A sealed cartridge off The legend of Zelda sold on Friday for $ 870,000, making it the cheapest video game ever sold at auction. The sale broke the previous record owned by the sale of a sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. that went to $ 660,000 in April. Both games were sold by Heritage Auctions and the price of each includes a 20% buyer’s fee.
The deal dwarfs previous sales of The legend of Zelda performed by the auction site. Prior to this, another high-end cartridge of the game sold for $ 50,400 in September 2020, making this sale approx. 17 times the price of the former.
What accounted for the exorbitant price increase? Well, this one is factory sealed and rated at 9.0 A sealed by Wata (where ten is the highest possible rating). But beyond its condition, much of its value comes down to this: It is the only copy from one of the earliest production runs that the auction site has had the opportunity to offer, and which the list says may have to offer for many more year.
“It is widely believed that the copy sold on Friday is one of only two sealed ‘NESTM’ copies classified by Wata,” a statement said. The cartridge is a rare variant version of The legend of Zelda which was only produced for a few months at the end of 1987, before being replaced by another. “Essentially, this copy is the earliest sealed copy one could realistically hope to get,” the auction description said.
That combined with the extensive interest and cultural significance of The Legend of Zelda franchise as a whole created a highly desirable item. You can read a complete description from the auction here:
The Legend of Zelda – Wata 9.0 A sealed [No Rev-A, Round SOQ, Early Production], NES Nintendo 1987 USA. Indeed, the term “grail” only begins to scratch the surface by describing this game. Of all the games we have offered at our auctions, this is the sealed, early production copy of the first game in the groundbreaking The legend of Zelda series is without a doubt the apotheosis of rarity, cultural significance and center. A proverbial trifecta of collector perfection that only one gets the honor of calling their own.
While it’s a hard truth, it’s still a truth – none of the copies we’re previously offered of this title could even try to keep a light on this one because of its incredibly rare variant, which has early production status. . This case is completely indisputable. This is the only copy from one of the earliest production runs that we have ever had the opportunity to offer and may have the opportunity to offer for many years to come. Given that this variant was only produced for a few months in late 1987, before it was eventually replaced by the “Rev-A” variant in early 1988, this statement probably comes as no surprise. for collectors. Only one other variant precedes the offered “NES R” variant, and that is the “NES TM” variant, which is the real first production run. However, it is also widely assumed that there is only a single sealed “NESTM” specimen, and there is no indication that this copy will ever hit the market. In essence, this copy is the earliest sealed copy one could realistically hope to obtain.
So if you happen to be the lucky person with an extra $ 870,000 $, congratulations, you just got a really nice, really rare Zelda. Just do not open it!