The Legend of Zelda Game Auction Nets a Record 870K

A rare sealed variant of the original The Legend of Zelda NES game brought in a record price at auction, beating the previous record-holder by more than $200,000.

Published: July 9, 2021 1:45 PM /


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The Legend of Zelda game auction has just broken the record for a video game auction, bringing in a grand total of $870,000 for a single boxed copy of the NES game at Heritage Auctions.

The original The Legend of Zelda is a very different game from what fans are familiar with today, but it's still a boatload of fun. Its release also served as a historic moment in Nintendo history: it was the first NES game to use a battery backup to save your game progress. Now, a  rare version of this Nintendo classic has just brought in some serious cash.

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Why Was This Copy of The Legend of Zelda Worth So Much?

The Legend of Zelda auction didn't feature a regular copy of the game that someone picked up at a Toys "R" Us. Rather, this was a rare variant from an early production run — and as Heritage Auctions explains, it may be one of the earliest surviving retail copies of the game.

"This is the only copy from one of the earliest production runs that we've ever had the opportunity to offer, and, possibly will have the opportunity to offer, for many years to come," read the description of the auction. "Considering this variant was only produced for a few months in late 1987 before it was ultimately replaced by the "Rev-A" variant in early 1988, this statement likely comes as no surprise to collectors. Only one other variant precedes the offered "NES R" variant and that is the "NES TM" variant, which is the true first production run. However, it is also widely believed that only a single sealed "NES TM" example exists, and there is no telling whether or not that copy will ever come to market. Essentially, this copy is the earliest sealed copy one could realistically hope to obtain."

This particular copy of The Legend of Zelda was rated 9.0 out of 10 by WATA, a service that rates the condition of video games. Essentially, this copy of the game was in damn near perfect condition — and that's probably why it brought in a cool $870,000.

The Legend of Zelda wasn't the only big seller, mind. A separate copy of the same game brought in only $55,000 as it was a more common variant. A copy of Nintendo World Championships 1990 also brought in $180,000 in the same auction. Today's auction broke the record for video game auctions; the previous record-holder was a sealed copy of Super Mario. Bros.

What do you think of The Legend of Zelda auction bringing in close to a million dollars? What's the most you would be willing to pay for an original copy of a classic game? Let us know in the comments below!

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A photograph of TechRaptor Senior Writer Robert N. Adams.
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One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N