See also : Jaquet-Droz
2019 SOLD for £ 730K by Sotheby's
This group had just been found on the Isle of Lewis, at the far end of the Hebrides, facing the open sea. It is now divided between the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland.
The figures are typical of the Nordic sagas, from the majesty of the king to the ferocity of the warders that will later be the rooks. Around 1200 CE the Norse, successors of the Vikings, enjoyed the game of chess for its simulation of war, its symbolism of life and death by the black and white squares, and its killing rules.
A queen similar to its Lewis counterparts was found in Trondheim. Broken most likely during the chiseling, it testifies to a Norwegian origin of its production, using ivory from the shores of Iceland or Greenland. For the Lewis hoard, the most likely hypothesis is that it was lost by a traveling merchant in a shipwreck.
On July 2, 2019, Sotheby's sold for £ 730K a 8.8 cm high warder in walrus ivory that has all the characteristics of Lewis pieces, lot 7estimated £ 600K. As in the treasure, wear is due to prolonged contact with salt water and sand. Unlike the Lewis pieces, it has not been cleaned and retains dark green streaks that may be its original color for the game.
This piece is unpublished. It was bought in 1964 for £ 5 by an Edinburgh antique dealer from one of his colleagues and the family has loved it up to this day for its mysterious beauty from another time. It is the first Lewis-type chess piece to be available on the market since the discovery of the treasure.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
1616 Silver Deck of Cards
2010 SOLD for $ 555K by Christie's
The deck of 52 cards sold by Christie's on October 19, 2010 for $ 555K is exceptional because it is complete, but it has an even more unusual feature: it is made in engraved and parcel-gilt silver. It had a lower estimate of $ 150K.
Two systems have coexisted for many years. Tarot cards, used for divination, used as suits the swords, batons, cups, and coins, with 4 figures and 10 values per suit for a total of 56 cards. The set of 52 narrated here is a tarot without the knights, being so very close to the classic game design with clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades.
The ace of batons is dated 1616 and the knave of swords is inscribed in the name of Frömmer, a goldsmith of Augsburg. The best guess is that this game was produced to go into a cabinet of curiosities, the support for knowledge that was very fashionable during the reign of Rudolf II.
1808 Jeweled Domino Box
2017 SOLD for CHF 415K by Christie's
This 18 karat gold box is decorated with enamels and pearls including the four seasons displayed by facetious cupids. It is accompanied by its original complete set of 28 dominos also in 18K gold with the face in royal blue enamel, the dots in fine pearls and the back in scarlet enamel.
The case is signed MB et C. Born in Geneva, Jean-François Bautte enjoyed an exceptional career in the luxury craft. He had begun as an apprentice trained as a case fitter, goldsmith, watchmaker, jeweller and guilloché maker. After creating his first models he joined forces with two businessmen, Moulinié in 1793 and Moynier in 1804.
Their business was named Moulinié, Bautte et Compagnie abbreviated as MB et C in 1804, becoming Moulinié, Bautte et Moynier in 1808. This development of the brand allows the dating of the domino box in this short intermediate period and is consistent with an inscription dated 1808 on the musical mechanism.
The exceptional provenance of this unique box is marked by two old auctions.
In 1834 it is offered in the deceased estate sale of Thomas Weeks who had held in London an important museum of curiosities. It is probable that the box had not met a customer in the Chinese import market in recession since the death of the Qianlong emperor and had joined in London the collections of pieces manufactured by Cox and Maillardet.
The name of its winning bidder at the Weeks sale is Russell. The correlation with the future Duchess of Bedford, who will soon be a confidante of Queen Victoria, is seductive.
The box returns to auction at Christie's in 1974, sold by a direct descendant of Queen Victoria. The domino plays of the young queen with prince consort Albert are documented in her own diaries. It seems highly probable that the Geneva box had belonged to Her Majesty.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's :
1905 Double Venus Slot Machine by Caille
2017 SOLD for $ 430K by Morphy
The Caille one-armed bandits are floor upright furniture decorated with an illusion of luxury. The Peerless Roulette model appears circa 1904. An example in excellent condition operated with 5 cent coins was sold for $ 300K by Morphy on May 2, 2015.
The license is defined per unit, so the manufacturers are helping by offering machines with two and even three independent sections for limiting the tax. They have little success because they are too heavy, and difficult to hide in the event of racketeering or police raids. The surviving units had probably been early withdrawn from the shop and forgotten in a cellar or attic.
On October 29, 2020, Morphy sold for $ 246K the only known Triple Centaur Jackpot 5c 25c 5c by Caille, lot 1110. The three one-armed bandits are integrated side by side in an oak cabinet 160 x 180 x 48 cm. The model was created in 1907.
On January 16, 2020 a Caille Triplet Musical Upright Slot Machine was sold for $ 220K by Witherell's.
Made in 1905, one of three surviving 5c 25c Double Venus musical slot machines by Caille was sold for $ 430K by Morphy on October 21, 2017, lot 146 here linked on the bidding platform LiveAuctioneers. It is in excellent playable condition. The video below is shared by Jon Torrence and Morphy Auctions.
1985 Super Mario Bros by Nintendo
2021 SOLD for $ 660K by Heritage
Nintendo had been developing since 1981 a console with interchangeable cartridges. Distributed from 1985, the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) responds perfectly to the needs and ensures in two or three years to the Japanese company the lasting control of this world market.
The NES is launched with 18 titles of which the best selling is Super Mario Bros. This game, which can be replayed with increased difficulty, is inspired by the Mario Bros. arcade game of the same brand. The player takes the role of Mario with controls much effective for that time, and manages a war against creatures that can change their shape.
The practical details remained to be defined, in particular for the packaging of the cartridge. The plastic film supersedes the sticker closing. The first wrapped copies still include a cardboard hangtab which is early abandoned because it was superfluous under the plastic wrap.
The condition is graded by Wata with a double scale, up to 10 for the game and from C to A++ for the quality of an original seal.
On July 10, 2020 Heritage sold for $ 114K including premium a sealed 3-Code Super Mario Bros. with one of the hangtab variants of the first year, graded 9.4 A+ by Wata. The previous record had been $ 40K including premium for a piece from the same variant in 8.0 A grade.
On April 2, 2021, Heritage sold for $ 660K a sealed 1-Code Super Mario Bros with the hangtab, graded 9.6 A+ by Wata, lot 93028.
1987 The Legend of Zelda by Nintendo
2021 SOLD for $ 870K by Heritage
The thrill of the one-player game is mixing adventure, exploration and enigma, by which the hero named Link fights villains and creatures to free Princess Zelda. It marks a big improvement from all previous video games by the complexity of the playing strategy and the fineness of characters and scenery.
The original American version, before the attribution of a revision number, was made in two subsequent runs in late 1987, the exceedingly rare NES TM variant and the highly rare NES R variant.
On July 9, 2021, Heritage sold at lot 28030 for $ 870K a sealed very early 'No Revision' copy of the Legend of Zelda. Its is graded 9.0 A and labeled as a R variant by Wata. Only one sealed TM example is known to Wata. Nintendo sold more than 6.5 million copies of that first opus of the Zelda series.
2021 for sale by Heritage in October
to be narrated
In 1987, a kid got Zelda as a gift. He already had one. The game, which cost $34.99, was left sealed in the original Kay-Bee Toys bag.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 6, 2021
The boy, now a man, is putting the game up for auction in the @HeritageAuction video game sale in October.
It could go for $2 million + pic.twitter.com/3QuCuFNHzk
1996 Super Mario 64
2021 SOLD for $ 1.56M by Heritage
In the everlasting run ahead, Nintendo releases in 1996 the N64 console with a 64 bit standard. Three games are available for that new equipment. The most popular is Super Mario 64 with a total over time of nearly 12 million sold copies. The character is capable of an unprecedented freedom of 28 movements including many special jumps and picking objects.
A sealed Super Mario 64 was sold for $ 1.56M by Heritage on June 12, 2021, lot 28137. It is in pristine condition, graded 98 by Wata with a perfect A++ sealing. According to the pre sale release, Wata states that there are fewer than five sealed copies of that title in that grade.
1997 Japanese Charizard
2021 SOLD for $ 490K by Goldin
Topsun publishes in March 1997 a series of trading cards to be added in the packs of Top-Seika apple flavored chewing gum. For 60 yen, the greedy collector had two pieces of gum and two cards in his pack. These images are not yet for gaming.
The name "Pocket Monsters" appears in English on the cover of the package amidst the Japanese inscriptions. The cards in this series are characterized by a blue back and by the absence of numbering of the figures. Among about fifty monsters, the stars are Charizard (aka Lizardon) and Blastoise, as in the video game.
The copyright dated 1995 corresponds to the trademark registration of the video game and is carried jointly by Nintendo, Creatures Inc and Game Freak Inc. The numbering of the monsters will appear in May 1997 and the holofoil printing with a prismatic effect in June 1997.
A Charizard Topsun card with blue back, graded Gem Mint 10 by PSA, was sold for $ 490K by Goldin on January 30, 2021, lot 195.
The Pokémon cards are later edited in regular series and in exceptional cards which are reserved for the winners of a game, for example a "super secret battle".
1999 Pokémon Base Set
The applications are unlimited, including the constitution of complete sets, fights, contests. Of course, the production run of some cards is much lower. Such variation in the scarcity had already been managed from 1993 in sports cards, with Topps serialized Refractors.
The Pokémons have been able to multiply their species and variants so that the games are continuously relaunched and to include codes to be scanned to discover hidden games. Since 2016, Pokémon-Go designed for mobile phones has been a social phenomenon, including a few applications that compete with social networks.
2021 SOLD for $ 680K by Goldin
The 1st Edition Gaming Card Base Set was published in January 1999 with 102 monsters irregularly distributed in the packs. The stars are Charizard, Blastoise, Venusaur and the unmissable Pikachu.
These cards are divided into several groups. 1 to 16 display figures in full activity, printed on holofoil. At number 4, Charizard is one of the two most powerful in the series with 120 hit points. 17 to 69 are secondary characters, 70 to 95 are the Trainers which define the actions in the game, 96 to 102 define the various types of Energy.
The packs of eleven were made of one rare card from the ranges 1 to 22 and 70 to 79, three uncommon cards and seven common cards. The rare item was a holographic card in approximately one of every three packs. Cheaters weighed the packs for reselling the sealed packs which did not have a holographic card.
The Base Set is complete if it includes the two variants of the 58, the Pikachu with yellow cheeks and the Pikachu with red cheeks which was a printing error. On January 30, 2021, Goldin sold for $ 680K as lot 33 such a complete collection including the two 58's. Each of these 103 cards has been individually graded Gem Mint 10 by PSA.
The high rhythm of diversification ensures the success. Jungle added 64 cards in June 1999 and Fossil 62 cards in October of the same year. Meanwhile, in September, Wizards was acquired by Hasbro for around $ 325M.
The rarest card from the Base Set is the holo # 4 featuring Charizard, a monster inspired by the European dragon whose fighting qualities are Fire for attack and Flight for defense. Beware the Charizard : it means Charcoal Lizard, unfortunately not Charming Lizard.
A Charizard graded GEM-MT 10 by PSA was sold for $ 400K by Goldin on March 6, 2021, lot 23.
At lot 1 on December 12, 2020, Goldin sold for $ 370K a Charizard in the best possible condition, the only example graded Gold Label Pristine 10 by SGC. At the top of the SGC grading system and better than Gem 10, a Pristine 10 is 50/50 centered with no visible wear under magnification.
Such a top condition is not described in the PSA grading. In January 2021 Heritage noted in a catalogue that 2,627 copies of the Base Set Charizard have been certified by PSA including 120 in Gem Mint condition.
2021 SOLD for $ 410K by Heritage
The boxes of the first three sets include a motto encouraging the frenzy, Gotta Catch 'em all, and a deceptively elitist indication, 1st Edition Limited Printing. In real life, the edition was so few limited that it clogged the production of card printers.
The hunt for monsters of the first generations has left the realm of gaming to reach collectors. They love the boxes that have remained sealed in their factory shrinkwrap, in which the still unidentified cards have never been handled.
A sealed box of the First Edition Base Set was sold for $ 410K by Heritage on January 14, 2021, lot 92124. Another one was sold for $ 360K on November 19, 2020, also by Heritage lot 92312.
In the same 2020 sale, a sealed box of Jungle was sold for $ 29K, lot 92314 and a sealed box of Fossil for $ 18K, lot 92315.