Tarrant County

Atari Game Donated to Goodwill Store Fetches More Than $10,000 At Auction

The copy of the 1982 game "Air Raid" for the Atari 2600 sold for $10,590.79 at auction

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Goodwill stores receive a wide range of donations, but occasionally an item really stands out.

If a local Goodwill store employee spots something that seems unique, they send it to the e-commerce building in Fort Worth. That's where Alex Juarez comes in.

Juarez, a Goodwill North Central Texas e-commerce processer, was sorting through bins of items from across the area when he came across "Air Raid," a video game for the Atari 2600 console.

"It caught my attention because it didn't look like any of the other games — all the other games are usually black and have a sticker with the title on it," he said. "This one didn't have a title on it and it was blue and had a handle, so, different."

Not knowing exactly what he was looking at, Juarez sent a photo of "Air Raid" to his father, a big fan of Atari games.

"He sent me a text back in all caps that said 'you found an Air Raid,' which is when I really started to do the research on it," Juarez said. "If he thinks it's something, it's probably something."

As it turned out, the 1982 game in which players control an air ship to defend a city, is pretty rare.

Men-A-Vision released very few copies of the game, and only 13 are known to exist, according to Goodwill.

The copy of the 1982 game "Air Raid" for the Atari 2600 console sold for $10,590.79 at a Goodwill auction. (Courtesy Goodwill North Central Texas)

Goodwill lists donated items such as antiques, clothes and collectibles, on an online e-commerce site that draws items from stores across the country. Occasionally, they will bundle several video games into one auction, but Air Raid was rare enough to stand alone.

They put the game up for a weeklong auction starting June 10, and on the first day bidding climbed to $1,000, Juarez said.

At the end of the week, the game sold for $10,590.79, making the copy of "Air Raid" the highest selling single piece item they have, said Rosemary Cruz, vice president of donated goods and retail at Goodwill North Central Texas.

"I thought it was only going to go for [$3,000] at most and so seeing it go way past what I had expected was really surprising," Juarez said.

A previous cartridge-only copy of the game sold on eBay in 2011 for $3,575, according to Goodwill.

Shay Dail Johnson, vice president of community engagement at Goodwill North Central Texas, said the auction sale can go far for Goodwill's community programs.

Johnson said for that amount, Goodwill could put one person through the S.T.A.R.S. Program — a yearlong day program for adults with multiple or significant disabilities. It could also go to enroll 10 people in the E-Squared program, which helps people earn a high school diploma or equivalent while they get work experience, or help 20 North Texans experiencing homelessness get job training and education.

"All of the sales that come from not only our brick and mortar stores, but our online stores as well, go to help forward our mission, which is to help people with disabilities and other barriers to employment gain maximum independence, and that's really all anyone needs — a chance," she said.

Telemundo 39 photographer Sergio Alvarado contributed to this report.

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