Rare Super Mario Bros. game sells for $2M on site that sells ‘shares’ in collectibles

Image: Nintendo

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.

Comments

But… WHY??
I assume the communal ownership of these items will continue to drive prices higher, and if there’s someone foolish enough to pay that price, everybody wins?
I just don’t see a reason to pay that much money for a box wrapped in clear plastic. (If that factory seal is broken, the game will lose minimum 1 million dollars in value)

It isn’t about the game. It is about what the item will be worth as it ages. Unique art does not decline in value, it increases over time.

This is just another form of buying art to flip at a profit in a few years. Even when a wealthy person buys something they love for crazy prices, it is still with the mind that they can part with it for more.

It’s not really unique though. It’s been mass produced. The only thing of value here is the grade.

It is the condition that makes the item unique. So that one item has no equivalent, and is of cultural value across the world. It’s no different that an artwork in those terms.

But a painting is actually unique. Even if you try to copy it, you’ll make a different. Not that people that buy paintings care about the art either. It’s just not about art, it’s a commodity. It has value because an agency says so.

I’m in the wrong business.

Add this to the mountain of evidence that there is something very very wrong with our society.

I kinda feel like rich people paying exorbitant prices for stupid shit is the sort of activity that publicity isn’t needed for? There’s no real usefulness to knowing about this, the primary emotion these stories seems to engender is a low-level resentment. That, combined with the basic powerlessness of anyone reading it… I guess I don’t know where the "newsworthiness" of this is. It’s a profoundly silly and wasteful act as part of a profoundly silly and wasteful circle of folks who are largely anonymous.

I guess the only real use in knowing stuff like this is on the completely random chance a reader might happen across one of these things and know that it might potentially sell for a lot of money, but even then: This seems like a sort of bluntly obvious realization that a story like this isn’t shedding any extra light upon.

I’d rather someone pay 2m for this than a bunch of squares and splattered paint on a canvas.

Several years from now, we’re going to get a McMillions-style documentary about how this whole "market" fell apart.

This is awful…

Meanwhile, I still have like five copies of the NES game floating around my home somewhere, on top of the superior All-Stars and GBC DX versions.

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