Mint-in-Box Nintendo Game System, Rescued from a Goodwill Shelf, Nets Huge Windfall at Auction

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A mid-1980s Nintendo system and game cartridges yielded a huge windfall for the Goodwill store where they were donated.
Image via Ars Technica.
A mid-1980s Nintendo system and game cartridges yielded a huge windfall for the Goodwill store where they were donated.
These original game cartridges were part of the
historic auction that benefitted Goodwill Keystone Area.
Image via Goodwill Keystone Area.

One can only imagine the dusty Nintendo game system sitting on a Goodwill shelf, evoking the sad Toy Story 2 castoff fate of Jessie the Cowgirl before her rescue. The mid-1980s unit hadn’t even left its shrink-wrapped box.

But when a local worker recognized it for what it was, everything changed.

Goodwill Keystone Area related the rags to riches tale.

Nicole Garcia, a donated services representative, found the item.

She habitually scans the shelves, on the lookout for exactly this kind of diamond in the rough, shed by its original owner with no notion of any accumulated value.

Alongside the game unit were 27 game cartridges, also in their original packaging.

She consulted her brother-in-law, a Nintendo aficionado. He immediately alerted her to what she had, estimating the value at $10,000 or more.

The items were bundled and put up for auction. Eager fans of the throwback to their childhoods — nearly 150 of them — clamored online for ownership. The initial bid of $9.99 was surpassed in moments, and the offers skyrocketed.

By the time the virtual gavel came down, the Nintendo and its cartridges yielded $30,002. The toy became the highest-value item ever sold at the Goodwill Keystone Area store.

Proceeds will support Goodwill’s mission programs, which help people with disabilities and other barriers to find employment, build skills, and grow careers.

In the latest fiscal year ending June 30, revenue from Goodwill’s e-commerce site reached $3.2 million.

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