Somebody paid $870,000 at auction for a rare copy.
A sealed copy of The Legend of Zelda for the NES just sold for $870,000 at Heritage Auctions, breaking the previous record for the most expensive game ever sold (as far as I am aware, at least). That record was just raised quite a bit in April when a copy of Super Mario Bros. was auctioned for $660,000, a price that more than quadrupled the previous known record.
As for why this version of the game is so valuable? I’m just going to leave part of Heritage Auctions’ grandiose explanation here:
While it is a hard truth, it is a truth nonetheless — none of the copies we’ve offered of this title previously could even attempt to hold a candle to this one due to its incredibly rare variant that holds early production status. This matter is completely inarguable. This is the only copy from one of the earliest production runs that we’ve ever had the opportunity to offer, and, possibly will have the opportunity to offer, for many years to come. Considering this variant was only produced for a few months in late 1987 before it was ultimately replaced by the “Rev-A” variant in early 1988, this statement likely comes as no surprise to collectors. Only one other variant precedes the offered “NES R” variant and that is the “NES TM” variant, which is the true first production run. However, it is also widely believed that only a single sealed “NES TM” example exists, and there is no telling whether or not that copy will ever come to market. Essentially, this copy is the earliest sealed copy one could realistically hope to obtain.