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Kid A

Keep or sell super valuable games?

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So the other day, I was able to hold it and snap a picture with a gold Nintendo world championship cart. See it here!

So I got to thinking. If you ever came up on something like this, say, at a thrift store for cheap, would you actually keep it in your collection or sell it? 

 

to be honest I don't think I could ever keep something this valuable in my collection knowing how much money I could get for it. I feel it would be cool enough just to say I owned it at one point in time.

 

What would you guys do?

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I've been in this exact situation more than once. My answer would be: It Depends.

In my view it depends on the sentimentality of the game, do I have a duplicate in my collection, what are my priorities, what financial demands exist, and what is the upside of selling the item?

Sentimentality: Some of these items mean something to me beyond money or the value of having a spot filled in my collection. If I have memories attached to an item, if it's one of my original items that I had as a kid and can remember going into the store with my dad and buying that game or system - or NOT buying but seeing on the shelf, picking up and looking at and just not being able to afford, then I am highly unlikely to let it go. Unless there's a..

Duplicate: When I began actively collecting classic games in 1993 I implemented a tactic that my dad passed on to me when I was collecting baseball cards in the 1980s: Collect in duplicates. "If you have one Kirk Gibson baseball card, make sure you have two so you have one to keep nice and one to trade." I would end up with not just one complete 1984 - 1989 Topp's Baseball Card collection, but two. I would do this with a few of my toys / action figure sets as well if it was something I really liked. I'd buy two. One to keep nice, or new in the package, and the other to play the heck out of. When I started collecting classic video games I did the same thing. Remember the story about how I found E.T. and Asteroids in the clearance aisle at Kay-Bee Toys and that's how I got into this? I ended up going back to get another set a couple weeks later, after the bug had bitten me and I grew rabidly committed to classic gaming. Again, one game to keep nice, the other to play the heck out of. Today when it comes to collecting as an adult, you'll see that I usually have 2-3 or more of each game in my collection. It's not holding so much as it's archiving (often for future use on this site) and preserving for an eventual trade. So what happens when I have a duplicate of something valuable or rare and somebody approaches me with an offer for a trade...

Distinguishing between "Valuable" and "Rare": I am far more likely to sell something that is valuable, but openly available, rather than something that is truly rare, regardless of the price. For example, most of you know I'm a big TurboDuo fan. I have a nice collection of PC Engine and TurboGrafx-16 items, and the TurboDuo is likely my favorite non-Atari game console. I have a few of these babies put away brand new in the box. Brand new retail systems never touched or opened. I only have a few, and when I find more in that pristine 10/10 condition I try to work out a deal to bring it home. I also have two Atari Video System X pre-production units. A prototype Atari Video System X console is far more "rare" than a TurboDuo which you could buy at Toys R Us in 1993, but not necessarily more financially "valuable". Remember, there's a difference. I can always get another TurboDuo, but I will have the hardest time getting my hands on another Atari Video System X console. What's more, I receive offers for the TurboDuo that exceed any offers I've received for the Atari VSX. The most recent offer I had for the TurboDuo came from a gentleman in China who offered well over $3,500 USD for me to pack and ship him the system. That amount of money definitely places the TurboDuo in the "Valuable" category as far as my game systems go, and although the Atari Video System X is "Rare" I haven't seen an offer that high for the VSX nor would I solicit one. In this situation I would place more value on "Rare" than "Valuable". If something is "Valuable" but can be replaced, I may be willing to let it go. If something is "Rare" like Impossible Mission for Atari 7800 is "Rare" I may let that go if it makes sense to do so, I'm comfortable with the price and with where that "Rare" item would find a new home. If it's something "Rare" like the Atari Video System X, I wouldn't want that to leave my collection. Not only is it "Rare" but it has sentimentality to it in what it means to me. It really all comes down to...

Priorities: I can say with confidence that I probably more than anybody else who will read this have found myself in situations where I've had to liquidate interesting, amazing, historic items from my collection. I won't do it again. Atari Video System X, Panasonic 3DO M2 consoles, prototype game systems, games, arcade machines, unused retail kiosks, 1984 silver label 7800 cartridges, Atari Holograms, you name it. When I launched a tech start-up with some former Atari people in 2004 I needed to raise seed capital and some of these items had to go. At the height of the recession in 2010 some of these items had to go. But my Atari 7800 that I grew up with stayed with me. And so did the E.T. and Asteroids that I found for .97 cents at Kay-Bee Toys that one day, too. Priorities matter, and there are a lot of things in life that have to come before video games.

So, would I do it? Yeah, probably. It depends what it is. If its something I would have a sentimental connection to, or something that would be an important part of my personal collection that I'd never want to get rid of, say like finding an Atari 2700 Remote Control VCS at Goodwill, I would keep that in my personal collection, make it available to others through this site, and be grateful that I was able to get it without paying too exorbitant a price. If it was something else from the classic gaming world that I cared less about, I would be willing to let it go for a fair price and place that money away, investing it wisely. If it was a Nintendo World Championship cartridge, I would probably hang onto it. What a cool piece of history! But if the value ever grew to be so much that I could fulfill many of my other priorities if I sold it, I would likely let it go. It all depends on priorities, the perceived value of the item, and if I have any sentimental connection to it.

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I'd add in one more factor:  fear.  If you have something that you are afraid to use or touch....get rid of it.  A collection is meant to be enjoyed in my opinion.  If it's too valuable, I can't enjoy it, so it goes. 

And one more:  dust.  If it just collects dust and isn't enjoyed...give it up.  Similar to fear, but a touch different. 

 

 

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While I don't have any valuable games, I HAVE been in this kind of position with another type of collectible.

I like to collect a variety of things besides video games. (In fact, I probably collect too many things, but that's another story...)

I'm an avid reader, and I like to collect antique books. Quite a few years ago I got my hands on an interesting old book called "Ver Beck's Book of Bears." Now, I didn't think too much about it. It had really nice illustrations, was a pretty old book, but didn't seem too special.

A few years ago, though, I got curious and decided to look it up online. Low and behold it turned out to be an exceedingly rare volume worth up to $400 or more. That's a good deal of money for a book. I like it far too much to sell, though. It has more value to me than the money.

I imagine if I found any truly rare, valuable video games, it would be a similar case, and depend entirely on whether I like the game more than the money.

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Well I recently got 3 x rated 2600 games and I havent uad any plans to sell them yet (not really sure honestly). But if there was 1 I would keep it would have to be either (if I ever get either) a vectrex or Halloween on the 2600. Both are on my super want list and would never leave me

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I just recently had to go through this in my recent downsizing.  Everything I wanted to keep was because I knew I would play it again or I had a lot of history with.  But if I wasn't using them then I simply packed and stored them to protect them from elements with the idea I can simply drag them out when I got the urge to play them again. 

Then there was the VIS.  Bought for $20 and with most of the "games" made for it.  It is a rare item.  Only 10,000 known to be still in existence.  Valuable?  Yes, it can be.  But when I tried to part with it for a bit of financial gain offers barely went above what I gave for it.  I understand why because while rare it wasn't a fun system to use.  Cool to look at but nothing really entertaining.  I finally decided to just put it on our apartment complex's giveaway table and let someone else mess with it.  I had for five years and did nothing with it.  My TI99 is currently under the gun.  I don't use it very much at all but it doesn't have much either.  It is also in a spot I don't use for anything else so it really isn't in the way.

The Atari 5200 is my top dog so just being able to hold one Atari VSX would be my pride and joy.  Would I use it?  Most definitely.  Sell it?  Not on your life!  I would love to get my hands on one of those but there's no financial way I could ever get one.  I wouldn't even care if it was banged up a bit. Something like that, though, would be more valuable to me than money could ever buy.  I would also have to will it to someone I would trust with strict rules to enjoy it but never sell it.  If that is even possible.

As for that Nintendo cart?  Nope...not for sale if I had one.  I would have to frame it with a page full of historical notes.

Edited by kamakazi20012
Stupid tablet typos

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