy of a US version of the 1985 game just sold for $114,000 at Heritage Auctions, breaking the previous record set by a copy of Super Mario Bros. in a similar copy that sold for $100,150 at an auction last year.
According to the game collector and journalist Chris Kohler, the most expensive game ever sold to date.
A sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. just sold at auction for $114,000, which is a new record for the sale of a single game. Bet the owners of the $100,000 one, which is an earlier printing, feel great today. pic.twitter.com/lVdcla8d19
— Chris Kohler (@kobunheat) July 10, 2020
What makes this particular version so expensive? Well, it’s graded at a 9.4 out of 10, which means it’s in near-perfect condition, with everything packed in the original packaging. It’s also a special version of the US retail edition, which went through a few iterations over time. Heritage explanation of the cardboard hang tab that makes this game so rare:
What’s the deal with cardboard hangtabs? one may, understandably, wonder. Cardboard hangtabs were originally used on the US test market copies of black box games, back before plastic was used to seal each game. As Nintendo began to further establish their company in the US, their packaging was updated almost continuously. Strangely, the addition of the plastic wrap came before the box cutting die was altered to remove the cardboard hangtab. This rendered the functionality of the cardboard hangtab completely useless, since it was under the plastic seal.
There are four sub-variants of the plastic sealed cardboard hangtab box (this particular copy of Super Mario Bros. being the “3 Code” variant) that were produced within the span of one year. Each sub-variant of the cardboard hangtab black box, produced within that timeframe, had a production period of just a few months; a drop in the bucket compared to the title’s overall production run.
In short, a cardboard hangtab copy of any early Nintendo Entertainment System game brings a certain air of “vintage” unrivaled by its successors.
Heritage also outlines the bigger picture in terms of the game’s value and nostalgia factor: it is the highest-selling game on the original NES console of all time, in addition to being the first entry in the Super Mario Bros. series and marking the series villain Bowser making its first appearance.