Heritage Auctions are boasting the sale of a rare sealed variant of Super Mario Bros. 3 has sold at auction for $156,000. In case you're not familiar with the rarity of this box, this is a rare variant cover where the word "Bros." is over Mario's right hand. Usually, the word is over the space above his head, and that one simple graphical error on the part of a designer one day has turned this version of the game into a sought-out prize. We have more info on the sale below, but it looks like the price for the particular version just went up for everyone holding onto one.
"We couldn't be more pleased about breaking the world record for the second time in the same year," says Valarie McLeckie, Heritage Auctions' Director of Video Games. "That said, it's no surprise that another Mario game, which so many of us grew up with, would set the new bar."
The lot opened bidding at $62,500 – already an impressive sum for the game graded Wata 9.2 A+. But 20 bidders got in the game, sending the final price soaring toward the world record during what would become the world's first-ever million-dollar video-game auction. While the condition of the game is remarkable, what makes this copy even more singular is the layout of the packaging itself: Exceedingly rare are sealed copies with the word "Bros." formatted to the left, covering one of Mario's signature white gloves. Collectors have spent years looking for such a version – the earliest in the Super Mario Bros. 3 production history – and usually come up empty-handed. Until Friday. The Dallas-based auction house did sell one sealed Wata 9.0 A copy of this variant in July – for the all-in price of $38,400. What a difference a slightly better grade, and four months, can make.