Hi, I've been researching this system for a while and have been having trouble determining what the actual launch price of the console was. I commonly see the price as being "$199", but I don't believe this is correct. Ads for the Sears Video Arcade version list the system as around $179 at the time of release, but the earliest ads I can find all start in November.
Here is the earliest ad I found with a price for the non-Sears version (that came bundled with COMBAT) for $169 in December 1977. I would say to note that the price says it regularly costs $189, but you can't count on those to be correct, because it was very common for retailers at the time to list the price as higher than normal to make it seem like it was on sale. I find in general that it's very difficult to actually pinpoint prices during this era because retail wasn't nearly as standardized as it is today.
But I was hoping that anyone could find real, concrete evidence of what the VCS sold for in September 1977.