Back in 2010, I wrote a story about some very rare and very expensive video games. Thanks to that article, Tanner Sandlin of Austin, Texas, realized he had one of only a handful of known copies of the Atari game, Air Raid. Normally the cartridge sells for about $3000 online, but Sandlin had an ace up his sleeve: the game’s original box, which had never been seen before. The game and the box wound up selling for $31,600 on eBay.
If you think that's crazy, there's a good chance that Tanner's auction-price record is about to be shattered.
Recently, a man in California (we'll call him Lucky, as he would prefer to remain anonymous), was reading another article about rare Atari games. Naturally, Air Raid was mentioned, as was the $31,600 sale price. Lucky recalled that he'd been given a sample copy of the game by a sales rep back in the 1980s when Lucky was an assistant manager at a drug store that sold video games. Lucky took the game home, played it for a few minutes, but decided he didn't want to order it for the store's inventory. When he told the sales rep he could have the game back, the rep said not to bother because none of his other clients were all that interested, either. Lucky stuck his copy of Air Raid in an old Atari display case at home, where it sat virtually untouched for the next 30 years.
Upon reading the article, Lucky and his daughter scoured through his old collection and found they had the second known copy of Air Raid in the box. But unlike the copy that Tanner bought from a clearance bin at a discount store in the mid-1980s, Lucky’s Air Raid has never been in circulation, so the box is in near-perfect condition.
As Lucky and his daughter were taking photos of the box to send to Albert Yarusso, the owner of AtariAge.com (who personally examined Sandlin’s Air Raid box in 2010), they discovered something else tucked inside: the instruction manual. Before now, there was only speculation that a manual even existed, so this makes Lucky’s the only “CIB” (Complete In Box) copy of Air Raid ever found.
After verifying that the cartridge still worked, Lucky and his daughter put Air Raid up for sale on GameGavel.com, an auction site exclusively for video games. Will it break Sandlin’s $31,600 sale-price record? Watch the auction and find out!