Gaming collectible grading company Wata Games has been purchased by collectible authentication giant Collectors Universe. The deal, which will see Wata continue to operate under its own management, was made for an undisclosed amount.
What does the Wata Games Collectors Universe purchase mean?
Wata Games is widely considered to be the premier gaming collectible grading business. Its acquisition marks Collectors' Universe's first foray beyond the realms of sports memorabilia and trading cards, and is part of the self-stated Collectors' Universe mission to provide collectors and hobbyists with the "best customer experience, tools and information available". Collectors' Universe executive chairman Nat Turner says video game collectibles are "primed" for an expansion similar to that experienced by the trading card and sports memorabilia industries. Wata, meanwhile, says it will be able to "service its growing demand" thanks to Collectors Universe's investment.
Wata Games and the Super Mario 64 record-breaker
If you recognize Wata Games' name, it's no surprise. Just a few days ago, a Super Mario 64 cartridge became the first video game to sell for over a million dollars at auction. Said cartridge was graded at 9.8 on the Wata Scale, which rates the integrity of collectible items so sellers can determine how much to charge for them. Other cartridges graded by Wata include the Legend of Zelda cartridge that sold for $870,000 earlier this year and the Super Mario Bros cartridge that went for a tidy $600,000. Suffice it to say that if a gaming collectible needs to be graded for sale or auction, Wata Games will likely be involved in some capacity.
It's worth noting that Wata doesn't carry out this work alone, of course. If a prototype is sent to Wata for grading, they'll usually enlist the help of Video Game History Foundation director Frank Cifaldi and his team in order to verify authenticity. Given that Collectors Universe has said nothing will change in the power structure of Wata, that's likely to stay the same as well. If you've got something you suspect might be worth something, it's worth sending it off to Wata; the company's stated mission is to "grade everything", so you're likely to hear something back, although it may take some time given the recent boom market.
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