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Electric Curiosities: The Value of Plastic

Last week, I wrote about the Aladdin Deck Enhancer.  I was prompted to write about it because I had recently acquired one from a popular on-line auction site that is a primary enabler of my addiction.  It was the complete set, the main unit and all six games that were released.  On top of that, it was sealed.  In a stroke of luck, I paid $70 for the lot.  However, since it was a complete set, in very good condition and sealed, it was probably worth about $200-300.  In fact, just the bare unit and all seven loose cartridges would potentially be worth $70 all by itself.

In video game collecting, as in many other types of collecting, the sealed package demands a premium.  For instance, a complete copy of Super Metroid can run you $40-50, but if it’s still factory sealed, you’re looking at a minimum of $400.  A used copy of Sgt. Pepper on Vinyl might sell for $10, but with an unbroken covering of the original plastic, you might have to talk to Christie’s Auction House.

Thing is, I don’t see the point.

Well, there goes the resale value...

Well, there goes the resale value...

With a quick little slice, I “lost” at least $150 on that Aladdin Deck Enhancer, and it doesn’t really bother me.1  In all honesty, what good is a bunch of games to me if I can’t play them?  If it’s sealed, it might as well be a pretty box with rocks inside.  While I like the container, it’s what’s contained that I really care about.  I have to wonder how many other collectors out there feel the same way.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to do something insane like break the seal on a copy of Chrono Trigger.  Instead, I just avoid buying anything that’s still wrapped in unbroken plastic, unless the price is such that I won’t lose any sleep over it.  It’s no great loss to the Video Game World that an Aladdin Deck Enhancer has been unwrapped.  It’s probably still worth more than I paid, even with the plastic opened.

  1. Although, I did consider trying to find someone who had an opened copy and would be willing to trade for a sealed copy.  After all, it might not be worth anything to be, but I know that someone out there might want it. []

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