Shop discovers $13,000 treasure in grocery bag filled with old NES cartridges

A shop in Seattle was surprised to discover a rare, $13,000 piece of video game history in an unassuming grocery bag of old NES cartridges that was brought in by an unnamed man.

The Nintendo World Championships 1990 cartridge, which was originally produced for the competition and later also made in gold to give away to winners of a Nintendo Power magazine contest, is a lucrative collector’s item with less than 200 copies believed to still exist worldwide.

One of these rare cartridges walked into Pink Gorilla Games, a video game retailer that specializes in retro and import games.

In an interview with Ars Technica, Pink Gorilla co-owner Cody Spencer said that a man in his mid-30s walked into one of the company’s branches with “a Safeway bag full of the most boring NES games you can imagine.” Spencer said that he was “bored out of his mind” as he looked through the pile of old cartridges, but then he got to the bottom.

The label of the cartridge was so clean and clear that Spencer thought it was a reproduction cartridge that contained the game’s leaked ROM that may be bought for $75. However, after picking up the game, it was really heavy, hinting that it may be the real thing.

And real it was. The cartridge’s authenticity was confirmed after opening it up and examining its internals, which showed that it was indeed made in 1990 and not a reproduction cartridge.

Spencer said that the man did not know the value of the Nintendo World Championships 1990 cartridge, nor the means through which he got it. After confirming the seller’s identity though, Spencer offered him $13,000 for the game.

“Literally, we could’ve gotten that [cartridge] for, like, 20 bucks. Or a dollar! He had no idea at all,” Spencer said.

Within 24 hours, Pink Gorilla had sold the Nintendo World Championships 1990 cartridge to an unnamed buyer, who requested not to have the purchase price disclosed.

The discovery of the Nintendo World Championships 1990 cartridge in a grocery bag comes just a week after a man from Reno, Nevada discovered a sealed copy of Kid Icarus for the NES while cleaning out his attic. The game was sold in an auction for $9,000.

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