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alxbly
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Special thanks to an anonymous source for providing the information and photos of this controller. :) I'll move this across to our Guides, FAQs and Info section but thought it was worthwhile to enable an open dicussion about it first.

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As stated in the first post, this controller appeared on eBay some years ago. Below is the text from the original auction.

Ebay Auction
 
Gold N64 controller signed by SHIGERU MIYAMOTO!!! NR
Also signed by Minoru Arakawa and Howard Lincoln

You are bidding on a one-of-its-kind (so far as I know) gold Nintendo 64 controller signed by Nintendo legends Shigeru Miyamoto, Minoru Arakawa and Howard Lincoln.

My older sister has worked for Nintendo of America for over fifteen years and gave this controller to me at the 1997 (?) E3 in Atlanta. I know that Arakawa's and Lincoln's signatures are authentic because I have other items that they have autographed for me in person that I can compare them too. I am confident that Miyamoto's signature is authentic given that it is very similar to those on other items that I have seen on the internet that he has autographed. However, I have no way of verifiying their authenticity.

Shigeru Miyamoto has been called the "Spielberg" of video games. He is the creator of an all-star list of video game characters and franchises: Mario, Luigi, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, Star Fox, Yoshi, Wario, F-Zero, Kirby (?), Pikmin, Super Smash Bros., and the list goes on. He is extremely respected by his peers and the industry in general, as shown by his being the very first inductee into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' Hall of Fame in 1998. Miyamoto's creative genius has played an enormous role in making video games a multi-billion dollar industry. He will go down in history as one of the most well known artists of the late twentieth century.

Minoru Arakawa was the president of Nintendo of America for 22 years--from 1980 to 2002. Upon accepting this position, he was charged with introducing Nintendo's coin-operated products to the U.S. market. Donkey Kong proved to be the break-through hit. After moving the newly formed NOA from Manhattan to its present location in Redmond, WA, he set about trying to revitalize the console video game market in the U.S. that had been run into the ground by Atari and Coleco. Armed with the "Nintendo Entertainment System" (NES), the rest is well-known history. Nintendo would become a giant in America, muscling its way beyond the likes of Disney and Sega in the hearts and minds of children under his watch.

Howard Lincoln was a roommate of Arakawa’s in college and first joined Nintendo of America as a legal councilor in 1983. He has guided NOA through many serious legal battles, particularly in its vulnerable early days. He represented Nintendo on the U.S. Senate floor during proceedings concerning video game violence in 1993. During most of his time with NOA he served as a vice-president and then as chairman. Lincoln semi-retired from Nintendo in 2001. He is currently the CEO of the Seattle Mariners.

It would be pretty difficult to argue that there have been three individuals who have had more to do with Nintendo's success over the past twenty-five years than these three men. I have no idea how much this controllor is worth now, nor how much it will be worth a few years from now, so I am starting the bidding at $0.99 with no reserve. I am not able to check my e-mail really often, but I will do my best to check it daily during the auction and will answer any questions.

After the buyer received the controller this message was sent:

Message from buyer to seller
 
Dear Sir/Madam,
I while ago I won a gold Nintendo 64 controller from you that was signed by Shigeru Miyamoto, Howard Lincoln and Minora Arakawa from Nintendo. I just wondered, if possible, if you could tell me a little bit more about the history of this item? as when I received it I noticed that it is not just a 'standard gold controller', but also has a black base, and a gold 3D effect "N" logo in the centre of the controller. Was this a special E3 controller, or an "in-house" Nintendo controller? and when were the signatures aquired? Anything you could tell me about its origins etc would be much appreciated.
Thanks for your time.

And this response was received:

Message from seller to buyer
 
I do not have a lot of information about the controller. Most of what I know I included in the auction's text when I listed it. It was given to me by my sister as a gift at E3 the last year it was held in Atlanta, GA (1996, I believe). My sister is an employee for Nintendo of America, so it is in good faith that I believe that the signatures are authentic. I have a book that Lincoln and Arakawa once signed for me in person and those signatures seemed to match those that are on the controller. Miyamoto's signature also seemed to match when compared with pictures of it that I found on the internet.

As you seem to already be aware of, solid gold controllers are fairly common, though I do not think they were ever sold to the general public. The gold and black design and, especially, the golden "N" logo seem to say that Nintendo went to a few extra lengths in producing this controller. If I had to bet, I would say that this was a special E3 controller. I, however, have no way to be certain.
There seems some confusion over what year the controller was at E3. The seller states in the above message that it was there in 1996 at Atlanta. However, the history of the locations of E3 shows tells us that if the seller got the location right, they must have gotten the year wrong as the 1996 show was held in Los Angeles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_E3#1996

If the seller is correct that it was "at E3 the last year it was held in Atlanta" that makes it feasible that it could have been E3 1998 but I can't find any way to confirm this. I also can't find any photos which show N64 controllers at either E3, but Nintendo was there in both years showing off it's N64 games so there must have been N64 controllers there. I'll continue to search for more history around this unique controller. If anybody has any magazines with images of E3 in 1996, 1997 or 1998 I'd be very appreciative if you could check them to see if there's any photographic evidence of this controller.

In the mean time, enjoy these images of E3 controller:

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Thanks again to the person who has decided to make information on this controller public and who provided the photos. :)
Edited by alxbly, Mar 18 2013, 07:50 PM.
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E3 1997 Official N64 Controller · Collecting