Paper Thing

Half Mag / Half Zine

Super Mario Bros. 3 now holds the title of the most expensive game ever, after a sealed copy from 1990 sold for $156,000 at an auction last Friday. Bidding started at $62,500, and 20 bidders were involved in the auction. The NES game handily beat out the previous record-holder, Super Mario Bros., which sold for $114,000 in July.

According to Heritage Auctions, which sold the game, the game’s record-breaking price came down to a couple of factors. The first was its relatively rare box design, which has the word “Bros.” formatted to the left on its front, where it slightly obscures Mario’s hand. Later versions moved the word to the center-right.

However, this rarer design only explains part of the price, since one of these variants sold at the auction house in July for just $38,400. What accounts for the rest of the value appears to be the condition in which it was sold. The game was given a Wata 9.2 A+ rating for its condition, which rates both the quality of the box and the quality of its original seal. The previous version, meanwhile, had a slightly lower rating of Wata 9.0 A.

Alongside Super Mario Bros. 3, a sealed copy of Pokémon Red became the most expensive Pokémon game sold when it was purchased for $84,000 during Friday’s auction. Heritage Auctions doesn’t mention whether there was anything unique about this particular version, but it appears to have been sold in a remarkably good condition, with a rating of Wata 9.8 A++.