Ask LH: How Can I Find Out How Much My Old Games Collection Is Worth?

Dear Lifehacker, I have a lot of Atari 2600 games and a few consoles that are still in working order. I would like to find out what they may be worth and how to sell them in a lot as I don't want to split them up. I also don't know if any are rare. Any advice? Thanks, Anyone For Atari?

Dear AFA,

Unfortunately, the Atari 2600 hasn't appreciated well due to the sheer number of second-hand machines on the market. With approximately 30 million units sold over the console's lifespan, supply has conclusively outstripped demand. In addition to this, Atari 2600 games are a bit too primitive to appeal to the average collector — unlike the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) or Neo Geo, they're considered a bit daggy.

That's not to say your collection is worthless, however. A quick perusal of sold listings on eBay shows used Atari 2600 consoles and games selling for close to $1000. Naturally, the value of your collection will largely depend on its condition and the number of rare games you own.

One good place to start is; a collectibles database that boasts a dedicated Atari 2600 section. To find out how rare your games are, simply type a title into the search box. The site will then spit out a rarity rating and the amount it generally sells for. The evaluations are based on community feedback, current market activity and the administrators' own expertise.

Other price-appraisal sites worth exploring include Price Charting, Retro Gaming Collector and of course, targeted searches on eBay and Gumtree.

Once you've ascertained how much your collection is worth, your best bet is to sell them directly to the buyer via an online auction site. Don't offload them to a pawn shop or specialty store as the re-seller's intended cut will eat significantly into your profits.

In addition to the usual auction sites, it might be worth trying specialist sites dedicated to old video games. VGA, Gamesniped and GameGavel are a few examples. While the user base is much smaller on these sites, every buyer is a hobbyist willing to spend good money for old games.

If you happen to own any ultra-rare items such as Men-A-Vision's fabled Air Raid, it might be worth selling these separately to maximise your profits. (i.e. — A collector will hesitate to buy a rare, expensive game if they're also forced to pay exorbitant shipping costs for a bunch of stuff they don't want.)

If any Atari 2600 fans have additional selling tips, let AFA know in the comments section below. Good luck!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Hey, I've only recently started collecting old games and consoles that I had in my youth, but have since been lost. I've only been at it for around 6 months, but have a little bit of info that might be helpful.

    If you want a better indication of value, look at the items sold on eBay, not the ones currently listed. Also look at who is selling it. If it's an individual, it's usually a bit lower than if a dealer or re-seller would charge. Typically because they are looking for some quick cash, where-as for a dealer it's an investment. Take a look at the quality too, not just functionality. I've seen broken NES consoles sell for higher than working ones, purely because the plastic has not yellowed and it looks good aesthetically. It's easy to pull the board out and swap it. Boxed games/consoles with instruction manuals make the value skyrocket.

    Games sold in bundles or lots seem to sell for considerably less than individuals, especially if it's in high demand. In some cases I have purchased bundles and resold the individual games to actually turn a profit and still get the games I was after! When you sell individually, put in your description that you will combine shipping - this encourages people to look at your other games for sale and possibly take a few off your hands.

    If you do sell them in an online auction, be sure to correctly categorize what you are selling.. You want to make sure that if someone is looking for it, they find it! I've scored a few amazing bargains from people not correctly categorizing games and me being the sole bidder. If no one can find them, no one bids on them.

    Luckily I still have my original Atari from my childhood, so I haven't had to purchase one. However, a few weeks back I looked at them as I had a friend looking for one, I saw a few that were in very good condition selling for under $80. The games were also quite cheap, less than $5 each. I assume this is as the author wrote, that so many were produced.

    That reminds me, I need to stick my Atari Jag games, CD unit, 2600 games, Lynx games, and Dreamcast gear on ebay.

      If your offloading a Jag and its working let me know I might be interested :)

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