Usually, when you hear about auctions for extremely rare and valuable games, they’re giant gross testaments to greed and gluttony, but this one’s a bit different. This time the end result wasn’t an already-rich man stuffing a few more millions into his vault…100% of the cash went to charity.
We’re not sure if the circumstances were intentional, though. Alex Juarez works at a Goodwill in North Texas, sorting donations for thrift store branches all around the area. One recent morning he was picking through a box of random toys and old knickknacks and pulled out an unusually-shaped Atari 2600 cartridge. It was bright blue, with a pull handle and a wordless painting of airplanes on its front label.
Juarez was certain he’d seen the item before, but couldn’t remember where. He sent a picture of the cartridge to his father, who exclaimed “YOU FOUND AIR RAID!”
Air Raid is considered by many to be the rarest Atari 2600 game ever made (though since there was no lockout chip and anyone could make a game in their garage back then, that claim is arguable). We CAN say it’s the most VALUABLE Atari 2600 game ever made. Only a dozen carts are known to exist, and one hasn’t gone on sale since 2012, when a complete-in-box model sold for over 33 thousand dollars.
This Air Raid was a loose cart and didn’t sell for quite that much, but it’s still a lot: Goodwill made $10,590.79 off the donation. A great feel-good story, but we’ll never know if the anonymous donator was aware of what they gave away.