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Legendary Nintendo PlayStation Prototype Auctioned for US$360,000

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Once upon a time, Sony was in talks with Nintendo to create an expanded version of the successful Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) console with CD-reading capabilities. The early 90s partnership would ultimately fall apart and Sony would take its "ball" and go home—to later release the PlayStation system. But not before it created roughly 200 prototypes of the colloquially called "Nintendo PlayStation."

No games or software for the console exists, but that hasn't lowered its status as at top-tier collector's item. Its worth was cemented this week when one of the only known remaining systems sold at auction for US$360,000. The lucky buyer was Greg McLemore, the founder of Pets.com and Toys.com and an avid collector.

McLemore told CNN Business, "It's the single most expensive thing I've ever bought outside of a house. "I believe I got a great deal... To me it was worth it, especially when combined with the rest of my collection, the whole of which tells a story I want to save for society."

McLemore's win is likely one of a kind. The other prototypes are believed to have been destroyed according to Heritage Auctions' consignment director of video game Valarie McLeckie. McLemore's prototype has had very few previous owners, first belonging to former Sony CEO Olaf Olafsson. Olafsson took the prototype with him when he moved to the Board of Directors of specialty finance company Advanta Corporation but apparently left it behind in 1999 when he moved again to Time Warner.

Advanta filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and its possessions were auctioned off as lots. Former Advanta employee Terry Diebold won the lot that included Olafsson's Nintendo PlayStation and discovered that it was still in mostly working order. The console could play SNES cartridges but needed repair to its CD-ROM drive and audio output. Diebold sent the console to a modder in 2017 who was able to make the necessary repairs.

Diebold put the system up for auction last month with a starting price of US$15,000. The bids climbed to over US$300,000 in just two days.

McLemore plans to tour the Nintendo PlayStation at exhibitions across the country, including at the USC Pacific Asia Museum in California next year.

Source: CNN Business (Shannon Liao)


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