ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – A group of Atari games dug up from a New Mexico landfill earlier this year have been sold and they went for a big chunk of change. The City of Alamogordo sold 100 of the unearthed games on eBay and they went for more than $37,000.
“It seemed like every seven to 10 minutes it went up a thousand dollars, a thousand dollars, so it was just instantaneously 24, 25, 26. It just kept on going way beyond anything we expected,” said Tularosa Basin Historical Society Vice President Joe Lewandowski.
The highest bid for one of the cartridges inside its original box was $1,537. It went to a person in Canada. People from as far away as Germany, Ecuador and Sweden got a piece of the prize.
“It’s really gratifying to see that happening because again to everybody it was a bunch of garbage in the landfill. You’re kind of nutty to go dig it up,” said Lewandowski.
Lewandowski knew about the burial from his work with solid waste in the 1980’s. He spear headed the dig and the sale.
“It was the treasure hunt and now that the treasure hunt’s done it’s not dead it is actually growing bigger,” he said.
Bigger and more wide spread. Last week, a museum in Rome unveiled the very first Atari dig exhibit. On display are games unearthed from the landfill, a certificate of authenticity and even dirt from the New Mexico dumping ground.
“It’s Alamogordo dirt in downtown Rome,” said Lewandowski.
From the Land of Enchantment to places all over the world, the Atari games that were once highly criticized are now going down in history as widely sought after.
The City of Alamogordo still has about 700 of the Atari dig games left. It plans on auctioning them off on eBay in the next few weeks.
All of the money goes to the city and the Tularosa Basin Historical Society.
The documentary highlighting the Atari dig will come out November 20.
The museum in Rome plans on holding a big event for the release.