(Topic ID: 144532)

Do Stern metal cab protectors hurt value?

By bstyles

6 years ago


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  • Latest reply 6 years ago by o-din
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#1 6 years ago

The question: Does installing the newer Stern metal leg-cabinet protectors decrease the value of an original game?

No, I'm not joking, and allow me to clarify that I'm not making this argument. In fact, I'm on the receiving end of it and vehemently disagree.

I somewhat of a serious collector (not just pins), and do believe in preserving originality. With pinball, I love to find games with original playfields, "matching serial numbers", original cabinet art, etc.

That said, when I get a game with no visible cabinet damage normally caused by contact with the legs, the first thing I do is install the newer Stern metal leg-cabinet protectors to make sure that no damage ever happens. As much as they are not original, they are hidden; as are the two small screw holes required to mount them.

Now here's why I feel the need to ask this question:

I purchased what was described as virtually-NIB Popeye from a seller located in Jacksonville, FL. I say virtually since the seller indicated the game was removed from it's original box and had 49 plays on it -- but was otherwise "as new." I did not see the game in person (that would have been a 5-hour drive each way). I didn't feel the need to ask for pictures based off his assessment and description. The game was delivered last week.

Upon arrival, I added the Stern metal leg-cabinet protectors before even putting the legs on. Then after standing the game up, I made sure it powered up. Then I installed the ColorDMD I had ordered in anticipation of the game's arrival.

The game didn't play properly - the ball lock wasn't functioning correctly. Upon looking at the weldment that handles the lock, I noticed that there was a lot of corrosion. Further scrutiny revealed that just about every piece of metal (weldments, hex posts, ramp flaps, etc.) had corrosion damage of varying amounts. The ramp on the weldment on the upper playfiled was so badly rusted that it starting to disintegrate. I did not want to have the balls pick up all this rust and embed it in the playfield so, so more games.

Over the next couple days, I ordered some cleaning supplies like wire brushes, metal polish, and a 5-gal Evapo-Rust. I didn't mind doing some clean-up work as I really wanted this game to complete the 7-game wide-body lineup.

Unfortunately the more I looked into the game, the more daunting the task appeared. Every piece of metal would need to be removed, dipped, polished or replated, and reinstalled. Ramp flaps would need to be templated and recreated (since no one sells replacements). The entire playfield would have to be taken down to make sure that all the rust that has already been tracked around by 50+ plays was 100% cleaned-off.

The $3k purchase was no longer looking to be fair so I contacted the seller to see if a resolution could be reached. Saving you the tedium of the back-and-forth emails, I'l ' summarize by saying that the seller's only offer is to take back the machine, not reimburse me for my out-of-pocket expenses, and he's insisting on devaluing the machine because I put holes in the cabinet to install the Stern metal leg-cabinet protectors.

So I ask the community their opinion: Does this seller have a justifiable position in devaluing the game because I installed the *hidden* Stern metal leg-cabinet protectors?

-Brian

#2 6 years ago

IMO no. Did you inspect the pin first before buying it, or did you ship it sight-unseen?

#3 6 years ago

IMO, no. In fact, I find added value in the leg protectors being there, as I can't stand a chewed up cabinet.

#4 6 years ago

No!
PS. Whomever invented these little Gems should get the Nobel Pin prize IMHO

PPS. NEVER purchase a game based on description alone! At least get high res detailed pics!!

#5 6 years ago

NEVER buy a game sight unseen. Get very good pictures to make a judgment call before making a long trip or shipping a game.
You might have been able to spot the rust prior to seeing it in person and negotiated a better price for the work you would need to do.
As for the stern leg protectors, I agree that these are an upgrade and are essential to keeping the legs from damaging the cab.

You should complete the job, enjoy the game, and lean from this experience.

#6 6 years ago

Honestly this sounds like a real edge case because the game was nearly NIB (despite the crap sounding condition). I can totally see one of you matching-serial-number crazies slightly devaluing a game with only 49 plays because it has the non-original cabinet protectors.

I don't see it affecting the value one way or another if it's just a regular routed High Speed.

#7 6 years ago
Quoted from Concretehardt:

No!
PS. Whomever invented these little Gems should get the Nobel Pin prize IMHO

George Gomez

Quoted from bstyles:

The question: Does installing the newer Stern metal leg-cabinet protectors decrease the value of an original game?

If you need an excuse as a seller to not take a game back then yes it does hurt the value (Your situation) For the most part, I do not see them decreasing the value as they are another level of protection for the game.

#8 6 years ago

You put holes in the cabinet where there werent any previously - just because you think you improved the game, doesnt mean everyone else does.

About the condition of the pin... a game sitting NIB for years is gonna likely have corrosion on the metal.

Popeye was a horrible game when released - operators would buy them just to part them out. WMS lowered the price on them to where the price of a new board set was MORE than Popeye..

#9 6 years ago

You obviously have to leave the protectors on the game, and not just leave the holes.
Yes - I can see the "holes in the game" argument. I don't agree with it much, but it has some validity for a true collector. If you watch Antique Roadshow, this would be an issue for any true antique collectible - whether it's an improvement or not, it's not original and did put non-original holes in the cabinet. Ironically it's a Popeye!

#10 6 years ago
Quoted from Chrizg:

If you need an excuse as a seller to not take a game back then yes it does hurt the value (Your situation) For the most part, I do not see them decreasing the value as they are another level of protection for the game.

I agree. If he's willing to take the game back at all, it doesn't sound like he's a completely bad guy.

The question you have to ask is if it's worth returning for the devalued price + shipping. Sucks - but it's always part of the risk for buying without seeing it in person.

#11 6 years ago

I mean ... it sounds like the game you got wasn't exactly as described, though without seeing all the communication it's hard to say. You bought something without even pics, which is kinda crazy to me. You should always feel the need to ask for pics.

But the guy has a point. You bought it, and drilled holes in it.

Now I think those protectors are great. But they're not OEM for the game. I personally couldn't care less about any of that. Non-matching boards? Don't even bother telling me, because I will never check anyways.

I think it's weaselly to sell someone a game without pics knowing about all the issues. So no sympathy for the guy really. But if you're asking straight up does it devalue it? Drilled holes do for some people. I'm not one, but I get why some people would care. Even if I think they're kinda of overly anal.

#12 6 years ago

$3k for a rusty popeye? Ouch.

Photos, photos, photos. It's crazy not to buy sight unseen. One person's "good condition for its age" is someone else's "routed junk".

Honestly, get what you can back for it, and chalk the rest up to lessons learned. Maybe you'll do better on the next game.

#13 6 years ago

To the Op: How much money does he want to deduct for the holes?

#14 6 years ago
Quoted from T7:

To the Op: How much money does he want to deduct for the holes?

I think at that level of minutia, the discussion is off-course. I don't want this to turn into a "should have gotten pictures" thread or "he said she said."

Again, the pin was represented as "new" and I was told that this was the one that Marco had in inventory. Though this wasn't told to me by the seller before the sale, apparently there was another buyer in between Marco and the seller I purchased the game from. I hazard to guess that the first buyer probably sold it after seeing all the corrosion on the game as it arrived from Marco. Maybe Marco didn't disclose it to the first buyer? Again, that's a different topic of "how much devaluation is there when every piece of metal is corroded?"

Back on topic -- and for what it's worth, it's my opinion that the metal protectors installed from day 1 will prevent damage to cabinet art. A game with perfect cabinet art will always be more valuable than one with visible damage or damage covered up by the plastic leg protectors. Drilling two small hidden holes next to each leg's two large bolt holes, all of which are completely hidden by the legs is a silly argument, especially by a person that doesn't care if all boards are original to the game. Again, that's my opinion, and I wanted to see what everyone else's opinion was as somewhat of a reality check -- and for that I thank you all.

#15 6 years ago

Sounds like he's good at selling games at more than they are worth and he's just trying to get a little more cash out of you. Those protectors don't devalue a game. That's crap. He's just trying to gouge you a little bit more. I'd bet that he would re-list the game for even more and call those things upgrades.

#16 6 years ago

.....Also, was the sellers name Choggard?

#17 6 years ago

Sounds to me like you should have decided you wanted to return the machine before doing any modifications.

This particular machine was already previously documented on this forum as being in the condition you described when delivered to the original owner.

#18 6 years ago

Keep the game, fix it up.

Many NIB machines will have some corrosion if they were stored in an unconditioned space.

#19 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Keep the game, fix it up.
Many NIB machines will have some corrosion if they were stored in an unconditioned space.

I think Chris Hutchins documented restoring a NIB No Good Gophers that Pat Lawlor himself owned and sold to a collector, and that machine was stored in a less than ideal location (or locations), and had corrosion on metal parts, and also some lifted inserts, and as I recall, it was NIB.

Can you just restore and shine the metal parts on top of the playfield and make do with some less than stellar quality metal on the bottom side?

#20 6 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

Keep the game, fix it up.
Many NIB machines will have some corrosion if they were stored in an unconditioned space.

Yeah I got screwed over same as you on this WCS I'm remaking. Guy told me that the game had just gone through a shop job with one cracked plastic, no cracked ramps and had no hacks. Game arrived with 70's style bally legs, no speaker panel, electrical tape holding wires everywhere, screws in playfield etc. So I'm fixing it up and brining it back to it's former glory. I seriously think the guy gave me fake pics. I'm in Canada, he's in Virginia = I'm screwed.

Quoted from Rum-Z:

Can you just restore and shine the metal parts on top of the playfield and make do with some less than stellar quality metal on the bottom side?

When you start taking everything off the top you might as well take everything off the bottom.

To answer your question. It does not depreciate value. This seller just doesn't want the game back because he knows exactly what he sold you and he'll find any excuse in the book.

#21 6 years ago
Quoted from Hougie:

.....Also, was the sellers name Choggard?

No, this one's initials are "R.C."

Quoted from o-din:

Sounds to me like you should have decided you wanted to return the machine before doing any modifications.

If you consider leg protectors "modifications" ... I don't. I put protectors on before putting the legs on. That way the machine doesn't lay flay on the ground during an inspection. Seriously how do you propose to inspect a playfield while game standing up with the head strapped down? Perhaps send me a diagram of this procedure?

Quoted from o-din:

This particular machine was already previously documented on this forum as being in the condition you described when delivered to the original owner.

Interesting, so the first buyer found out about the problem. Maybe told the second buyer. Clearly the second buyer didn't tell me. Need to reach out to the second buyer as this might clearly scuttle my seller's defense that "he didn't know there was any corrosion." PM sent to PINMANIAC...

#22 6 years ago

Installing them before any cabinet damage is done adds to the appeal (at least to me)

#23 6 years ago
Quoted from bstyles:

If you consider leg protectors "modifications" ... I don't. I put protectors on before putting the legs on. That way the machine doesn't lay flay on the ground during an inspection. Seriously?

No matter which way you try to skin the cat Stern leg protectors on a Popeye pinball machine is, and always will be, a modification. It was not there from the factory thus the definition of a modification. I also think he was talking about your other mods too (color DMD for example).

The discussion around value is the one to stick to. IMHO, 99% of collectors probably wouldn't mind it nor devalue the game for it. I promise you though that their are die hard collectors out there that will devalue the game based off this mod as it is an unreversable mod to the game.

As a general argument I would not say that they add or devalue a game.

#24 6 years ago
Quoted from bstyles:

I put protectors on before putting the legs on. That way the machine doesn't lay flay on the ground during an inspection. Seriously how do you propose to inspect a playfield while game standing up with the head strapped down?

I understand that part. But the legs had already been installed without the protectors so installing them without them until you had gone through it might have been the thing to do.

Again I read on this forum where the first buyer had described the corrosion but not everybody might have read it.

#25 6 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

I understand that part. But the legs had already been installed without the protectors so installing them without them until you had gone through it might have been the thing to do.
Again I read on this forum where the first buyer had described the corrosion but not everybody might have read it.

No doubt - multiple lessons learned here....

1) Never install leg protectors until fully inspecting the game, even at the risk of causing damage. Check!

2) Search forum posts for game serial numbers to see if anyone else had a problem with a specific game. Check!

3) Never trust anyone's assessment of a game. Demand hi-res pictures of every single square inch -- even when the seller claims "new in box" ... Check!

Back to topic. Seems like a split decision. So to all those that think installing Stern Metal Leg Protectors devalues a game (that was my original question), by want amount do you consider the game devalued? Looking for hard numbers here...

#26 6 years ago

I'm not saying it devalues the game but when you decide you want to return something any modification can make a difference. People don't want to take things back.

#27 6 years ago

I am guessing the hit in value is in the range of $300-$400 for those who care about such things.

I think I would keep the game and replace/repair whatever is necessary to make me happy.

#28 6 years ago
Quoted from Mike_J:

I am guessing the hit in value is in the range of $300-$400 for those who care about such things.
I think I would keep the game and replace/repair whatever is necessary to make me happy.

Seriously? $300-$400 for a couple of small screw holes hidden behind the legs (so 10% of the total value on a $3000 game)? Sounds steep to me, but then I wouldn't consider the inclusion of Stern leg protectors to devalue a game.

#29 6 years ago
Quoted from fosaisu:

Seriously? $300-$400 for a couple of small screw holes hidden behind the legs (so 10% of the total value on a $3000 game)? Sounds steep to me, but then I wouldn't consider the inclusion of Stern leg protectors to devalue a game.

I don't necessarily either, but to someone who cares, it will never be original again.

#30 6 years ago

You shouldn't have even told him about the protectors and when he got the game back, he would've been like "awww, sweet!"

Edit - BTW, I thought the general consensus here was to install protectors but to NOT drill the holes

#31 6 years ago

I don't think they de-value a game. I just restored a TAF, and I put them on immediately.

I get the sellers thoughts that you modified it from being all original. But, in this case; its not collectors quality, so it doesn't matter.

It has extensive rust and damage; so you can't treat like its a NIB Collectors dream. You paid top dollar for what many see as a ho-hum game......

If anything the seller should overlook it, due the condition of the machine. It was not sold "as advertised".

Never, Ever, buy a machine sight unseen.........

BTW..The holes are small for the leg protectors, and you don't even see them when the leg's are on....Not sure why people make such an issue...

#32 6 years ago
Quoted from JosephT:

I thought the general consensus here was to install protectors but to NOT drill the holes

Bryan Kelly drills the holes so that's good enough for me!

#33 6 years ago
Quoted from fosaisu:

Bryan Kelly drills the holes so that's good enough for me!

Lol, yea man, I'm with you on the Bryan Kelly love. Totally get it! I'm doing a restore on a FT ATM and following his IJ thread to a T!

#34 6 years ago

I don't think it devalues it but i can see being annoyed if you sell something and then they want to return it after making modifications. I don't think you should lose any value for doing it though when returning it but he's probably acting annoyed on principal. For an aged game NIB doesn't mean it'll be in perfect condition.

He should have told you about the rust but you also should have asked for photos.

It's hard not to turn it in to a should have asked for pictures thread because that's such a simple thing to do in this day and age with 99% of people having a camera phone.

#35 6 years ago
Quoted from bstyles:

Saving you the tedium of the back-and-forth emails, I'l ' summarize by saying that the seller's only offer is to take back the machine, not reimburse me for my out-of-pocket expenses

Reimburse for out of pocket expenses...wow.

I'm guessing there's more to this story and that the seller was being difficult because you were possibly becoming annoying. The fact that you even hinted that you were owed something beyond a full refund - which the seller offered and he didn't have to - is evidence of that. Without investigating further, I'm going to say that the seller is probably in the right here, based solely off that.

To even have the mentality that perhaps you're entitled to something beyond a refund... just wow. Sales are usually final. What a great seller to even offer a refund.

#36 6 years ago

I love Pinside......

#37 6 years ago

Marco was asking almost $6000 for this machine. Sounds like the OP already got a half price deal.

#38 6 years ago

2 very tiny little holes next to the big gaping leg holes, where they normally get covered by the legs ?
No sir, they do not.

#39 6 years ago

Here's what I'd do. I'd find a parts Popeye with issues and transfer the steel parts after a nice cleaning and waxing.

#40 6 years ago

Is this the protectors you are describing?
http://www.pinballlife.com/index.php?p=product&id=2711

#41 6 years ago
Quoted from bstyles:

Back on topic -- and for what it's worth, it's my opinion that the metal protectors installed from day 1 will prevent damage to cabinet art. A game with perfect cabinet art will always be more valuable than one with visible damage or damage covered up by the plastic leg protectors. Drilling two small hidden holes next to each leg's two large bolt holes, all of which are completely hidden by the legs is a silly argument, especially by a person that doesn't care if all boards are original to the game. Again, that's my opinion, and I wanted to see what everyone else's opinion was as somewhat of a reality check -- and for that I thank you all.

In general I fully agree with you and myself, I wouldn't care at all if the protectors are mounted or not.

But since you are bringing up the argument that the Stern style protectors will keep the cab in perfect condition - you can achieve exactly the same effect without putting holes in the cab. I'm using a special kind of felt protectors (very thick at about 1/8th inch and extremely sturdy, laser cut to fit underneath the legs and staying away half an inch from the edges, so no contact of leg edges & cab at all) since many years which don't need any screws and keep everything completely original.

#42 6 years ago
Quoted from someoneelse:

In general I fully agree with you and myself, I wouldn't care at all if the protectors are mounted or not.
But since you are bringing up the argument that the Stern style protectors will keep the cab in perfect condition - you can achieve exactly the same effect without putting holes in the cab. I'm using a special kind of felt protectors (very thick at about 1/8th inch and extremely sturdy, laser cut to fit underneath the legs and staying away half an inch from the edges, so no contact of leg edges & cab at all) since many years which don't need any screws and keep everything completely original.

From what I've read, the metal protectors provide a gap between the leg and the cabinet to prevent the legs from wrinkling the decals.

I use the felt protectors myself, since none of my current games have decals.

#43 6 years ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

From what I've read, the metal protectors provide a gap between the leg and the cabinet to prevent the legs from wrinkling the decals.
I use the felt protectors myself, since none of my current games have decals.

The correct (!!!) felt protectors to exactly the same - they hold the legs about 2-3mm away from the cab. The most important thing is to not let the legs edges touch the cab/decals. I've actually seen setups in which the Stern style protectors couldn't keep the legs completely off the cab, guess that depends on production tolerance of the legs themselves. This never happens with the felt ones as they are much thicker than the metal ones.

The "normal" felt protectors actually don't really protect as they're usually to thin, to soft and to big so they sit in between the leg edges and the decals. The big plastic things also don't protect at all, by the way, they are made to cover up existing damage, not to prevent new damage.

#44 6 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

I'm not saying it devalues the game but when you decide you want to return something any modification can make a difference. People don't want to take things back.

Yeah, dishonest people that completely misrepresent the game and don't disclose that it's corroded as all hell. Of course they don't want to take it back and will find any excuse possible. Makes complete sense to me. Sounds like we all agree on that.

#45 6 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

Reimburse for out of pocket expenses...wow.
I'm guessing there's more to this story and that the seller was being difficult because you were possibly becoming annoying. The fact that you even hinted that you were owed something beyond a full refund - which the seller offered and he didn't have to - is evidence of that. Without investigating further, I'm going to say that the seller is probably in the right here, based solely off that.
To even have the mentality that perhaps you're entitled to something beyond a refund... just wow. Sales are usually final. What a great seller to even offer a refund.

Never do I consider myself entitled. We have enough of the entitled generation already out there ruining this country.

Of course the seller didn't have to offer a full refund -- by the way, he didn't offer a full refund - he tried to devalue the game and offer less of a refund because I installed leg protectors. -- the the whole reason I started this topic. Pay attention....

But hey, if you're really like to "investigate further," as I've begun to, then you could certainly talk to the previous-previous owner who did disclose the extensive corrosion issues to "R.C." who didn't disclose them to me. -- again not the topic here, but if you want to be a fan-boy for the seller because you think he's an honest guy offering a full refund (to cover his arse), so be it...

#46 6 years ago

More importantly, can someone send me a link to the "think felt-like" protectors being referenced as a better alternative than the Stern Metal Protectors?

#47 6 years ago
Quoted from someoneelse:

The correct (!!!) felt protectors to exactly the same - they hold the legs about 2-3mm away from the cab. The most important thing is to not let the legs edges touch the cab/decals. I've actually seen setups in which the Stern style protectors couldn't keep the legs completely off the cab, guess that depends on production tolerance of the legs themselves. This never happens with the felt ones as they are much thicker than the metal ones.
The "normal" felt protectors actually don't really protect as they're usually to thin, to soft and to big so they sit in between the leg edges and the decals. The big plastic things also don't protect at all, by the way, they are made to cover up existing damage, not to prevent new damage.

Those extra thick felt protectors sound interesting. Where would one source these from and do you have any photos of them?

Gord

#48 6 years ago

No way does the leg protectors devalue a game, RUST and lies devalue a game.

#49 6 years ago
Quoted from someoneelse:

I've actually seen setups in which the Stern style protectors couldn't keep the legs completely off the cab, guess that depends on production tolerance of the legs themselves.

When using the Stern style metal protectors you must be careful to fasten the legs squarely to the cabinet, as you can tilt the legs before they are tight and touch the cabinet with a leg corner, possibly putting a nick in the art. Sometimes I use some thin carboard as protective shims during the inital mounting process to insure the legs are spaced equally on each side of the cabinet and contact with the art does not occur. I also deburr the legs with a file before I install them as sometimes when they are stamped, the stamping process will produce a sharp burr that will be pointed right at your cabinet art (not what you want).

#50 6 years ago
Quoted from Rum-Z:

FYI, when using the Stern style metal protectors you must be careful to fastening the legs squarely to the cabinet, as you can tilt the legs before they are tight and touch the cabinet with a leg corner, possibly putting a nick in the art. Sometimes I use some thin carboard as protective shims during the inital mounting process to insure the legs are spaced equally on each side of the cabinet and contact with the art does not occur. I also deburr the legs with a file before I install them as sometimes when they are stamped, the stamping process will produce a sharp burr that will be pointed right at your cabinet art (not what you want).

Good advice.

I think you should start a fresh topic with this hint and perhaps you could also let us know if you've had any experience with alternatives, the think felt ones or others?

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