Top 10 sales of video games

'Super Mario Bros.,' 'Legend of Zelda' top the cllct 10 list of video-game sales

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Sealed copies of "Super Mario Bros." dominate the latest cllct 10 list.

Video games are meant to be played. Boxes are meant to be opened. High scores are meant to be set.

That's precisely why the incredibly few video games from the NES era, in particular, that have remained sealed have become collectors items: They simply shouldn't exist in pristine condition.

So, given that nod to their rarity, here's a look at the top 10 video games sales on record:

10. 1985 NES Super Mario Bros. (Wata 9.4 A): $492,000

Among the highest-graded copies within the early production, this incredibly scarce variant — identified by features such as hangtabs, stickers, and differences on its box — sold in October 2021 at Heritage.

9. 1987 The Legend of Zelda (Wata 9.2 B+): $600,000

One of the three known examples exhibiting features indicative of first production copies, Goldin sold this game in February 2022.

7 (tie). 1985 NES Super Mario Bros. (Wata 9.2 A): $660,000

One of the earliest production sealed copies known to exist, this September 2021 sale is among the highest-graded early-production variants ever discovered.

7 (tie). 1985 NES Super Mario Bros. (Wata 9.6 A+): $660,000

In April 2021, this mid-production Hangtab variant was sold at Heritage — less than a year after the auction house broke the world record for the most expensive video game for a lower-graded example of the same game.

6. 1987 The Legend of Zelda (Wata 8.0 A): $705,000

Just three months after Heritage declared a previous, later production copy was "the earliest-sealed copy one could realistically hope to obtain," they soon offered a previously-known first production copy in October 2021.

5. 1985 NES Super Mario Bros. (Wata 9.6 A): $720,000

Yet another Mario Bros., this mid-production Hangtab variant is the highest-graded of its tier and commanded a premium during its November 2022 sale at Heritage.

4. 1996 N64 Super Mario 64 (Wata 9.8 A++): $799,500

In September 2021, just two months after Heritage sold a comparable example for more than $1.5 million, Goldin auctioned one of the other two copies, marking their first big splash into the category.

3. 1987 NES The Legend of Zelda (Wata 9.0 A): $870,000

Along with featuring an all-time favorite title, the July 2021 sale at Heritage enjoyed the distinction of being heralded as the only copy from one of the earliest production runs ever offered by the auction house, and, according to Heritage, it is the earliest sealed copy “one could realistically hope to obtain.”

2. 1996 N64 Super Mario 64 (Wata 9.8 A++): $1,560,000

This copy, dubbed a near-perfect condition grade by Wata (one of three at the tier with none superior), not only boasted rarity and cultural significance, but the July 2021 sale at Heritage Auctions came at the exact right moment — just at the peak of the video game market’s COVID rise.

1. 1985 NES Super Mario Bros. (Wata 9.8 A+): $2,000,000

Boasting the single-highest condition grade among all Hangtab variants (early production), this copy is the hobby’s holy grail. Unlike most video games on this list, which sold at auction, this title was purchased via buyout on fractional investment platform Rally in August 2021.

WIll Stern is a reporter and editor for cllct.