Update #2 (Fri 23rd Jul, 2021):
After a full week on ebay, bidding finally closed on the auction and the card sold for a whopping $10,600USD. Nintendo destroyed any 'winning' Kirby promo cards at E3 2002, so this incredibly rare 1st place survivor was always going to suck in some high bids. Five figures, though!
Update #1 (Fri 16th Jul, 2021):
Rob has updated us on the latest around this incredibly rare e-Reader card, confirming that it now has an eBay listing for any eager — and maybe rather wealthy - collectors that want to give it a good home. A couple of early bids, at the time of writing, have already hit the $1000USD mark, so it's definitely one for the most serious of collectors.
There's also a video of the card in action showing that it is indeed a winner from E3 2002! Check it out at the top of the page.
Original Article (Tue 13th Jul, 2021):
Over the years there have been many rare game-related cards produced by Nintendo and its partner companies. Whether we're talking about amiibo cards (the Sanrio X Animal Crossing crossover cards were trading hands for silly money recently) or a host of physical Pokémon TCG cards, they always seem to be in high demand, with certain cards becoming collector's items almost instantly.
There's another breed of card, though, that is genuinely, incredibly rare; one-time productions that have long since been discontinued and won't be getting a reprint. This story concerns perhaps one of the very rarest: a winning Special Edition Kirby e-Reader promo card produced as part of a pack exclusively for industry show goers at E3 2002. And a Nintendo Life reader has apparently found one!
Rob A contacted Nintendo Life about the recent discovery and appears to be in possession of a fully-functioning — and winning — card, as you can see via the image below:
The winning card (only valid to redeem from 22-24 May 2002) appears to have survived redemption and the following nineteen years in fine condition. Why don't we have a super-rare, incredibly valuable card or three lying around the house, eh?
Three versions of this card were produced for E3 2002 — an industry-only event at the time, remember — with 'no prize', 'second prize' and 'first prize' variants which went into blind promo packs including Pokémon and Game & Watch cards. Using a GBA and e-Reader to scan them at the show, winning cards could then be exchanged for prizes, although we're not sure exactly what the prizes were — we've heard rumour that a GBA Pokémon Gold NYC Edition may have been top prize, though. Not too shabby, certainly, although we'd wager it would be much cheaper to pick up one of those consoles these days than one of these Kirby cards, and a winning example, no less!
Not only were a very small batch of these cards ever produced (100 second-prize cards, and just ten 'winners', apparently), but any card exchanged for a prize was promptly torn up by Nintendo reps to prevent double redemptions — which explains the extreme rarity.
Various promotional cards were made for the Game Boy Advance's short-lived e-Reader accessory in the early-2000s, but as a small batch of single-event cards, this winning example has a decent claim to being one of the very rarest pieces of Nintendo ephemera in existence.
Do you know of any other examples of winning Kirby cards that escaped destruction at the hands of Nintendo reps on the E3 2002 show floor? Got a couple knocking around in the bottom of a drawer, have you? Or do you have one of the prizes that were on offer? Feel free to let us know and make us incandescent with jealousy below.
Please note that some external links on this page are affiliate links, which means if you click them and make a purchase we may receive a small percentage of the sale. Please read our FTC Disclosure for more information.
Someone was smart enough to think the card could be more valuable than any redeemed prize!
My favorite thing about this card is that it shows the characters from the anime and it even has the logo for it as the title!
That's pretty amazing, not gonna lie....
That will have some serious values. video game merchanidise and games (especially sealed games and Pokemon cards) have spiralled into insane prices. By way of paradox, this is actually a sign of an economy in serious trouble and inflation on the point of rupture. It is actually a good time to sell, and the long temr prospect of continued price growth is not guaranteed, especially if (when) fiat monetary systems collapse.
Funny how keeping the card is actually the biggest prize all along.
Man, I loved the e-Reader growing up. It was such a cool concept to me and as an Aussie, we got treated worse than Japan and the US but better than Europe with it. I was heartbroken we never got things like the Mario Party-e set or most of the cards the US got for Mario Advance 4, but I still treat my collection with pride (and I recall finding a site that let me access the SMA4 features I would've otherwise missed out on) and value amiibo as a continuation of it. I was aware of the Kirby cards but not the rarity of the winner cards — I'm grateful I didn't set out to be a completionist.
This should be way more expensive than a sealed copy of Super Mario 64.
Very cool, although the fact that this is a winning card should, in theory, have no bearing on its value, as that's just literally 1s and 0s stored on a card that has no meaningful use today over a losing card.
Interesting that it wasn't redeemed though.
Nintendo really did the eReader dirty in general, but stuff like this always fascinates me. ^^
I wonder what you won?
Do we know what the prizes were?
Let me guess, we're going to auction this off, the bidding will open at 20 squintillion US dollars.
Cool find! I love obscure treasures like this
I do miss the awesome low-tech stuff Nintendo used to do. The e-reader looked hugely impractical and yet scanning 20 cards to unlock a NES game in Animal. Tossing just sounds AWESOME
Anyone have any idea how much the Air Hockey cards are worth? I might still have a few extras somewhere.
@algernonramone Air Hockey-e is only worth $5 at most.
I'm buying up all the obscure and rare games, never play or open them, wait 15 or 20 years and then shout:
"Look what I found!"
The sell it to the highest bidder.
Retirement plan done.
No way! I was just thinking about the e reader. Awesome find.
As a lover of e-reader I knew this card was a thing but I didn't know that any existed. This is mind blowing.
Ah, that was about 2 years before my first E3. Too bad.
So, what were the actual prizes back in 2002? That's something I don't think I see mentioned very often.
I still have my original e-Reader collection which consists of the Sample Pack and Donkey Kong Jr.-e, which were included with the e-Reader, some NES-e games, some Animal Crossing-e cards, the FOXBOX Kirby Slide Puzzle card (can't remember if I took it from a magazine in a store or if I found it on the street), some Pokémon Battle-e Cards including those from Ruby and Sapphire and some Pokémon TCG cards with Dot Codes. I wish I had bought Mario Party-e when I had the chance, though.
@RupeeClock Big brain
@smithyo Hopefully they do and we get an interest free currency which will be better for everyone.
PRESERVE THAT CARD!!!
@RetroGamer07 The Wii U release was super beneficial as it ditched the previous limit of 32 "e-Levels" per cart and I'll always appreciate how Nintendo handled that particular emulation. I mentioned before I had printed files to access special levels; I think there was one certain Japanese level I never got to play until the Wii U release so that was pretty cool, plus the access to every classic SMB level without rescanning dodgy e-Reader codes when I felt like playing them again. 100% worth the investment if people have a Wii U.
Thing is, the Wii U version excluded the e-Switches. Playing SMB3 with SMB2's veggies scattered throughout the game was awesome, as was the halved P-meter and even the one that increased difficulty via harder enemies. That was a huge missed opportunity considering you can toggle them off and on between levels once scanned. Also, access to the cape power-up is pretty limited to the e-Reader world unless you have the card to scan in, and that combined with the SMB2 veggies does make a difference to SMB3. Hopefully they release a full version someday because the combined features are certainly worth it.
Something that has to be only slightly less rare is a "WINNER!" copy of VectorMan for the Genesis. I have read about one person who owned and redeemed a winning copy of the game, that was worth a $25,000 prize for completing (it would tell you if you owned a lucky copy if you could finish without cheating). Not sure if other copies exist.
Too bad that story said the rest of winner's life didn't go so well.
I actually own what is considered to be one of the rarer e-reader cards out there. It's the Kirby FoxBox puzzle card that was only available in a few select magazine issues. It's so uncommon that it's usually not even listed on eBay lol
I'm surprised they're actually selling it on EBay :0
@JasmineDragon Come on be realistic.
It will be 70 squintillion dollars.
Narrator - ‘it was in fact sold for 70 squintillion dollars’
Over $10k, wow!
I hope whoever secured it is willing to digitally preserve the e-reader code. It is one of the last cards to not be preserved.
@RupeeClock Nah, it'll go to some collector who has no interest in preservation and they'll let the card sit in some storage container until they feel like reselling it again in 8 years.
Yay for online auctioning! Really wish the original seller would have sent it away to preservationists before selling it online. Why do people who own rare prototypes or games refuse to let people dump the games? It won't drop the value of their product at all. People still want to own the physical cartidges
I have a bunch of e-reader cards but none of the rare ones, I do have the e-reader mario party game in near mint though.
Old article, but I personally think the price is a little high. I like Kirby alot, and even have a big Kirby plush doll in my room. But $10600 is alot of money. I personally think 5K or so is more reasonable.
Tap here to load 34 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...