Quoted from TxJay:
Any details on how you came upon this stash? Would love to hear that story.
Long story. The guy in the 3rd picture was my old boss at a Thai restaurant I worked at when I was in college (Wang Gang). His wife and my wife are friends (through the animal shelter we both volunteer at), and she comes over to our house quite a bit. She saw pinball machines in our house and mentioned that they wanted to open a barcade. Ryan (guy in 3rd pic, owner of wang gang) didn't know much, if anything, about pinball machines, but he knows how to run a restaurant, so he always calls me for advice/suggestions/support for pinball machine related stuff.
So, one day he tells me about a guy with a bunch of machines that wants them sold. The guy shared the same financial advisor with him (barcade owner), and everything the financial advisor told him was super vague. I told him to keep me posted, and I would let him know what would be worth buying for his barcade or at least fair prices for everything if the guy wanted to sell them through his barcade and let him take the coin for free while they're for sale.
I thought it was going to be a bunch of EMs, so I didn't think much of it.
Ryan called me after work one day and just started reading off the list."HUO Addams Family. Spirit. Goin Nuts." 45 machines total.
I'll never forget where I was when he called. I was in Lowe's parking lot picking up a set of those carpet sliders for pinball feet. At this point I wasn't even curious about the machines, I was just curious about the person who had all these machines just unknowingly sitting down the street from me. It seemed far from an ordinary "garage sale" collection.
So I somehow managed to keep quiet (I think I blabbed to Brian Bannon for advice actually) and come up with a rough valuation range for each machine on the list (given the spoken condition they were claimed to be in).
The owner was very reclusive and reluctantly decided to meet with me and Ryan one day after work.
I went in the basement with a flashlight on my phone while the owner stood at the top of the stairs. The machines had been wrapped and sitting in the same place since 2007 when he moved from Massachussetts to Edwardsville.
With everything wrapped up, I told him it would be hard to determine what they were actually worth without digging in. He himself hadn't been in the basement in years due to his age/health, so he wasn't even sure what shape everything was in.
I spent maybe 2 minutes down there before coming back upstairs just to talk to the guy and figure out what he wanted to do/how he came upon such a collection.
He received many of the Gottliebs while living on the east coast. He apparently had 250+ machines in his home there at one point (including many other rarities that he sold off like Kingpin, BBB and Krull). His background was in programming and he apparently came into contact with a lot of people still in the industry today. He mentioned Trudeau, Ted Estes, and Keith Johnson, and he mentioned that he had the project log for Game Plan's Loch Ness Monster that including details like the bill of materials of each potential item on the playfield.
He wanted people to play some of the games. He wanted some to be set up somewhere for him to play. He wanted to sell some. He was moving and needed them out of the basement too.
I could tell it was important to him that the games were played by people, so I called Chuck (CPPinball) and let him know about the whole thing.
Lots and lots of phone calls and emails later, Bill (the collector) emailed me at 11 PM on Thursday saying he would accept the deal.
Unfortunately I was out of town for the weekend and couldn't make it! I didn't expect everything to move so fast, and I'm sorry I couldn't make it to help move some myself!