Games Dug Out of a Landfill Sell for $107,000

Online auctions for E.T. and others found in a New Mexico landfill bring in thousands for a New Mexico community.


A series of eBay auctions for rare games discovered in a New Mexico landfill has now ended. All together, sales of E.T. and other games unearthed in the Alamogordo landfill totaled $107,930.15.

Tularosa Basin Historical Society vice president Joe Lewandowski shared the figure during a recent City Commission meeting, as reported by Alamogordo News. Lewandowski is regarded as "Alamogordo's Indiana Jones," as he's been involved in the E.T. legend for decades now.

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The city of Alamogordo gets about $65,000 from the game sale, while the Tularosa Basin Historical Society nets around $16,250. Shipping fees and other expenses totaled about $26,600. In all, 881 games were sold to people in 45 states and 14 countries across numerous sets of auctions.

In addition to E.T., the failed movie tie-in released in 1982 for the Atari 2600, the city of Alamogordo sold unearthed copies of Asteroids, Missile Command, Warlords, Defender, Star Raiders, Swordquest, Phoenix, Centipede, and Super Breakout.

23 games were donated to museums around the world, while 100 went to the film company that produced the documentary, Atari: Game Over. The movie told the story of Atari's collapse, culminating with the excavation of the landfill in April 2014.

Lewandowski said he has lots more stories to tell for another movie. As such, he's holding onto 297 more games, possibly to sell when the second film comes out to maximize the return for Alamogordo.

"I just want to take a moment to thank Joe Lewandowski for all the hard work," Alamogordo city commissioner Nadia Sikes said. "I wouldn't consider myself a real naysayer of what was going to transpire with the sale of the games but I have to say I am so impressed with what you've done. Under no circumstances did I ever think you were going to sell over $60,000 worth of games."

Lewandowski will meet with city officials in September to share his recommendations for what Alamogordo should do with the proceeds.

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