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?
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 rarityguide.com; 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.
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!
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