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Find of 612 vintage video game boxes to go up for auction
Collection stored for 30 years saved from trip to landfill, contains many rare items
Patrick Scott Patterson, 38, is a media personality that specializes in video game history. Recently, he got a call from an old childhood friend about a startling find.
"I haven't seen or talked to this guy in almost 20 years," Patterson said. "I couldn't believe why he was reaching out to me at the time."
What Patterson's old friend, a city employee in a Dallas suburb, had found was a stash of boxes and packaging for hundreds of vintage video games from the era where Atari was king. They had been thrown in the garbage, destined for the local landfill. Patterson was contacted to pick them up.
"I didn't realize the full extent of the find at first," he said. "As I cataloged the find I found most of the boxes were in mint or near mint condition, including packages for some of the rarest games of the era. The idea they survived this long only to almost end up in a landfill is astounding to me."
Patterson's final count came to 612 boxes for early video game consoles such as the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Commodore computers and even rare systems such as the Vectrex. Most of them were carefully folded and stored in comic book boxes. He states that most of them were packed so tightly that they have been protected from both light and air for 30 years.
"Some of these packages have price stickers still on the boxes," he added. "They were aggressively marking them down, which tells me these were picked up for a song during the 1984 industry crash and stored since that time."
While none of the packages contained the game cartridges and instruction manuals, Patterson was quick to note that in many cases the boxes are actually the most difficult parts for collectors to find.
"We threw this stuff out back then. I know I did. We all did," Patterson added. "Today, even when you find a box you typically find them somewhat faded or worn after all this time. To find these in this kind of shape is mind blowing to me."
Upon the find, Patterson consulted with a number of video game collectible experts around the world for input. Some of them, he says, made offers of several hundred dollars apiece to buy some of the boxes outright, including on rare packages for games such at the Atari 2600 verson of 'Q*bert's Qubes' and a ColecoVision rarity named 'Slurpy'.
In the end, Patterson states that putting them up for public auction seemed like the fairest way to decide value and give collectors a true shot at these rare finds.
"Last thing I want to happen is for these to end up in the hands of resellers who will only treat them as inventory," he added. "Given the unique nature of the find I found that opinions on value vary, so it is going to be up to the public to determine them while giving all collectors a shot at what they need to complete their collections."
Patterson also notes that the decision to sell them won out over other options such as donating them or keeping them due to family.
"I have a wife and two kids who have been incredibly patient with me as I've chased some dreams over the past few years," he noted. "I'm both a preservationalist and a capitalist. Auctioning them off allows me to do both what is best for my family while giving collectors who will preserve them at the same time. I didn't come to the decision quickly, but I feel it what is best overall."
As for the friend who saved the find from its surefire destruction, Patterson says he isn't forgetting about him.
"We don't have any sort of arrangement, as he just gave them to me and I pretty much took them without careful examination,"
Current plans are to start listing items over the next several evenings tonight under eBay username OriginalPSP (http://www.ebay.com/
Patrick Scott Patterson PR Rep