I learned to love pinball as a bonding experience with my Father. During the 70's my family did quite a bit of traveling and that meant lots of hotel arcades. Most hotels back then had at least 2 or 3 EM's. Some had whole rooms full. For me , it was always the pool or pinball! We also went to Lake Geneva WI often, so Gameland was a regular stop. We also frquented The Abbey and the old Playboy Club(Now the Grand Geneva). They also always had ton's of pinballs.
At 13 I got my first pinball, a Mata Hari. I loved it , but my Dad thought it was boring. So we traded it back to the guy we bought it from and got a beautiful Space Invaders. This was my first machine that I tinkered with and learned! When I moved out at 17, this pinball went with me. At 19(around 1990), I has picked up a Black Hole, and a KISS. Also at this time picked up 2 environmental Discs of Tron for $60. Famous story about one of these that passed many hands through the mid 90's after I sold one off. Second one got disassembled into a stand up unit and went to Pat Choy(yes, that Pat Choy).
At the age of 20, I made my first bulk buy of about 25 machines. I was WAY over my head. I picked a few machines out, sold a few, and the rest sat in a storage locker for about a year or so in various states of condition. I sold off that locker in a bulk deal to one Larry Kitchen(his 1st bulk buy!).
Things changed for me, I got engaged and sold off most all my machines except for a few. Black Hole, Lucky Hand, and Black Knight went to my Father's basement. Fast forward to about 1995 and I get a random call from a guy saying he got my number somewhere and would I know where he could buy a Tron video game. I took his number and remembered an old warehouse I had been through years back that was local to me. I made a couple of phone calls and got this guy a Tron. I was back in business , but this time mosty video games.
Did a couple of huge bulk buys and at one time had a stock and collection of over 40 games. As a side note, there are a couple of deals that went bad from the 90's that involved a Baby PacMan, and a Defender knock off called Mayday. If either of you 2 guys are around and see this, email me and describe the issues. I will know if you are the right guys and will make amends!
During this time I picked up a few pins. A gottlieb Genie, Scorpion, Silverball Mania.
By 1997 I was getting divorced and once again everything liquidated by 1998. Only thing left was the 3 pins in my parents basement.
Fast forward to 2001 and once again in need of money, the Black Hole gets sold.
In 2005 I met my future 2nd wife and she has always known my love for the games. My like for the videos had really fallen aside, but I was getting the urge for pinballs again.
In 2008 or 9 , I buy another Black Hole from fellow local collector Joe Kace for a nice price.(I also got my Haunted House from him earlier this year, on a trade).Got a pinball again, and I am hooked again. ( The Lucky Hand & BK stayed with my parents for some money they lent me). Time to get more machines!
I took it slow and really didn't pick anything up for a while. Move on to 2010 and I have lost my job and was unemployed really for the 1st time in my life. I had lots of time on my hands and started really studying up on pinball repair. My Dad called and said I could sell the Lucky Hand and BK and keep the money. I did, and they sold quickly.
Since 2010, I have been buying, selling, and trading. I do pinball flipping, but not in the usual manner. I actually have pride in fixing and shopping out machines that I buy and sell. I am not happy and won't sell a machine unless it works 100% properly. I am not in it to make a killing. A playfield wipedown is not my style. I have built a real nice collection over the time for myself and pinball has gotten me through hard times. I crossed paths again with Larry Kitchen as I found out he was only living a couple of streets away from me. I must have scared him off, he moved away!
Yes, I am the one who got the Gottlieb Spirit off C.L., it's now in New York as far as I know. I ended up trading/selling it for cash and other pinball items.
I love Gottlieb System 80 stuff, so I am always looking for that!