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A sealed retail version of Castlevania from 1987 sold for a bargain price of $90,000

What just happened? An original 1987 copy of Castlevania sold on eBay for $90,100. The “Holy Grail” item was in its original shrinkwrap with its plastic hang tab still attached. It also sported a $27.87 price tag, immediately dwarfed by a $37,000 opening bid and sparking an intense bidding war between several hardcore collectors.

Vintage game enthusiasts Frank “Grailmonster” Giaramita and Tom “MinusWorlds” Curtin ultimately wrapped up the game auction on March 23, with Curtin beating Giaramita’s $90,000 by $100. It is believed to be the highest bid for a video game on eBay. Former Wired Editor Chris Kohler tweeted that it blew the prior eBay record holder – a 1987 NES cartridge of Burger Time – out of the water by almost $80,000. However, similar vintage games have sold for even more outside of eBay.

Heritage Auctions has taken bids on various near-mint copies of Super Mario Bros over the years for much more. The auction house sold one in 2019 for $100,150, another in 2020 for $114,000, and a third in 2021 for $660,000. Each was a record-breaking sale, according to Heritage. However, Wata Games certified those games before their auctions.

This 1987 version of Castlevania is considered “raw” as it hasn’t been graded by a professional appraiser, a process that can significantly increase the value of a game by certifying its condition. Giaramita stated in an Instagram post that the rare find could be worth as much as $250,000 at auction after it is graded and certified. He says that $90,000 is the highest bid for a raw game he has seen.

In a separate Instagram post, Curtin chalks his enthusiasm up to Castlevania being the first game his mom ever bought him. He also admitted that he had a partner helping to score the winning bid.

“The search is over after 23 years,” Curtin wrote. “I resigned to never being able to add this grail after years of searching. But, everything just came together for a childhood friend and I this week as we were able to obtain this absolute beauty. This was the first game my mom ever bought me [sic].”

Curtin didn’t say what he would do with the prize. He already owns at least five copies of Castlevania in various conditions. He also has his partner to consider, who likely wants his share. If they flip it, a potential split of $250,000 is hard to pass up.

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