The Nintendo PlayStation Prototype Is Up for Auction, and Bidding's Already at $31,000

The Nintendo PlayStation Prototype Is Up for Auction, and Bidding's Already at $31,000

That's a big price tag for a beige bit of history.

First rediscovered in 2015, the prototype CD and SNES cartridge-loading console dubbed the "Nintendo PlayStation" by fans is now up for auction. The bidding won't end until early March, but the console will end up selling for at least a five-figure sum, as the current price is already sitting at $31,000.

The prototype's current owner, Terry Diebold, expressed interest in selling the unit late last year. Diebold himself obtained the unit through a bankruptcy auction for Advanta in 2009-the prototype is believed to have been owned by former Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Ólafur Ólafsson, who was briefly Avanta's president in the late '90s. Reportedly, 200 such units exist, but Diebold's is the only to have publicly surfaced since they were made in 1992.

Diebold's son posted a video of the unit to YouTube in 2015, and the two have brought it around the world to various gaming conventions in the years since. Plenty have had the opportunity now to see the prototype in person, and Diebold even let prolific console modder Ben Heckendorn open up the system and figure out how to get it working. All the touring and attention, Diebold says, has ultimately cost him money out of pocket.

Bidding is underway at Heritage Auctions, a Texas-based auctioneer known for facilitating the sales of incredibly rare collectibles. In November, Heritage moved a near-mint copy of the very first Marvel Comics issue for a record $1.26 million.

Right now, the Nintendo PlayStation is up for proxy bidding ahead of the final live auction session on March 6. 32 bids have already been logged for the prototype, and Diebold told Kotaku that he previously turned down an offer of $1.2 million from a collector in Norway. It's quite possible that the prototype's final sale price could eclipse that offer—last year, a collector paid $1.02 million at auction for close to 40 factory-sealed games for the NES.

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Mathew Olson

Reporter

Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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