In 1990, Nintendo did a tour through thirty cities in the United States dubbed the Nintendo World Championships and attendees would be able to compete for prizes, one winner per age bracket.
The special cartridges used for the event had three games built into them: Super Mario Bros, Rad Racer, and Tetris. Gamers were given six minutes and 21 seconds to get fifty coins in SMB, finish a race in Rad Racer with the shortest time, and score the highest in Tetris with whatever time was left. One of the prizes given out were these specially modified Championship cartridges and only ninety are believed to exist (corresponding to the three age bracket/thirty city tour).
The only other thing rarer than the grey Championship carts are the gold ones. The gold variants are virtually identical aside from the gold casing and the number made: only twenty six for a special contest held by Nintendo Power. Both are considered “holy grails” among serious game collectors and as a result, go for thousands of dollars.
So if you want to snag a piece of gaming history, and if you’ve got the cash, here’s your chance.
UPDATE 9.25.09: The auction has ended and it doesn’t look like that there were any takers. Granted, it’s a large amount of coin to part with and in this economy, I’m not sure that even collectors are willing to pay top dollar for something like this. Still, I hope that the guy finds a way to sell it off to help him land on his feet.