On December 1, we auctioned a signed copy of EarthBound, autographed by the game’s creator, Shigesato Itoi. The cartridge bears the first known instance of Shigesato Itoi’s English autograph.
The cartridge originally belonged to James Hensiek, who gave it to his coworker Ben Bizzle as a gift. When James was later diagnosed with cancer, Ben decided to auction the cart and donate the proceeds to James.
Ben reached out to the community with his story in late 2012 with a post on the Starmen.Net Forum. After several months of calls, emails, logistics, and help from Lindsay Nelson, the cart was handed off to the staff at Fangamer and then passed along to Hobonichi, the office of EarthBound creator Shigesato Itoi.
The signed cartridge is part of a complete set which includes the game manual and box, all three in excellent condition. Fangamer auctioned off the game after they defeated Giygas on the last day of the EarthBound Bash (around 8pm Eastern on Sunday, December 1, 2013).
The auction was structured as a “cutthroat auction”, which means that every bid was donated, regardless of whether the bidder won the item or not. (So for example, if someone donated $200 and another donor sent in $300, the total raised is $500, but only the $300 donor will get the cartridge.) The auction/donations took place live on http://earthboundbash.com and all donations were processed through Paypal and sent directly to James and his family.
Update:The cutthroat auction raised a total of $14, 344.78, with the winning bid going to Esther Zinn, who donated a total of $5,256.28!
Thanks again to Lindsay for her critical role in the project, Mr. Itoi and his staff for cooperating so generously, and you to all the EarthBound fans who join in, spread the word, and bid — you’re as exceptional as we expected you to be!
Thanks to the generosity of EarthBound fans and countless others, James and his family were able to visit Disney World in early-2014. Here are some photos from their trip!