Antiques are a common sight in the world of auctions, and old/lost video games are no different. Today, a couple of directors from Heritage Auctions gave us a look at how the video game auction market works and looks.
In a Zoom meeting today, the Dallas-based multi-national auction house Heritage Auctions spoke about the state of the video game market. Speaking in the meeting was Communications Director Robert Wilonsky and video game Consignment Director Valarie McLeckie. Video games, according to Robert, are an "incredibly explosive" market for Heritage, even though some people might think otherwise. This can, according to Valarie, partially be attributed to the rise of reputable third-party grading companies, most notably WataGames, that can authenticate old games and provide ease of mind for collectors and sellers. She adds that Wata is looking at trying to set up a population report system so collectors can see what's out there and have an idea of how many copies of different games in different conditions there are. She thinks that people will be surprised how few sealed games there are once there is a population report, and predicted that complete-in-box games will be one of the things to get more popular in the future.
So what has made video games such a popular collectible category? Valarie says it's because video games are "universally appealing" and have been so even before 2020. A lot of people have been (re)connecting with video games given that the last year has forced many people to stay away from crowds and isolate themselves. Valarie in particular has a strong connection to Pokemon since one of the first things she collected was Pokemon cards. The wide appeal of video games means that Heritage is seeing plenty of other collectors cross over from their original interests, whether they collect sports cards or old coins.
Like many other collectibles, video games get rated based on the condition of the product, but other factors can greatly affect the price. One of the best examples of this comes from two copies of Super Mario Bros. One copy, with a condition rating of 9.8 and a sale sticker on the front, sold for $19,200. But about a year later, another copy with the same rating but no sticker sold for $84,000. Some lucky collectors can get their hands on misprints, such as a copy of Mega Man that wrongly names the villain Dr. Wright. A misprint like that one sold for $75,000 in 2019, and would almost certainly sell for sell into the triple digits if sold again today with the price rises. NES games are the most common games to be sold on Heritage Auctions, but Valarie is looking forward to seeing other types of games appear on the market. She mentioned later on that PlayStation games seem to be becoming more popular as time is going.
She closed out the meeting announcing that there was going to be weekly Video Game auctions starting the week of March 2nd, on Tuesdays. This will take them out of being mixed with comics, and will also include trading cards, so it will be the place to spot the next highly valuable Charizard.
If you'd like to learn more about Heritage Auctions and their video game auctions, you can look at their collection here or look at their glossary of terms for video games. Valarie said that they will be holding weekly auctions for video games in the upcoming days, with trading cards being sold at the end of the auctions.