In 2009, THQ pulled a publicity stunt by covering a Nintendo Wii in 24 karat gold and trying to get it delivered to Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty never actually got her hands on the console, but now, after over a year of auction hijinx, you might be able to.
I actually wrote about this last year, when the console, in the hands of a collector in the Netherlands, was due to go up for sale on eBay:
The Queen likely never received the console—as outlined in this excellent episode of People Make Games—but it did eventually find its way into the hands of collector Don, one of the guys behind the website consolevariations.com, which I wrote about back in 2019.
Don, who is now, “Moving on with life,” and looking to buy a new place, is putting parts of his collection up for sale, and the headline item is of course this notorious, 24 karat gold-plated Wii, which he has listed on eBay for $300,000.
That eBay auction went ahead in October 2021 and collected over 700 bids, before a recent change in eBay’s auction policies—which tied the value of an item to the user’s selling history, which in this case was “very expensive console” vs “some guy’s regular eBay account”—saw the auction removed before it could be completed.
Six months later, the console’s current owner Don (who also runs the excellent Consolevariations) has found a workaround, with the auction house Goldin only too happy to list the golden Wii (and the shitty game it was originally intended to promote) there instead.
Here’s Goldin’s listing:
Due to the Palace Correspondence Team’s understandably strict policy when it comes to gifts, however, for security reasons, the console never actually made it into the Palace, let alone into the Queen’s hands. It was subsequently sent back to the THQ offices, unbeknownst to the rest of the world, who assumed that it had reached its final destination, living the life of royalty. When THQ went bankrupt in 2012, “The Royal Wii” fell off of the radar, and nobody really knew what became of it. However, five years later, it resurfaced, having been acquired by a collector specializing in developer hardware, who had obtained it from a contact he had at THQ. He ultimately sold the console, and it has been held quietly in our consignor’s hands since then.
Presented here is the ultimate Wii collectible, commissioned especially for Her Majesty the Queen herself for a (somewhat goofy, and ultimately unsuccessful) marketing ploy, “The Golden Wii.” The console and controller are both plated in 24 karat gold. Both exhibit minor handling wear, with the controller displaying scattered chips to the gold plating. The bundle includes the console, one controller, a copy of BIG Family Games, sensor bar, and all necessary cables. The Wii will come with a Letter of Provenance from our consignor attesting to its history and authenticity. Don’t miss your opportunity to own this truly one-of-a-kind Nintendo collectible! (Crown Jewels not included.)
Bidding has just opened, and if anything I’m incredibly curious to see where it goes. On the one hand, it’s a Wii with some gold on it, a funny story and a copy of a very bad video game. It could go for little more than the $1500 currently bid on it. On the other, we now live in a world where Pokémon cards can sell for as much as an apartment, so who knows how much someone will be ultimately willing to pay for this thing. With bidding closing on May 22, I guess we’re about to find out.