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Bidding starts on ‘super rare’ NES game

A rare video game considered the "holy grail" for collectors has been put up for auction on Ebay, with bids already exceeding £3,000.

The Nintendo World Championship (NWC) game met its reserve price of $4,999 (£3,000) not long after the auction started. At the time of writing, bidding had reached $5,500 (£3,332).

The item is one of only 116 copies of the game ever made, designed by Nintendo in 1990 for a gaming competition on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The game was never released to the general public.

"This is an authentic, original NWC cart from the championship back in the early 90s," the listing reads. "The cart plays just fine and may someday be worth much more."

The game cartridge is not in very good physical condition, with the label mostly peeled off. However, this is unlikely to deter serious collectors, who consider it "the holy grail", according to Chris Scullion, games editor for Computer and Video Games.

Scullion told the BBC: "It's like finding the rarest Ferrari but with a scratch - you'd still buy it."

Related: NES celebrates 25th anniversary

Versions of the NWC game in good condition have previously reached over $10,000 (£6,000) at auction.

"A must for Nintendo collectors, which I can attest to since I've been one for over 25 years," the seller writes on the listing.

"Those that walk in NES circles will relate my name with honesty and integrity but feel free to ask for references if you doubt my authenticity. These carts are near impossible to find anywhere so don't let this pass you by!"

The auction ends tomorrow (25 January) at around midnight GMT.