If you're a regular reader of the site then you'll be aware of the significance of the Nintendo World Championships cartridges. These were carts issued at the famous 1990 event which boasted unique challenges for participants to test their skills on.
They were never intended to make their way into the hands of the public and were supposed to be either destroyed or recycled, but under 100 carts made it into the wild, and some of these have been changing hands for high prices for the past few now. Last year, one was found in an attic, while back in 2014, a rare gold cartridge (which admittedly lacked a label) sold for $100,000. In the same year, another cart sold for just under that amount, again in a rather poor condition.
The fact that yet another Nintendo World Championships cart is about to go up for auction isn't massive news, but the one about to be offered by Heritage Auctions is a unique case – it's the highest-graded example of a cartridge yet seen, carrying a 'Wata 8.0' rating (the second-highest grade on a copy offered by Heritage Auctions was a 5.5) and was previously owned by Nintendo Game Play Counsellor Ben Smith. The high grading makes it one of the best-preserved examples of a 1990 Nintendo World Championships cartridge, and that means it's going to be very desirable to hardcore collectors.
The cart is being put up for sale as part of Heritage Auctions’ first standalone Video Games Auction, which takes place this month, between July 9th and 10th. The cart was previously traded for PSA Gem Mint 10 Tom Brady 2000 Contenders Rookie Autograph #144 – a collector's card which was sold earlier this year for almost $556,000.
Heritage Auctions Video Games Director Valarie McLeckie had this to say about the auction:
That trade, and the eventual sale of the Tom Brady card, speaks volumes about the demand for this extraordinary cartridge. The sports card and video game markets have enjoyed a major surge in popularity, and in a way, this game reflects both.
Given that the aforementioned Brady card is now worth over half a million dollars, it gives a good indication of what kind of price this Nintendo World Championships cart could fetch. However, to reach such a value, it would be a massive leap over previous prices for such an item – but when you consider that in April of this year, Heritage Auctions sold a copy of Super Mario Bros. for $660,000, all bets are off.
If you'd like to learn more about the history of the Nintendo World Championships, then be sure to check out our feature on Jeff Hansen, one of the winners at the 1990 event.