(Topic ID: 30779)

At a crossroads, thinking of shrinking.

By callmesteam

7 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 49 posts
  • 37 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 years ago by Slate
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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    #1 7 years ago

    I've been going back and forth with this for weeks now, and I'm sure some of you have been in the same boat, so I'd love to hear your advice.

    My wife is currently five months pregnant with twins, our first children. We have a little credit debt, a car payment, and a mortgage. I have a collection of 11 pins, all of which are in 'good' shape or better. I am 'emotionally' ready to sell off all but 1 or 2 pins to make money to pay off debt so that one of us can stay home with the kids and not be worried about bills.

    I explained this to my wife, and surprisingly SHE is the one who doesn't want to sell any of our pins! She very rarely plays any of them, unless I prod her to join me, but she is a fan of the hobby and knows more about pinball (through osmosis) than many regular pinheads. I am having a hard time getting her on-board with selling, because she thinks I will end up regretting the decision. In my mind, it's like having $20k sitting around, with no one to enjoy them, AND no dent in our debt.

    If you sold off your collection in the past, or even just substantially downsized, do you regret it? Pins are going up in value right now, and down in availability. We've sold off a lot of games in the past to nut our collection down to this 'core' group of pins as it is. She likes that we're the 'cool' couple with the fun house, and when the kids are older, that image will hold even more weight in her mind (and I get it, I would have loved to have had a friend with an arcade in their house when I was a kid!). Still, that's at least seven years away... haha... if that? If the games are gone, we're just a boring old couple.

    I need someone to talk me into it or out of it! Thanks so much!

    #2 7 years ago

    Sell off that CSI right now...WCS also. They're not games you "need. "

    #3 7 years ago

    Well, one thing is, does one of you WANT to not work and stay home with the kids? Daycare is freaking expensive, but in our case, I would have gone stir crazy without my job. We didn't have pins to consider at that time, of course, but even if we had, I would have rather stayed in the workforce.

    But some people love the staying at home with the kids thing, so if that's you, then it certainly is worth considering.

    And by the way... GRATS on the impending arrivals!

    #4 7 years ago

    You could cut your collection in half and still have more pins than many (perhaps most) people at Pinside. It doesn't have to be all or nothing at all. Just my two cents.

    #5 7 years ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Sell off that CSI right now...WCS also. They're not games you "need. "

    haha... CSI is our newest addition, a game we both really like. And I'm a sucker for Popaduik games. The only pin I've ever regretted selling is ToM. I've thought about selling WCS more than any other game, but it always suckers me back in. TOTAN is actually the big fish that I'm ready to move, though I basically traded the ToM for it.

    #6 7 years ago

    Yeah TOTAN will give you a little day care money.

    #7 7 years ago

    I grew up in daycare as a child, and while I don't have any issues with parents that use it, we would prefer that one of us stays home with the kids. We both have long-term career type jobs, but I would probably go down to part-time to keep my benefits while my wife continues her work. So, YES, we do WANT to stay home.

    We have a WOZ coming (eventually), that we ordered in Jan. 2011, and I figured keeping a game or two would keep the hobby alive in our home.

    #8 7 years ago

    Compromise and sell five or six of them.

    I'd make a list of games based on availability and another one based on price. Games that are readily available and have been for years, will still be available 5-7 years from now. Games that are weirdly expensive right now(like WH20 for some reason), you can cash in right now.

    Where those two lists cross paths, take the 5 or 6 at the top and be happy with what you've got left.

    Just looking at your collection, I'd say it's safe to sell of the CSI, WCS, JD, BOP, and TZ. Those are games that I see being a mix of either being not very "in demand" titles and ones that'll bring in some good money now, that you can replace easily later(like TZ).

    Of course, you may need to make a third list based on how much you love a particular title versus the others....

    #9 7 years ago
    Quoted from Miguel351:

    Compromise and sell five or six of them.
    I'd make a list of games based on availability and another one based on price. Games that are readily available and have been for years, will still be available 5-7 years from now.

    I like this idea. I've thought more about keeping games like WCS and Pinbot because the value rarely moves, so we're not really 'gaining' anything. JD is my favorite game, but no one else likes it. I like the idea of merging two lists with different goals. Thanks!

    #10 7 years ago
    Quoted from Miguel351:

    Compromise and sell five or six of them.

    I vote for this approach! If you can and want to stay home with your kids, then you should do that. They grow up fast.

    #11 7 years ago

    I agree with Miguel, sell about 6-8 and keep 4 or so that you really like. You can still be the cool family with the game room with 4 pins. Get those bills taken care of, pinball is fun but you have to have your priorities in order and I'd say family comes 1st.

    #12 7 years ago

    I'd keep TOTAN,TZ,and WOZ! A good core to rebuild around!

    #13 7 years ago

    Yeah id sell half or keep 3 or what ever.

    Your kids are worth it.

    you can always buy more pinball machines. Buying kids is much more problematic


    #14 7 years ago

    Sell as many as you need to afford staying home. So long as you (or yours) have the drive to stay home with them, then do it. Kids are rad and the more time you can give them, the better! Maybe sell your big $ pins and replace them with something new and cheap. There are some good $1k-ish titles (I liked my SF2 and POTO and love my Cyclone) that you can replace your $4k - $6k titles with. Then you can still have a bunch of machines and be the cool people on the block AND stay home with the twins. Just my 2 cents.

    Good luck!

    #15 7 years ago

    If I were you, I would keep TZ, WOZ, and one more (either Congo, RS, or WCS). That gives you awesome history (TZ), brand new and might as well stay in at this stage (WOZ), and one more great bang for buck and oddball to round it out at 3.

    That also lets you dump some dead weight and raise some $. 3 pins is still a very nice collection.

    #16 7 years ago

    Even better idea:

    Sell the pins to a local Pinsider(within 100 miles or so) for a little bit of a deal with the caveat of you getting first dibs if/when that Pinsider wants to sell one of your old machines.

    That way, if he's close enough, you could go over and play them if you absolutely have to, but then in a few years when the kids get to be more manageable(yeah right!), you'd have first crack at getting them back!

    Just a thought....

    #17 7 years ago

    I'm psyched that you guys are being so supportive! I'll have to show my wife your comments when she gets home. Thanks so much for your input.

    #18 7 years ago

    if your house was paid off and had no dept, i'd say keep em. it's play money. since you still have a mortgage, you're married and got twins on the way, it's logical to sell em imo. you got 20k sitting in amusement machines. com'on now. priorities

    #19 7 years ago

    Was recently thinking about selling six pins - three now and three, six months down the road after I tricked them out. So what did I actually do? Bought three more, of course.

    #20 7 years ago
    Quoted from callmesteam:

    I'm psyched that you guys are being so supportive! I'll have to show my wife your comments when she gets home. Thanks so much for your input.

    I just sold my favorite game (MM) to help pay for tuition expenses for my wife. Sometimes logic needs to beat out emotion. Downsizing is just trimming the fat. It is not like you will lose your pinball identity if you still have 3 games rather than 11-12. Not to mention 3 really good working games are WAY better than 11-12 OK games in OK condition.

    In conjunction, it is always fun to hunt out a new game for the collection. Sell a few of the higher dollar pins and find one more good bang for the buck.

    Last suggestion, with as many games as you have I assume that you must like working on them to some degree. Maybe you can sell a bunch fomr the currnet collection and find 1 nice project game that yo can pick away on restoring over the first few years of the twins lifes... You won't have much time but if you pick away at one small thing at a time it would be fun.

    congrats on the kids also

    #21 7 years ago

    If it were me in the same boat I would KEEP - WOZ,BOP, JD, WCS, TZ & Congo and sell the rest.

    Then see where I'm at and decide if I needed to sell any more or not.

    #22 7 years ago
    Quoted from Rabscuttle:

    I vote for this approach! If you can and want to stay home with your kids, then you should do that. They grow up fast.


    I hate to bring you down, but you won't have any time for pinball - for awhile anyway.

    #23 7 years ago

    I have been debt free for almost five years. No car payment, no mortgage, no credit cards. I can't say enough about how it changes your life.

    In the end, you can always buy the pinball machines back. Make a five year or ten year plan. I know your wife wants you to have the pins so you'll be happy, but in the end what's right for your family will always outweigh any hobbies. Let her know it would make you feel more secure to pay down the debt for now.

    #24 7 years ago

    I had at one time one of best sport figurine collections in the US. I decided to sell to raise cash for another issue. The hardest to sell was the first. I knew I would never find these in the graded condition again and had spent countless hours searching and traveling across the Midwest to accumulate. I would no longer have one of the best collections.

    Once the money started coming in, I no longer had any regrets. It didn't hurt looking back that I sold close to the top in prices. You never know that pins will continue to appreciate and most likely we are near the top. Like in the stock market, once the secondary and tertiary players start to take off there isn't much more room to go. Plus, you instantly gain by not paying 20% interest on your cc debt and gain peace of mind... Priceless.

    You won't have regret you sold at great prices to pay off debt but would that you didn't when you had the chance.

    #25 7 years ago

    If I were in your shoes, I'd sell the WoZ since you will get what you paid and with lots to be made, well, you probably took an eCONomics class or two so you know the drill. Also sell a few more and pay off the car. You need vehicles. CC debt is unsecured so even if things get bad you simply stop paying, what can they do, damage your credit score? Big deal.

    #26 7 years ago

    Take the money and run dude. Oversize paperweights at this point in life? You don't need all of them. You are about to get the best education in your life on what really matters and what doesnt. Will probably be taking advantage of a high water mark for prices too. Nothing is irreplaceable....not even that Roadshow!

    Keep the CSI though, and a couple other short ball time machines...because you are not going to have that much time to play pinball. Keep one longer game - maybe TSPP - for those times you actually get to dig in...which is basically going to be never.

    New twins? Oh boy! What a ride you're in for! It's going to be like having another full time job...only with no sleep! And that's just for you! Tougher for your wife. Sell some pins, and make your wife and your life as comfortable as you can afford. By the time you come up for air you can add another couple machines back to the mix. And appreciate the, even more.

    Good luck. Wish I had some babies, but I'm too damn old.

    #27 7 years ago

    I've been sizing down lately, and I'm finding that a small collection of great, must-keep pins beats a larger collection of pins that aren't all keepers.

    Such a collection is easier to maintain, feels a bit more special, and oddly makes me want to play pinball a bit more than I did when I had a larger selection.

    I'm thinking 3 or 4 badass machines might just be the sweet spot.

    #28 7 years ago

    Funny...I'm pretty close to your situation also. About 6 months ago I started a list of 'stuff.' Most of this stuff is pinball related but..there are a few non-pinball items.

    This list is prioritized top down from 'must keeps' to meh...

    The actual list has moved around a bit as my priorities change...but I haven't had to sell off of it yet. The tough part is arranging the dollar value VS enjoyment. For example selling the MB at say 7kish (and no..it's not for sale) would mean I could keep Stargate, FT, DW and slugfest. Of course selling those 4 games means room for other projects...my list is quite a juggling act =)

    My idea was, if I had to sell, start at the bottom of the list and work my way up.

    One piece of advise...don't put yourself in a situation that you 'have' to sell. That REALLY sucks and you'll probably take a hit on the value

    #29 7 years ago

    I would hold off, have the children, wait a couple of months and then see what the financial situation is. You'll be surprised what you could/could not afford once you adjust to the new lifestyle of having children now. After our children was born, my wife and I found out we stayed home more, thus giving you more time to enjoy your hobby and play with the pins. Plus, if the wifey wants you to hold off, then I would. Don't be haste on making a decision you may not had to do worrying about something that may not even happen. Good luck on whatever decision you make and taking from someone who is a twin, congrats on the future family! :0)

    #30 7 years ago

    I don't want to sound like a smart-a$$ (but i am) but you guys have no idea what you are in for! Sell the ones you don't want RIGHT NOW while people are holiday shopping and overpaying. You won't have time for jack-squat once those twins come out of the oven.

    Congrats on the twins.

    #31 7 years ago
    Quoted from davewtf:

    I don't want to sound like a smart-a$$ (but i am) but you guys have no idea what you are in for! Sell the ones you don't want RIGHT NOW while people are holiday shopping and overpaying. You won't have time for jack-squat once those twins come out of the oven.
    Congrats on the twins.

    Exactly. I wonder if the people telling you to wait a few months after the birth to see where your at have ever had kids! Ill tell you where you'll be: knee deep in diapers, and bottles, and baby bjornes and double strollers and cribs and bouncy chairs and sleep deprivation and dirty dishes and dirty clothes ... And you'll have, let's see, zero time to properly sell a pinball machine. Do it now, or don't do it....but don't expect to do it properlyafter the babies are born.

    #32 7 years ago

    I cut my collection down in half from 29 pins to 14 1/2 (the 1/2 is the RFM playfield to swap in and out of SWEp1 cab). I do not regret it. I downsized a bit knowing layoffs were coming at work and also to get some new games in. While its hard to let a game go, I was ok with it. Usually if I need to pick, I let the more common ones leave. Last night I watched my LOTR leave (my first NIB that I got back in 2005). However I know LOTR are around and can be replaced. Looking at your collection, you could dump WCS, RS, JD and TZ to start. All are easier to find than say your CSI or Congo. I have kept track of my games played per month for 10 years. The slowest times ever (excluding when I shut the gameroom down to build a bowling alley LOL) were when my kids were born. No time to play and when you do have time, you will sleep Sell a few...you still have others and a new WoZ is coming too....once that arrives, the others will collect dust (assuming you have any time)

    #33 7 years ago

    Sell some now before the babies come! Good market timing and you'll be too tired later.

    #34 7 years ago

    I went through this about 3 years ago, due to a change in personal circumstances. Lost most of my collection, not by choice, and was away from any involvement with pinball for almost 2 years. Yes the prices increased dramatically during that time, but by still being diligent and patient, I've built a modest collection back up including a really rare pin in Mystery Castle in the past year and a half. I don't let pinball engulf my life anymore (although I'm on pinside more than I probably should be), and I balance pinball with other interests and more importantly with family and friends. If it was a choice between pinball and a better lifestyle for my family, the choice would be easy.

    #35 7 years ago

    I have sold to finance other things (like different pins) and have regreted quite a few sales. Mostly when you are just thinking about the past and not looking to the future. Have you thought about selling only the ones that you like the least - that way you shouldn't miss them as much. SWE1 and TS are 2 games that I won't miss. I would suggest you try to hold onto any that were valuable to you.
    My daughter misses RFM, My wife kinda misses T3 (although she would never say it), and I miss NGG.

    Like robertmee says

    Quoted from robertmee:

    I've built a modest collection back up including a really rare pin in Mystery Castle

    you can always sell and get something new later as desired.

    #36 7 years ago

    It seems like you have good enough reason to sell. It is only a choice that you can make, but I agree with others that say to sell off only part of your collection. As a general rule, you can replace just about any game. Yes, the price might go up, but prices could also go down too. No one can predict the future.

    You stated in your post that you have a little debt. Being very conservative, I would sell the pins to pay off the debt and once the debt is paid, keep the pins that are left.


    #37 7 years ago

    Congrats. I have twin boys, it is something special. Enjoy!

    It does get expensive though. You can't do hand me downs for instance. You need two cribs, two car seats, etc etc. not to mention college costs, which is where I'm at right now

    Mortgage and car debt ok. Sell something, get rid of the credit card debt and go from there.

    #38 7 years ago

    I don't have kids but friends do and my dad had another kid late in life. With that said unless you have the pinballs somewhere way away from the babies I doubt you would dare wake them with pinball noise plus when there sleeping you will be sleeping in some corner having nightmares about overflowing diapers.

    #39 7 years ago

    If you can keep the pins and be in the financial place you need to be for one of you(wife) to stay home then no. They are just games to pass time on. The responsible thing would be to make sure your family is secure financially, and if that means selling the "games" then do it. I have two girls ages 4 and 1 this past September. Things change when you have kids, they should and will become your first priority. Myself, I would feel pretty shitty if my wife wanted to stay home to raise our kids and I said sorry I can't part with my "games" so go to work.

    I don't think it's worth keeping them to be the 'cool' couple with the fun house

    #40 7 years ago
    Quoted from examiner:

    Mortgage and car debt ok. Sell something, get rid of the credit card debt and go from there.

    Car debt is not okay...you dont want to finance any asset that has such huge depreciation. Homes have historically appreciated at a rate that mitigates finance costs. Cars
    lmost never do unless you buy used classics. Its not as bad as cc debt but its a bad decision to finance an auto unless you have no alternative.

    #41 7 years ago

    Do yourself a favor and pay off that "little credit card debt" - something tells me its not so little. You do realize that by paying it off, you are actually paying yourself a 20+ percent return right? Downsize your collection until your CC debt is paid and you will be in good standing. The mortgage is normal and tax deductible (the interest at least). But that CC debt is a huge red flag.

    #42 7 years ago

    PS - if your car debt is with interest below mortgage rates, then no need to pay it down. Just make regular payments. Seriously, mortgages are running 2.8-3.8 percent roughly...car debt could be down as low as 2.9 percent so it makes no sense to pay off the car debt if this is the case (sure, interest is interest but at that low, it's not a significant amount compared to when rates are 5% or higher). For example, at 2.9%, interest is about $2300 over 5 years on $30K. Not a really big number to cause havoc. Car payments are just fine at these low rates. Not fine if you have crappy credit and are being sucked at 14% or something crazy.

    #43 7 years ago

    congrats on the twins, make life easy, sell off some pins ,they can always be replaced. Maybe a good time to ratchet down your spending too before they arrive.

    #44 7 years ago

    Kids will cause you to change priorities and you will not be able to know how until they arrive but not all the pins need to go. You sound like you are on the correct track. Cash is king.

    #45 7 years ago

    We have cut down spending big time over the past six months. We're both in a 'needs not wants' groove right now, and it feels good. Selling 2 pins will more than cover the 'little credit card debt', it really isn't much, we've been grinding away at it all year and its a quarter of what it was last January.

    The overwhelming response seems to be to sell a few, and I really appreciate the encouraging words. I was waiting for all the stories of regret, and no one is wailing away at that angle. You guys are great for sharing your experiences, it makes me feel better about the direction we're headed. Thanks so much.

    #46 7 years ago

    When my wife and I moved into our new house, I sold off a large portion of my collection and I have no regrets. I am a pinball and video game guy and have downsized my total number of machines from 23 down to 6. I play my games more as I spend less time and money fixing or moding.

    IMO, downsize...makes the hoddy more enjoyable.

    #47 7 years ago


    #48 7 years ago

    I'm tardy to the party on this, but kids will change your outlook on stuff and your expenses will change. I'd sell what I had to to get the debt out and save some machines for a "Rainy Day".

    I needed to get my cars repaired and wanted a couple of different pins so I sold my BBB. It was a big decision, but I'm happy with it. I have plenty of other games to play.

    When I get out finally, we're buying a motor home!

    #49 7 years ago

    Everyone gave great advice and its tough to choose.

    Me personally all the machines I have purchased I wanted and researched and one day I plan to have a big big room to put all of them in. I needed some cash a while ago but could not take myself to sell them. IF I had a machine I bought and not fixed up I may sell that but

    1 - All the machines I have put a lot of work into and to get your money back is tough.
    2 - Pins are on the rise so if you sell key titles and want them back you will have to pay much more and may get less.
    3 - How much enjoyment do pins bring you. To me I love looking at them even when I am not playing them, I like working on them and of course playing them.

    Sometimes weeks will go by before I play any but like all hobbies you take a break.

    I do not know your situation but I would only sell pins you do not care for OR are b to c list games your not super crazy about.

    For example I have a Taxi and it was one of my first pins and I rarely play it, when I hear the tune and see it, it brings great memories of why I got into pins.

    Good luck on what you decided. Remember you can ALWAYS make more money, finances are always a timing thing for the most part.

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