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Collectors Universe jumps into video game collectibles by acquiring grading company

Collectors Universe is continuing its expansion in the collectibles industry by purchasing video game company Wata Games.
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Collectors Universe is continuing its rapid expansion in the collectibles industry by acquiring video game company Wata Games.

Wata Games is a pioneer in the video game collectibles industry, emerging as the leading video game grading service. The company created a detailed grading and authentication scale of 1-10, leading to record sales for video games graded by the company.

A Super Mario 64 game recently sold for $1.56 million, while other Wata-graded games that have set records include a 1987 early production copy of The Legend of Zelda, which sold for $870,000, as well as a copy of Super Mario Bros. for NES, which sold for $660,000.

A Super Mario 64 game graded by Wata Games sold for $1.56 million.

Super Mario 64

The Legend of Zelda game graded by Wata Games.

The Legend of Zelda

“We founded Wata to elevate the video game hobby and grow the industry overall by adding legitimacy, transparency and professionalism to it,” said Deniz Kahn, President and Founder of Wata Games. “Nat [Turner] and the entire Collectors Universe team have demonstrated a commitment to expertise and are investing in the business for the benefit of hobbyists and consumers. With their expertise and resources, Wata will be better able to service its growing demand, fuel the hobby and provide new and long-time customers with the best experience possible.”

Collectors Universe owns Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), both leading authentication services in the industry. Its parent company, Collectors Holdings, also recently purchased Goldin Auctions. 

The acquisition of Wata marks the first major categorical expansion beyond trading cards, sports memorabilia and coins for Collectors Universe.

“Collectibles across categories, including trading cards and sports memorabilia, are now firmly considered an alternative investment class by both hobbyists and investors,” said Nat Turner, Executive Chairman of Collectors Universe. “With those categories seeing a stratospheric rise recently, we’ve identified video games as the next area primed for similar expansion. We’re partnering with Wata because they are the experts in video game grading and there’s simply no other way to recreate the amazing and trusted company they have built.”

Wata will continue to operate as a standalone business with its existing leadership.

Collectors Universe was acquired earlier this year by an investor group led by Turner, a longtime collector of sports cards and collectibles, as well as D1 Capital Partners L.P. and Cohen Private Ventures, LLC.