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E.T. cartridges from Atari landfill go for more than $1,500 on eBay

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Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The first cartridges unearthed from Atari's legendary landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico have been sold on eBay, with multiple copies of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 commanding more than $1,500, despite their damaged and dirty state.

The highest current bid for a crushed but authentic copy of E.T. from the dumping ground was $1,537.

The city of Alamogordo, through the Tularosa Basin Historical Society, put 100 cartridges excavated from the landfill on eBay last week. The lot included Atari 2600 games like Asteroids, Centipede, Defender and the infamous E.T., which brought in the highest bids. Copies of games like Missile Command and Star Raiders came in at the low end of bidding; one copy of Missile Command went for just $157.50 earlier today.

The cartridges come with a numbered certificate of authenticity from the city of Alamogordo, a city property ID tag and "a narrative with photos of the 1983 burial and the 2014 excavation proving the legend to be true." The games were "sold as-is" and aren't guaranteed to work, should a buyer attempt to play them.

The city of Alamogordo voted earlier this year to distribute 1,300 cartridges pulled from the landfill. Between 700 and 800 of the Atari 2600 games will be sold, while others have been given to museums. In total, more than 750,000 cartridges are said to have been dug up.

For more on the Atari landfill dig and the history of the disastrous E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial video game, read Polygon's feature. A documentary feature on the Atari landfill and the excavation of its contents, titled Atari: Game Over, will debut on Nov. 20 on Xbox.

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