Quoted from DCFAN:
I said I was not factoring in inflation. Aren't most Bally/williams SS games worth more now than the original price? If I put in $5000 on a NIB game and sell it 15 years later for $5000 I would be ecstatic. All of that time enjoying the game is worth the inflation losses.
I do understand that demand is a huge factor and that can collapse very quickly ala the baseball card market in the early 90s.
It simply does not work that way.
It takes decades for a game to reach its original NIB price. 15 years is normally just not enough time, routed or home use. In many cases games from the 1970s and 80s, are finally surpassing their NIB cost for the first time in 30-45 years. That is older that most of the active people on these forums.
There are only for example a handful of games made by Stern since 2001 that equal or exceed their NIB value, once you subtract the economy and temporary artificial inflation considerations which are not real sale values. Even games made from 2010 onwards which some more anomalies exist, did not hold. The games that have held are TSPP, LOTR, SM, and TRON. RBION actually has been on the rise. Even the LEs and SEs have been dropping, and for good reason. $15K for a HUO AC/DC Luci? Wake up sellers, you are smoking your own crack product. You are not going to see an Elvis sell for $3500, unless it sat in owner's house since 2004, and that was a "classic" theme as well, or there was a new buyer dork on Ebay. Dealers will pull buyers legs. You have the power, not them, even in a seller's market.
Any experienced collector differentiates from "perceived" versus "actual" values.
Mostly out of game condition.
Title is not defining factor, unless prototype or truly rare.
"Rare games do not define game value exclusively, except to those that are uniformed."
This is currently one of the biggest mistakes new collectors are making. The "flipping power" concept simply does not hold, if an owner thinks they can sell a game they just bought for $1-3K more, days or weeks later. When the used market tide turns, people are left stuck with games they cannot sell, unless they start to be realistic. This includes games that are modded out the ying-yang, and some that look truly horrible that need to be stripped of aftermarket garbage. Market saturation of title either through production, home sales, operators, or all can cause severe decreases as well. Stern is doing this with MET right now to make a profit based on market interest, which means it will end up hovering in the same price range as SM in a few more years. You are not going to see BM66 SLE being sold on the market for $30K in two years (equivalent to some of the same percentages as long priced games), as the market cannot accept such terms.
However, the flipside is true with new buyers as well who almost ALWAYS overpay for their first machine and have problems, unless they ask for assistance. This why I always try to head this mistake off at the pass. This leads to market inflation which new sellers "feed the hogpen". It never ends well in the long run for market health.
If people are paying attention, this is already occurring again. The signs exist. This is not "seasonal", it is visible slowdown.
This is important, readers. I calculate pinflation independently beyond "flatline collector value". The "market crash" equivalency does effect the ability for games to "bounce back". This has really hit home in the past. People simply should never speculate pinball values, as they are highly unreliable.
There is no doubt if you hold onto a game for your entire lifetime and take care of it, it will retain its value, but 99% of people that own pinball machines are not collectors. That is not going to change overnight even though pinball buyers have increased an average of 25-30% every year since 2010. Huge jump compared to the 2000s.
The best example I can personally share is probably my TZ that was bought overstock in 1994. Yes, it has been well cared for overall and yes, it is probably worth 5x the price I paid for the game ($2400), but that took 23 years of waiting. It is is also an exception to the rules, because of its "gotta have" popularity in the late 90s and early 00s by collectors (ie the "cookie cutter collection", most of these owners BTW are LONG GONE now and sold out), and its timeless theme that I knew it would hold from the first day I unboxed another earlier game directly on location (regardless of initial design problems with the assemblies). I have done much better returns on my money in 23 years in buying gold than holding onto a pinball machine. I mean really, think about it, is this even logical?
Values are simply not guaranteed, as I could remit based on multiple market stalls.
I will say it again, stay away from the concept of increasing values of pinball machines, as people tend to be disappointed when they realize their banks of toys are not worth what they paid for them initially.
The same type of individuals are the ones who buy new games NIB and stick them in corners for years, afraid to open them up and play the machines.
My best advice if you are interested in the market, and you do not want to expend time and resources is BUY the Mr. Pinball Price Guide.
It is accurate, useful, and informative at determining prices, trends, and production numbers of all the price guides available.
It may lag later in a fiscal year, but that happens with any price guide.