A spectacular copy of Sonic the Hedgehog - Wata 9.8 A+ Sealed [Made in Japan, Early Production], Genesis Sega 1991 USA drew 19 bids and soared to $360,000 to lead Heritage Auctions
' Video Games Signature® Auction to $4,999,504 April 22-23.
The nearly-$5 million result was the third-highest of any video games auction ever at Heritage Auctions. In all, seven lots brought six-figure results; two more topped $95,000.
More than 1,400 global bidders joined in on the event, which produced perfect sell-through rates of 100% by value and by lots sold.
"Our team couldn't be more proud of the results of this auction," Heritage Auctions Video Games Director Valarie McLeckie said. "Wata's newly released population data allowed bidders to make better-informed decisions, and it's clear this had a major impact on bidding. Even so, many have told us that they couldn't believe the quality of the lineup will ever be replicated, and to that we say: challenge accepted!"
The magnificent Sonic the Hedgehog copy that finished atop the sale's 395 lots was the highest-graded copy from the earliest production run or any production run, for that matter of the game ever offered at Heritage Auctions or any other public auction venue to date. The game featuring Sega's furry blue mascot ranks alongside a cast of video game icons like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Lara Croft as one of the most recognizable video games characters ever created.
The highest-graded first production copy ever offered of Metroid - Wata 9.4 A+ Sealed [Hangtab, No Rev-A, First Production], NES Nintendo 1987 USA, inspired 25 bids before it found a new home at $168,000. Copies with the cardboard hangtab are prized among serious Nintendo collectors; Wata has graded just six sealed copies of this variant as of its November 2021 population report, and only one has graded higher. Regardless of variant, Metroid is one of the most celebrated franchises to get its start on the NES console; the game also marks the first appearance of Samus Aran, the first playable Nintendo female protagonist.
The only sealed copy of Clu Clu Land - Wata 9.4 A+ Sealed [Hangtab, 1 Code], NES Nintendo 1985 USAever offered at Heritage Auctions ended at $156,000. This copy was auctioned first by Heritage in March 2020. An NES launch title with such a high grade is a coveted rarity. Wata only has four sealed copies of Clu Clu Land listed on its November 2021 population report; none is graded as high as this copy.
Also reaching $156,000 was the highest Wata-graded copy of Twisted Metal - Wata 9.6 A+ Sealed [Ridged Longbox, Early Production], PS1 Sony 1995 USA ever offered by Heritage Auctions. Like many PS1 longbox titles, sealed copies of this game the epitome of the early days of PlayStation is exceptionally elusive.
The highest-graded standard release copy ever offered of the "red label" version of Mario Kart 64 - Wata 9.6 A++ Sealed, N64 Nintendo 1996 USA ended at $144,000. The red label is an indication of an earlier production run of the game before it sold 1 million copies and earned the "Player's Choice" emblem. This game is the second installment in the iconic Mario Kart series.
Twenty-seven bids came in for The Legend of Zelda - Wata 9.2 A+ Sealed [Rev-A Round SOQ, Mid-Production], NES Nintendo 1987 USA before it finished at $111,000. This copy earned the fifth-highest grade on Wata's November 2021 population report out of 26 total graded. Scarcity is a factor in a game's appeal, but in this case, the cultural relevance is the true key to what makes this game such a must-have for serious collectors: this is the first game in the Zelda franchise, one of the most revolutionary series ever created. The first entry is widely regarded as one of the greatest, most iconic games of all time, and it introduced many in the West to the concept of role-playing video games.
The seventh game in the auction to crack the six-figure plateau was the finest copy ever offered by Heritage Auctions of John Madden Football - Wata 9.6 A+ Sealed [Made in Japan], SNES EASN 1991 USA, which reached $102,000. The first port of John Madden Football to a home console became the ideal successor to the Sega Genesis version that Heritage Auctions sold in January. The victor of the 16-bit console wars, this particular port might be more recognizable to gamers than any other version! With an exceptional score of 9.6 A+, this very well could be one of the best examples of John Madden's iconic Nintendo console debut.
Other top lots included, but were not limited to:
Tecmo Bowl - Wata 9.2 A+ Sealed [Rev-A, Round SOQ, Early Production], NES Tecmo 1989 USA: $99,000
Urban Champion - Wata 8.5 B+ Sealed [Hangtab, 2 Code, Mid-Production], NES Nintendo 1986 USA: $96,000
John Madden Football Championship Edition - Wata 9.4 A+ Sealed [Rental Exclusive], Genesis EA Sports 1992 USA: $84,000
John Madden Football - Wata 9.6 A+ Sealed [Clamshell, Promotional Copy], Genesis Electronic Arts 1990 USA: $81,000
Castlevania - Wata 9.4 A+ Sealed [Oval SOQ TM, Later Production], NES Konami 1987 USA: $72,000