As physical video games become harder to find due to never-ending digitization, folks love collecting tangible items, especially if they’re of the rare and sealed variety. A 22-year-old Californian named Kiro recently came up on one such rarity: a sealed copy of 1987’s The Legend of Zelda, and damn-near let it go for a measly $17,000 before getting it officially appraised. And if you know how these things go, then you know the seller stands to make some serious bread.

According to a February 22 CNBC report, collectible reseller Kiro said the vintage game had been in the family ever since it was purchased from the now-defunct department store Fedco in 1987 for $29.87 (or $82.92 in 2024 money when adjusted for inflation). As a regular eBay seller of collectible Barbies and sneakers, Kiro thought he’d put the sealed NES game up on the online marketplace to see if he could get a bit of money from it. So, he posted it for $17,000 in October 2023, thinking that’s all he’d get and he’d be done with it. It sold, but as he told CNBC, more offers began rolling in within minutes.

“I was like ‘Yo, this is wild. There’s no way I just sold it that fast,’” Kiro told the publication. “Multiple people were messaging me on eBay right away. One guy offered to drive down to where I was and give me $30,000 cash.”

Knowing that folks were digitally shoulder-checking each other to try and get dibs on the game, Kiro canceled the sale and pulled the listing down. He knew he had something special on his hands, he just didn’t know how special the sealed NES game was. That is, until he got a message from a collector, who told Kiro on the phone that his copy of The Legend of Zelda was from the game’s very first production run, making it rarer than rare. In the span of two weeks, Kiro went from Florida to have the game professionally graded to Texas to meet with the multinational auction house Heritage Auctions to handle its sale. It’s actually on the site right now and, as CNBC put it, will headline Heritage Auctions’ Video Games Signature Auction from February 23-24.

The last time an OG Zelda game like this was on auction was in July 2021. Back then, a sealed copy of the game sold for $870,000. The grading was a bit higher on that item than Kiro’s, but either way, the 22-year-old’s ultra-rare game will likely fetch a similar price tag. Only time will tell. If he does, he certainly has a plan for the money he’ll make, however much it ends up being.

“I sat down with a [certified public accountant],” Kiro said. “I will definitely not be spending it right away. It’ll go into building long term wealth for myself and my family.”

 



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