Due to its popularity, Nintendo reissued Super Mario Bros numerous times from 1985 to 1994 with 11 different box variations. Most were made in huge numbers but the first two were only available to customers in New York and Los Angeles during a ‘soft’ launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985-86. As these were ‘sticker sealed’ rather than shrink wrapped most typically exhibit significant wear after more than 30 years.
Of all the unopened early copies of Super Mario Bros., this is the only known ‘sticker sealed’ copy that has been awarded a Near Mint grade of 9.4 and a Seal Rating of A++.
A group of collectors joined forces to purchase the game for $80,000/£62,000 ($100,150 including premium) at Heritage Auctions in Dallas on February 6. The consortium included Jim Halperin, the founder and co-chairman of Heritage Auctions, Rich Lecce, pioneering video game collector and owner of Robert B Lecce Numismatist of Boca Raton, Florida and Zac Gieg, owner of Just Press Play Video Games in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Gieg compared his co-purchase to the Golden Age comic book Action Comics #1. “This is first appearance of the Superman of video games,” he said. “We all knew how hard it is to find an open copy of this version in nice condition, but to find one still sealed is truly something I thought I would never see, even after selling vintage video games for over 20 years”.
Heritage Auctions began selling vintage video games, each professionally graded by Wata Games, in January.