A first printing of the original woodgrain box edition of Dungeons and Dragons, one of the rarest RPG collectibles, sold on eBay Friday for $22,100. The seller tells the story of how they acquired this ultra-rare piece of gaming history in the item description:
This set is in Very Fine condition with one small stain on the front label and very minor scuffing on the corners of the box. Note that the Reference Sheets are not stapled, but loose sheets folded together. This was the original condition.
It was acquired by the present owner in an interesting way.
In 1974 I worked in a project offering supplemental educational materials to four school districts in Northwestern Wisconsin. I met Bill, an elementary school librarian, who was very excited about working with his students using role playing games. He had a friend in Minneapolis whom he had met through their shared interest in war gaming. This friend, “Lance,” was involved with creating a new project, a fantasy-style wargame in a box that could be played by anyone.
My librarian friend was working with a sixth-grade class to create a book based on playing the game. Included in this set is a copy of the booklet that his students created using the game. Bill also used a 20-sided die that he had hand-colored to differentiate scoring. Adding to the charm of this set, the die is included, as is a hand-written note from Bill, the librarian, explaining the use of the die. He added that there was currently a shortage of these dice, but they were available in England. He was going to England for a vacation, and would be bringing some back with him.
I’m not sure this is a record price, but it must be pretty close. It’s definitely one of the most high-profile sales of a D&D collectible in recent memory. The seller, editorjan_1, has never previously sold on eBay, and has a zero feedback score, which makes this auction something of a risk for the buyer. See the complete listing on eBay here, and a more detailed breakdown of everything in the box at acaeum.com.