When The Legend of Zelda for the original NES first appeared on store shelves in 1986, it sold for $49.99. Most people bought it, ripped open the package and got started on a classic adventure that would spawn one of the gaming industry's most beloved franchises. One person in Connecticut apparently bought a copy, forgot about it for 35 years and then donated it to the local Goodwill. And the thrift store chain just sold that copy for $411,278 on its website.
Yes, that's a shockingly high price, but it's far from the highest for a classic game. Goodwill's copy of The Legend of Zelda is just the latest in a growing list of retro titles to fetch high prices at auction. In April, a sealed, collector-graded copy of the original Super Mario Bros. sold for $660,000 at auction. In July, a rare early version of The Legend of Zelda earned $870,000. Later, a sealed copy of Super Mario 64 broke records with a stunning $1.56 million sale.
Those games all earned their record-breaking sales prices by being factory sealed and highly rated by Wata Games, a video game grading organization. Goodwill's factory sealed copy The Legend of Zelda is already a rare collectible, but if its buyer decides to get the game WATA graded, like the other recent high sales, its value could increase overnight.
How the nonprofit thrift store chain wound up with such a rare game, however, boggles the mind. Goodwill stores primarily get its stock through Goodwill donation centers, meaning that in all likelihood, someone simply gave away this sealed classic game. Was it an unknowing parent, clearing out a child's room after they moved away? An estate sale clearing out leftover items without knowing their value? We'll probably never know for sure.
Goodwill didn't immediately respond for a request for comment, but Action Network says the nonprofit plans to use the proceeds to open a career center in Stamford Connecticut.