Spring has yet to arrive, but you might want to do some cleaning anyway, especially if you have ever owned a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console. Some of the old NES cartridges are apparently worth their weight in gold. An unsuspecting seller in Seattle just found that out when he brought a rare Nintendo World Championship cartridge into his local video games retailer, and walked out with a fat check.
How fat? Try $13,000! That is one heck of a payday for a game cartridge, even one that is 29 years old. The reason this one netted the seller such an exorbitant amount is because it is an ultra-rare cartridge—it is estimated that less than 200 of these exist. Knowing this, Pink Gorilla Games did the right thing and let the seller know what he had stumbled upon, the potential value of his find, and paid him accordingly.
The person who found it, a man in his mid-thirties, brought the game into Pink Gorilla Games. It was one of several cartridges he brought in, sitting at the very bottom of a Safeway bag. Cody Spencer, owner of the retro games shop, told Arstechnica that the bag was "full of the most boring NES game you can imagine," except for the very last one he pulled out.
It's not clear how exactly the unnamed seller came to own the rare cartridge. He told Spencer that he was collecting these things back when nobody else was, and it's believed that he might have found it at a garage sale at some point.
"I was surprised by his lack of surprise," Spencer said. "He was certainly taken aback, but he wasn't jumping up and down. But I get it—I got the same feeling when I found it. It's a sense of disbelief. You can't even register excitement."
At first, Spencer thought the NWC label had been applied to a reproduction cartridge with the game's leaked ROM, which some shops sell for around $75. However, after he picked it up and felt the heft, Spencer started to change his tune. Pink Gorilla co-owner Kelsey Lewin explains in the video embedded above how they determined the cartridge to be legitimate.
Though the seller happily made off with a $13,000 check, the shop that bought it could score an ever larger amount. According to this list, some copies have sold for north of $20,000, the most expensive of which sold for $26,000.
You may want to check your own collection of cartridges. Earlier this month, an Arizona man came across a sealed copy of Kid Icarus for the NES while cleaning out his mother's attic. Also a rare find, that one sold at auction for $9,000.