The appearance of a New Kids On The Block sample NES box (well, more like packaging art taped to a box) on eBay last month sent game collectors shrieking in excitement, just like my sister 18 years ago when she got tickets to see the boy band during their Magic Summer Tour. Yes, their reactions were near identical.

The box belonged to former EGM editor Andrew "Cyber-Boy" Baran, who sadly passed away last July after battling pancreatic cancer. He kept the NKOTB prototype packaging after leaving the magazine, and it remained unaccounted for until several weeks ago when his wife Tracy listed the item and other pieces from his game collection on eBay.

Though the auction did not include the actual Parker Bros.-developed NES game, because NKOTB never made it to stores, the box's rarity was enough to attract a dozen bidders. Bidding ended on the item last week at $589, but the story doesn't end there.

The winning bid belonged to Jason "DreamTR" Wilson, who's a familiar name in the prototype video game collecting scene. He's the same collector that acquired and then helped to post online prototype ROMs for other previously unreleased NES titles -- Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch, U-Force Power Games, and Exerion II.

After winning the auction, DreamTR said he didn't expect to win when he put in a max bid of $700, as he believed bidding would end at a much higher price. "I realized I did not have the money for this like I thought," he commented in a messageboard post.

He explained the situation to Tracy, and she offered to reduce the price to $400, but he said he needed an extended time to pay. The two eventually filed a Non Mutual Agreement, cancelling the transaction. Tracy attempted to sell the NKOTB box to the second- and third-highest bidder, but neither took her up on the offer.

"Honestly? This box doesn't have much value to me personally," she commented online. "Some [NintendoAge] people said they were interested, so I listed it. What it gets bid up to is out of my control. I was surprised at the price too."

NintendoAge forumers who caught wind of the story accused DreamTR of inflating the price and other shady tactics (which the collector denied) before moderators on the message board closed the thread. Tracy has since relisted the NKOTB box on eBay, where it currently has a bid of $51 (after 10 bids) with two days left before the auction closes.