Mario has appeared in hundreds of video games over his career, but Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System was the title that started it all. Finding a used copy or a digital download of the game isn’t difficult to do, but getting your hands on an original cartridge in its sealed packaging will cost you. As Kotaku reports, an unopened Super Mario Bros. cartridge just sold for more than $30,000 on eBay.
The game appears just as it did in the 1980s, complete with its pristine plastic wrapping and the $26.99 price sticker. At some point in the past three decades, it found its way into the inventory of classic video game dealer DKOldies, where it sat ignored for years. One day after unearthing the game from his office, CEO Drew Steimel decided to put it up for auction on eBay. Bidders quickly exceeded the one-cent starting bid. At the close of the auction, the game sold for a final price of $30,100.44.
Ultra-rare NES games, like Stadium Events and the Nintendo Campus Challenge games, have been known to sell for tens of thousands of dollars. It’s rare that a mass-produced title like Super Mario Bros. racks up such a high bid, but this copy was special: It’s a version of the game released before Nintendo started selling Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt combo cartridges in 1988, and it comes in the early "hangtab"-style box made for displaying games on pegs.
Selling retro video games can be a lucrative business, but don’t get too excited about the classics in your collection. A loose Super Mario Bros. cartridge is worth only around $15.