Last week a tremendously rare Nintendo World Championship cartridge appeared on eBay, immediately sparking a bidding frenzy. Despite its torn label and crude ink scrawl reading “Mario,” the auction has now ended at a top bid of $99,902.
While that number is impressive, you should always view any eBay auction with such an astronomically high final bid as suspect until cash has exchanged hands. There are even reports from users on the Nintendo Age forums that the winning bidder has already retracted his offer. Normally that would be the end of this story, but that massive price point has drawn a number of other Nintendo World Championship cartridges out of hiding.
As Ars Technica reports, one such cartridge in even better condition than the torn label cart on eBay went for $17,500 only yesterday. Two more cartridges, one gray and one gold, are currently racking up bids on the auction site. The former stands at $10,100 with five days remaining in its auction, while the latter has attracted $33,600 with eight days to go.
That’s a surprisingly large number of cartridges to simultaneously hit eBay, given that only 116 World Championship cartridges are known to exist. As a result, collectors are beginning to suspect that there may be more World Championship cartridges in the wild than previously thought. The rules of supply and demand dictate that this should lower the price of future auctions, but as Price Charting points out, that questionable $99,902 bid for the torn label cartridge may instill in the public the idea that World Championship cartridges are worth nearly $100,000, artificially boosting the game’s value.
Update: Destructoid contacted the seller of the torn label cartridge who confirms the aforementioned reports that the winning bidder has backed out.