Sealed copies of classic games can go for a lot of money, but one collector tried to hit the jackpot with a sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. on History Channel’s Pawn Stars.
The collector brought in a Wata-certified sticker-sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System, which was released in the United States in 1985. It’s a game that defined not only the NES but an entire generation.
“That’s pretty amazing,” Pawn Stars‘ Rick Harrison says. “I know some of them go for a lot of money.”
This particular copy of the game received an A++ rating from Wata Games, which rates the quality of games for video game collectors. An A++ rating means that the game is in “like new” or “case fresh” condition.
Due to its rarity and condition, the owner of the game asked for $1 million. That price would easily make it the most expensive video game ever sold. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Super Mario Bros. is actually the game that currently holds that title. A sealed test-market copy of the classic game sold for over $100,000 earlier this year.
Harrison called in the experts at Wata Games to give their opinion. The company’s founder, Deniz Khan, appeared on the show to provide his expertise.
“I know why he’s asking astronomical money on this one,” Khan says. “This is probably the most significant piece of video game history that’s ever passed through our grading company.”
It turns out that this particular copy of the game is also a test-market copy and second print.
“It’s the earliest known. There’s no other second prints – or even first prints – known that are still sealed,” Khan says, adding that he estimates around 10,000 test-market copies were printed. “How many of those survived sealed? One, as far as we know.”
Harrison, however, wanted to know how much the game was worth. After all, he needed to make a profit and the collector was asking for a million buckeroos.
“It’s really hard to tell,” Khan says. “As video games are starting to be viewed more as art and history, not just these relics of nostalgia, this is it. This is the one that started it all. It’s got the trifecta. It’s got rarity. It’s got popularity. Everyone knows Mario. And it’s got significance to collectors. But with things like this, it’s high risk, high reward.”
Ultimately, Harrison decided against purchasing the game due to its price, but Pawn Stars was able to give viewers a little bit of a video game history lesson out of it.