Quoted from Jasenwm:
I'm just getting into pinball. I have a bunch of arcade games but only one pin. 1976 fireball home model
With a $5K budget, I recommend:
1) Bally Fireball Classic;
2) Gottlieb Joker Poker solid state version; and,
3) Capcom Breakshot.
All 3 titles are still excellent values in this escalating marketplace. Above-average examples can be found for under $2K. Also, each title is likely to hold its value or appreciate.
You would be acquiring well-regarded games from 3 different manufacturers, bestowing the benefit of variety in terms of the "feel" of each. Also, each game has a distinctive theme. Properly tuned older games (EMs included), play equally fast as the new releases.
Because of production and availability, you will always be able to buy a newer Stern title whereas the market for these somewhat older classics is drying up. Two years from now, the sub-$2K category will be even thinner. Good luck!