Sealed Super Mario 64 Cart Sells For Insane $1.56M At Auction Obliberating Previous Record
When an extremely copy of The Legend of Zelda fetched a whopping $870,000 at auction last week, it set a record for the highest price every paid for a video game. This led us to wonder what would eventually dethrone it, and we did not have to wait long for an answer—a near-immaculate copy of Super Mario 64 just sold at auction for $1.56 million.
For any old school basketball fans out there, we're reminded of the time Kevin McHale set a scoring record for the Boston Celtics when he dropped 56 points in a game against the Detroit Pistons, way back in 1985. Not to be outdone, Larry Bird reclaimed the record just nine days later, when he went on a scoring barrage against the Atlanta Hawks, amassing 60 points by the final buzzer.
Mario is the Larry Bird of Nintendo, so it is fitting that everyone's favorite plumber made quick work of regaining the record sum ever paid for a video game. And it was again from a sale through Heritage Auctions, which has proven adept at attracting enormous bids for nostalgic cartridges.
Part of the reason Super Mario 64 sold for so much is because it is still sealed, with a 9.8 (out of 10) A++ rating from Wata Games. A++ is the highest rating available, and it denotes like-new condition with a seal that is "very near to perfect condition," if not absolutely perfect, just "as it was when it left the factory."
According to Heritage Auctions, only two of these cartridges are known to exist with a 9.8 grade, coming from "the original production run." Therein lies the other reason why it commanded so much. Early production runs are generally scarcer, and it is the same reason why a copy of The Legend of Zelda drew in $870,000 last week—that particular cartridge was from a run that was produced for only few months in late 1987 before it was replaced by a newer revision. Prior to that, a mint sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. for the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) held the record after selling for $660,000.
As for Super Mario 64, in came out in Japan in June 1996, followed a release in the US in late September of the same year, and in Europe in March 1997. It was the first Super Mario game to leverage 3D gameplay, and ranks as the best-selling game on the Nintendo 64.
"The cultural significance of this title and its importance to the history of video games is paramount, and the condition of this copy is just so breathtaking that we're really at a loss here," Heritage Auctions stated on the item's auction page. "If you have had your heart set on obtaining the highest graded copy of the single best-selling video game on the Nintendo 64—the first 3D adventure of Nintendo's mascot, Mario—we only have one piece of advice: this is not an opportunity to waste."
Now the question is, does Heritage House have another rare gem up its sleeve that might command even more? And will it be another Mario game? Time will tell, but we'd be surprised if this record gets broken as quickly as the previous one.