Following the death of a Floyd Knobs, Indiana homeowner, a sealed copy of the 1988 video game Super Mario Bros. 2 sold for $88,550 at a recent estate sale.
According to auction house Harritt Group Inc., the perfect cartridge was discovered behind a box of Nintendo games in the back of Patricia Martin's packed walk-in closet.
"At first glimpse, it brought back fond memories of vintage Nintendo games. Super Mario Brothers, Duck Hunt, Qix, and even a NES console were all there. So we did what any 1990s kid would do: we turned on the system and tried out the free games. The Harritt Group said in the item's description, "It was a fantastic day!" "On second thought, it was something completely else. An remarkable unopened copy of Super Mario Bros 2 was included in the seemingly ordinary collection."
The popular game's unopened copy achieved a near-mint condition grade of 9.8 A+.
Harritt Group Inc. sold the rare collectable to a Florida businessman during a two-week auction. The money will be divided among Martin's family members, who hail from Lenoir City, Tennessee.
Trading cards, comic books, ticket stubs, and video games have all become popular collectibles among financial speculators looking to profit from hard-to-find cultural artifacts. Earlier this year, a 9.8-rated edition of Super Mario 64 broke the record for the most expensive video game ever sold at auction, fetching $1.5 million.
A 9.6-rated edition of Spiderman's first comic book appearance earned the record for the most expensive comic book ever sold in September. Heritage Auctions sold Amazing Fantasy No. 15 from 1962 for $3.6 million.
For collectors and investors alike, the collectibles boom has produced hostile and even dangerous conditions.
Following a high-profile assault on a Wisconsin Target store in May over sports trading cards, the national retailer decided to remove Pokemon and sports trading cards from shop shelves nationwide, citing safety concerns for both customers and employees.
In May, a robber stole more than $50,000 worth of unopened sports trading card boxes from a Knoxville collectibles store, making off with some of the most sought-after items. A memorabilia business in Lexington, Kentucky had been robbed of an estimated $25,000 in sports cards just a few days before.