Eric Naierman, a dentist who also happens to be one of the world’s prime video game collectors, purchased a collection of nearly 40 rare titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System for $1.02 million.
The NES Classic Edition, which featured 30 pre-installed games, evoked nostalgia for fans of retro gamers. Naierman’s acquisition, however, was leagues above and beyond in capturing critical pieces of video game history.
The sale, according to experts, was one of the largest ever in the history of video game collections, The Washington Post reported. All the games in the collection were factory-sealed, and most were first-edition releases that were either one-of-a-kind or one of a few that remain in such conditions.
Among the titles in the $1 million collection are sticker-sealed, black-box copies of the 1986 arcade edition of Mario Bros., the two known copies of 1985’s Golf, and the only known copies of 1986’s Balloon Fight and Gumshoe. The treasure chest was assembled by three collectors, who took 52 combined years amassing the rare titles.
The record for the highest price for a single game was $100,150, for a first-edition copy of 1985’s Super Mario Bros., also for the NES. Several of the pieces in the collection that Naierman bought may fetch similar prices if sold at an auction.
Deniz Khan, the president and CEO of Wata Games, which evaluates and grades vintage video games, referred to some of the pieces in the collection as “holy grails” and the “cream of the crop” in terms of historic value. Khan also told The Washington Post that video game collections have transformed from just being relics of nostalgia into an appreciation for the art and history behind the titles.
“People aren’t just buying them to look at it and remember playing that game. They’re buying them to commemorate the history and the impact they had on pop culture,” Khan said.
Wata Games also recently helped Scott Amos, from Reno, Nevada, sell a sealed copy of Kid Icarus for the NES that was found in the attic of his childhood home. The game sold for $9,000 — a far cry from what Naierman paid for his collection, but it still shows the value of the growing video game collecting industry.
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