When The Legend of Zelda for the original NES first appeared on store shelves in 1986, it sold for $49.99. Most people bought it, ripped open the package and got started on a classic adventure that would spawn one of the gaming industry’s most beloved franchises. A factory-sealed edition of The Legend of Zelda was sold for $411,278 at a Goodwill store in Connecticut last week.
Yes, that is an astronomically high price, but it is far from the most expensive pricing for a classic game. The Legend of Zelda from Goodwill is the latest in a long line of retro games that have fetched exorbitant prices at auction. A sealed, collector-graded edition of Super Mario Bros. went for $660,000 at auction in April. A rare early version of The Legend of Zelda sold for $870,000 in July. Later, a sealed copy of Super Mario 64 sold for $1.56 million, setting a new record.
The ancient Nintendo game was secretly (and possibly regrettably) donated to the nonprofit’s Bridgeport, Conn., headquarters and received a lot of online attention.
Collectors flocked to Goodwill’s digital shop, which was modelled like eBay and sold everything from antiques and jewellery to musical instruments and wedding decorations. According to The Action Network, winner Eric Naierman won the $411,000 award after numerous bids were discounted due to apparent fraud.
Naierman, a Florida dentist, began collecting baseball cards in the early 1990s before moving on to factory-sealed video games, of which he possesses over 250, including a sticker-sealed Mario Arcade and first-print Castlevania, as well as a uponed Zelda.
Naierman won the unusual treasure over 144 other bidders. Despite the fact that the 35-year-old package lacked a grading certificate, the collector believes it to be an 8 to 8.5 out of ten. The box contains scratches and smudges, as well as a partially peeling sticker, a small gap on one corner, and minor dents, as indicated in the Goodwill product description.
“Given what the first print in a higher condition went for,” Naierman told The Action Network, referring to a sealed version that recently sold for a whopping $870,000, “we thought the market was around $600,000 for this.” So $411,000 is a real steal.
However, how the charity thrift store chain ended up with such a unique game baffles the mind. Goodwill stores obtain their stock mostly from Goodwill donation centres, implying that this sealed classic game was most likely given away. Was it an unsuspecting parent who was cleaning out a child’s room after they had moved out? An estate sale to get rid of things you don’t want but don’t know how much they’re worth? It’s unlikely that we’ll ever know for sure.
Goodwill did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but according to Action Network, the funds will be used to open a vocational centre in Stamford, Connecticut.