Eleven days after it was posted to eBay, Tanner Sandlin's auction for rare Atari 2600 game Air Raid and its even more rare box closed with the winning bid at $31,600 (after 52 bids with a starting price of $0.50). The auction was closely watched by several collectors with deep pockets, as the top bid jumped from $15,000 to the final amount in the last 20 seconds.

As mentioned in our previous article detailing the item shortly after it was listed, the Air Raid box is so rare, many presumed it didn't actually exist until Sandlin discovered the never-before-seen packaging stored in his garage recently in remarkably good condition. Independent parties have since vouched for its authenticity.

The actual game alone, developed by mystery studio Men-O-Vision and hacked from another Atari 2600 title Space Jockey, usually commands a high price, too; the T-handle cartridge sold at another auction for $2,850 last November. There are less than 20 copies of Air Raid known to exist.

Though $31,600 seems like a crazy amount of money to spend on a game and its box, that winning bid falls short of reaching Stadium Event's record; a factory-sealed version of that NES bundle (considered the rarest licensed NES title ever released in the U.S.) sold for $41,300 in February.

Collector and AtariAge.com forumer Wonder007, who already owned a copy of Air Raid sans box previous to the auction, placed the winning bid. He is currently interested in selling his copy and is accepting bids for the game until this Saturday. You can contact him through his AtariAge profile (though you'll need to register for an account first).

"My purpose in life is to archive as much Atari 2600 related items as possible for a Atari 2600 only museum in the future," says Wonder007. "It is my opinion that the Atari 2600 put video gaming on the map... Without the 2600, who knows where video gaming would be today?"

"Moreover, the Air Raid box now adds validity to the background of Air Raid (how ironic that it is going back to its birthplace of Los Angeles, CA). I am glad that I got it and will take very, very good care of it."

[Via AtariAge]