A rare copy of Super Mario Bros. sold for $2 million on Friday, the highest price ever paid for a single video game, according to an announcement from collectibles website Rally. What makes the sale unique, other than its mind-boggling price, is how it was sold: An anonymous buyer purchased the collectible from Rally, which had sold shares in the copy of the game to investors.
According to a report from The New York Times, the buyer of Super Mario Bros. offered $2 million for the copy — which is factory-sealed, professionally graded, and part of a limited print run — and the sale was approved by shareholders in the NES game. That’s Rally’s business; investors can purchase shares of expensive collectibles, like vintage baseball cards, comic books, cars, and dinosaur skulls, instead of buying them outright. Collectibles that sell at a high price through Rally can result in a return on investment for shareholders. In this case, investors reportedly received a roughly 900% return on their shares.
The $2 million sale of Super Mario Bros. breaks the previous record for a video game collectible, a $1.56 million copy of Super Mario 64 that sold through Heritage Auctions in July. That sale broke the prior record holder nearly twice over; a game cartridge of The Legend of Zelda sold for $870,000 at auction earlier in July.
Despite that there are more than 40 million copies of Super Mario Bros. for the NES and Famicom out in the market, a sealed, highly graded copy of a widely available game can (obviously) go for big bucks. Based on how price trends are going — today’s sale is nearly three times what a similar, but slightly lower-graded copy of Super Mario Bros. went for in April 2021 — expect prices to inflate further.