(Topic ID: 124080)

Gottlieb Mermaid price check...


By swillie

4 years ago



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  • Latest reply 4 years ago by reppie
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There are 131 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
#1 4 years ago

An acquaintance at my work has a Gottlieb mermaid in his possession. He has had it for many years. Does not boot up, but did a few years ago the last time he used it. I do not know the exact condition of the machine, have not seen any pictures. Supposedely there is a box he was given with it of extra parts, do not know what they are.

So what is this machine worth, sight unseen? An 'expert' quoted him $1000, which I think is very dishonest, but maybe I am wrong about this. If there is a collector out there that has been searching for one of these feel free chime in before I help him throw it on Ebay...

#2 4 years ago

Is this the 1951 woodrail machine? If so, those don't boot up. Electro-mechanical. Where are you located?

#3 4 years ago

If it is the 1951 game (and I don't know of any other one) these were going for serious cash on eBay about 10 years ago. One of the most sought after woodrails around.

I believe a few went between 10k and 15k fully restored. Of course, they're worth what someone's willing to pay - and the EM market has changed since then.

Either way, I would definitely do some additional research before selling it.

Great find!

#4 4 years ago

It is the 1951 woodrail. Just talked with the owner, he said the playfield is in nice shape, that it has wear above the plunger, but otherwise is intact. The extra parts are some fuses, bulbs and targets. It doesn't power up at all is more correct, but it did up until about 3 years ago which was the last time he played it. Obviously it needs some tlc, but sounds promising. He is going to have it fixed. He might sell it, and I am trying to help him gather information on what a fair price is.
Located north of Detroit, MI.

#5 4 years ago

alot. last I saw they were going over 10 easy. used needs some work maybe 5k?

#6 4 years ago

Based on the condition you described, anywhere from $1 to $10,000. Pictures are probably needed before you can get a somewhat accurate estimate.

#7 4 years ago

The type of collector who'd be after this one would most likely prefer he not have it "fixed" (so as to not risk getting it messed up, made non-original, etc.). They'll want to handle the restoration themselves (or arrange for it themselves).

Very desirable game - eBay might be the better route. Or place it on the Marketplace here and see what offers come in.

Cosmetic condition is king, so without pictures, it's hard say value-wise, other than it's generally very valuable (certainly more than that offer).

#8 4 years ago

Yup, do some research, you are correct, $1000 is too cheap. Mermaid is the Holy Grail of woodrails and I'd love to have it in my woodrail collection. Most have trashed playfields and in rough shape, but still worth a big buck. I have a new playfield just waiting for the right machine to come along, please keep me posted as to what he wants for it. I'm interested

Thanks,
Walt

#9 4 years ago

In the condition described, I personally would pay $5,000 max. Another collector would probably go into the $7,000 range. Another may even crack $10,000. It all depends on the patience of the seller.

Once fully working, and considering the original condition, your friend's Mermaid would reach 5 digits easily. $15K-$18K in my opinion.

The $1,000 price quote from the "expert" is way off. I would question that person's "expert" credentials and/or his honesty.

If you can get pictures, please post them. It's not every day that we get to see a Gottlieb Mermaid, let alone one that is in nice, but non-playing condition.

Marcus

#10 4 years ago

Probably the authority on planet Earth as far as EM pinball repair is the one who will be fixing it, so as far as that goes it is in very very good hands.

#11 4 years ago

Very highly desired game but I just don't get the love for this game.

Guess it's the mechanical action in the backbox and that it had a way lower production number than Knock Out.

But over 5k for sure.

#12 4 years ago

Thanks for your advice my friends. I will certainly pass it along when I see the owner next week, and hopefully I can have hime bump me a few pictures to post as I too really want to see this thing. If it is in nice original condition what a great find. He has owned it for some 30 years so it has been in a time capsule of sorts all that time.

#13 4 years ago

Probably over 10K. Several big sales within the past couple of years. I have been a woodrail guy for a long time, but this one brings way too much. Seller - take your time. You have a rare game and I would bet there are still some folks out there who are willing to pay well. Supply and demand is king, and if yours is half decent, you should do well. Woodrail prices have indeed been dropping, but some are immune, and Mermaid seems to have immunity.

Harry Irvin
Macungie, PA

#14 4 years ago
Quoted from swillie:

Probably the authority on planet Earth as far as EM pinball repair is the one who will be fixing it, so as far as that goes it is in very very good hands.

Sounds like you have Clay lined up to get it working. If so you are in very capable hands.

Also, you don't need our help in valuing this game if Clay is around. He will be able to price it and actually owns an exceptional example of this game.

#15 4 years ago
Quoted from swillie:

Probably the authority on planet Earth as far as EM pinball repair is the one who will be fixing it, so as far as that goes it is in very very good hands.

Clay?

#16 4 years ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

Very highly desired game but I just don't get the love for this game.

Ditto! I just don't get it with this title.........I certainly don't know anybody throwing in thousands of dollars extra for animation, but I can't think of anything else.

Production numbers state approx 650......Well, this isn't the only game with that kind of number, there were several others in that particular era with close to this amount made.

#17 4 years ago
Quoted from swillie:

Probably the authority on planet Earth as far as EM pinball repair is the one who will be fixing it, so as far as that goes it is in very very good hands.

Yeah, this kinda cracked me up.........I wonder how many are going to be zoning in to find out who the authority is......

#18 4 years ago
Quoted from swillie:

An 'expert' quoted him $1000

He's an expert alright. An expert con man.

#19 4 years ago
Quoted from MikeO:

Sounds like you have Clay lined up to get it working. If so you are in very capable hands.
Also, you don't need our help in valuing this game if Clay is around. He will be able to price it and actually owns an exceptional example of this game.

You are correct. I put the owner in contact with Clay, who obviously knows this machine very well. However, this is who gave him the estimate, sight unseen. To be honest it angered me when I heard this. I know it is impossible to value a pin without seeing it, but this one seems to be one of those exceptions to that rule. Maybe there is a conflict of interest there, as Clay might likely be interested in this pin himself. I don't know, it is not mine so not my decision in the end what he decides to do. I don't know Clay personally but suggested him because he is in our area and comes well recommended and knows this machine. At this point I don't know what to think, other than he should get it fixed and see who has an interest out there, maybe place it in the pinside marketplace and see what the interest is so that he can do well and someone who does not have one of these and really wants one can finally own one at a fair arrangement for both parties.

#20 4 years ago
Quoted from swillie:

You are correct. I put the owner in contact with Clay, who obviously knows this machine very well. However, this is who gave him the estimate, sight unseen. To be honest it angered me when I heard this. I know it is impossible to value a pin without seeing it, but this one seems to be one of those exceptions to that rule. Maybe there is a conflict of interest there, as Clay might likely be interested in this pin himself. I don't know, it is not mine so not my decision in the end what he decides to do. I don't know Clay personally but suggested him because he is in our area and comes well recommended and knows this machine. At this point I don't know what to think, other than he should get it fixed and see who has an interest out there, maybe place it in the pinside marketplace and see what the interest is so that he can do well and someone who does not have one of these and really wants one can finally own one at a fair arrangement for both parties.

Well, if true that is a shame as it could never be valued that low.

#21 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

He's an expert alright. An expert con man.

Isn't Choggard an expert?

#22 4 years ago

Clay knows exactly what this machine is worth. Here is a page on his restoration of one: http://www.pinrepair.com/mermaid/

#24 4 years ago

IMO the game is overrated , overpriced and actually not a lot of fun to play. It looks cool and the fisherman is neat but there are so many Woodys that have much better game play than the Mermaid does.
And before someone cracks wise, I have hundreds of games played on this title and have access to one to play at my leisure so I feel I speak from an informed position. but you know what they say, one mans garbage is another mans gold....
Don't get me wrong if I ran into one for cheap I would buy it, but to me this is a look at what I have kind of game than one you buy for it's exceptional game play.

GLWS

Brian

#25 4 years ago
Quoted from Bribo13:

IMO the game is overrated , overpriced and actually not a lot of fun to play.

Guys say that about every high dollar super collectible game. I'm not saying your wrong, it's just that certain games aren't meant for regular people like us.

#26 4 years ago

I got to play a nice one a couple years back at PPE. I loved the looks of the game, but I agree that it is not a great player. Many of the early 50's woodrails are a lot of fun to play, but Mermaid is not one of them. This is true of games from all pinball eras. I have owned a pile of post 2000 Stern pins, and like many of them. Tron, however, I just don't get, but check how the values have risen. As my Dad always said "this is what makes horse races." Good luck and I hope you get a pile of bucks for yours.
Harry Irvin

#29 4 years ago

There is another one on Mr Pinball now for about 13k I believe. It is a neat looking game but kind of reminds me of some of those high dollar DMD games. May not be the best player but some just have to have them because they cost so much. A keeping up with the Jones's type thing.

#30 4 years ago
Quoted from Bribo13:

IMO the game is overrated , overpriced and actually not a lot of fun to play. It looks cool and the fisherman is neat but there are so many Woodys that have much better game play than the Mermaid does.
And before someone cracks wise, I have hundreds of games played on this title and have access to one to play at my leisure so I feel I speak from an informed position. but you know what they say, one mans garbage is another mans gold....
Don't get me wrong if I ran into one for cheap I would buy it, but to me this is a look at what I have kind of game than one you buy for it's exceptional game play.
GLWS
Brian

This game does seem to be a 'collectors' game as in a game making a statement in a line up, much like Big Bang Bar for the SS collector.

Personally I put playability first and then hope a game has a great art package. But if a game isn't fun to play I am not interested and for me that is a reason I wouldn't buy a Knock Out.

Whereas for me my Mystic Marvel 1954 has amazing playability and looks great - one of my favorite games ever actually. Doesn't bother me at all that it hasn't got the prestige of some of the cherry titles.

#31 4 years ago

To get the maximum for it, your friend should have it restored, but kept as original as possible. If the backglass is a nice original, your friend should remove it and keep it in a safe place while the restoration is done. Hopefully he can fully trust the person doing the restoration not to switch out parts or do other shenanigans. He has a truly desireable and collectable game (when it come to these things, playability sometimes doesn't matter a whole lot). He can then list it on eBay, Mr. Pinball, or here on Pinside. He can post photos of it here for free. Let the market decide what it's worth. "Past performance is no guarantee of future returns", but I'd say he's going to do well with it. Please post some "as is" photos if you can. We would like to see it.

#32 4 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

To get the maximum for it,

That might boost the selling price, but not necessarily net the most for the seller, depending on how much any work done on it costs (parts and labor).

#33 4 years ago
Quoted from DirtFlipper:

That might boost the selling price, but not necessarily net the most for the seller, depending on how much any work done on it costs (parts and labor).

He would get a ton Pinside karma for posting nice pictures of the restored Mermaid though, he has to take that into account of course.

-2
#34 4 years ago

I would very much be interested in what condition the playfield is in ? this title is well known for the playfields Delaminating . even if there is little wear ( which is unlikely) the top layer is most likely trashed rendering this machine un playable.
There are no playfields available for this title anymore , the man who reproduced a few of these several years ago has none left. So no playfield for the machine makes it what ?

So who here would pay even $1000 for a machine with a trashed / un restorable playfield that is un playable. also no repo playfields available. So for a $1000 what do you have ? nothing I think a $1000 offer for this tile in this condition is to much. it really is nothing more than a parts game.

Post some pictures and show me to be wrong.

My 2c more

Brian Lenker
Ortonville MI
586-344-0721

#35 4 years ago

A "Mermaid" in any condition is highly collectable. Many of us here would pay $1000 or more for even a trashed example. Everyone has different tastes and desires. It's the market that determines the value of anything, not just pinball machines.

-1
#36 4 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

A "Mermaid" in any condition is highly collectable. Many of us here would pay $1000 or more for even a trashed example. Everyone has different tastes and desires. It's the market that determines the value of anything, not just pinball machines.

Why would you say a pin that was to trashed to be played and could most likely never be brought back to life was highly collectable ? you zero chance of getting a playfield so what is the value of a machine that is nothing more than a hapless project / parts game . if you have no playfield you have no game.

Not trying to crack wise, I have respect for all peoples likes and opinions I am just trying to get educated as to the thinking . because to me a machine that is not repairable is not of much value.

I have tons of wood rail parts, it doesn't make them more valuable if the came from a mermaids or a Dancing dolls, and A back glass is easy to come by.

So if you care to help me to understand the value of The Mermaid in question ?

Thanks
Brian Lenker

#37 4 years ago

Well, if cheap enough...buy on speculation you can get a 2nd one and turn 2 into 1 keeper?

#38 4 years ago

...or that someone may pay you more for the game once/if you find someone who really needs it?

#39 4 years ago

Another playfield can be made. And the existing playfield may still be restorable (even if stripping off the top laminate layer and replacing it). For this title, getting the rest of the game with the correct wiring harness and everything else is worth it. Creating a new playfield is feasible with current technology. Not necessarily cheap, but feasible. The added expense would likely still make sense on this title.

It would take a lot more than just a trashed playfield surface to render it hopeless. The wiring harness for the score motor board and backbox is really the key ingredient; a whole new game can be built around that.

The typical poor condition playfield is what prompted the first one-off playfields to be done. That person may not do them again, but that doesn't prevent anyone else from making a playfield.

If the game is otherwise complete, a $1000 investment would allow a very large budget to muster a new playfield and still be OK.

#40 4 years ago

I saw pics of this game. The lower 1/3 of the playfield is worn to wood and delaminated (like nearly every mermaid.) The game is trashed in my opinion. If you can get past the visuals, the game is still unplayable and would be impossible to repair to playable condition. Looks are everything on this game too. A worn mermaid is worth next to nothing in my opinion.

I re made the mermaid playfields. They are all gone (only made 12). I had one last playfield but gave it to the PPM last fall and they installed it. There's none left. Therefore the only thing this game is good for in my opinion is parts. I would not offer more than $500. But that's me. I have lots of trashed woodrails and probably can't get $50 for then. So even at $500 with no playfields available, why even spend that much?

Back in the day sure this game brought big money. But that's because I re made the playfields! With them all gone, this game is just a pile of parts. I have a guy calling me every week asking about a playfield. Sorry they are all gone! He's screwed, just like this guy. I'm sorry but that's how it is.

#41 4 years ago

Other than the playfield, how's the rest of the game? He should post photos here so we can all have a look. He did start this thread, let's see what he's got.

#42 4 years ago

He's right, looks are everything with this game and it being restorable to playability. There isn't alot of parts to be had either. In any case the game is worth alot less than you guys are thinking if it's worn to heck.

#43 4 years ago
Quoted from Bribo13:

Why would you say a pin that was to trashed to be played and could most likely never be brought back to life was highly collectable ? you zero chance of getting a playfield so what is the value of a machine that is nothing more than a hapless project / parts game . if you have no playfield you have no game.
Not trying to crack wise, I have respect for all peoples likes and opinions I am just trying to get educated as to the thinking . because to me a machine that is not repairable is not of much value.
I have tons of wood rail parts, it doesn't make them more valuable if the came from a mermaids or a Dancing dolls, and A back glass is easy to come by.
So if you care to help me to understand the value of The Mermaid in question ?
Thanks
Brian Lenker</blockquote

It's like rare, vintage motorcycles for example. If you came across a super rare early Harley, or Indian, or whatever which was missing the motor or transmission, that bike is not rideable, but is still highly valuable and collectable because enough people would want it and would pay up for it. Any collectable item by definition, is valuable to collectors of said item. The useable condition of the item is often not a factor to a collector as far as desirability, but does obviously determine just how much they would spend on it compared to other known examples of the item.
As far as having "parts", parts are just parts if they're generic or common. A motor from a "Mermaid" would be no more valuable than one from any other game, but a motor board with the harnesses and relays designed and built for a "Mermaid" would be more valuable than one from a more common game.

#44 4 years ago

This one for $13K in St. Louis still appears to be available.

stlouis.craigslist.org link

Go figure.

#45 4 years ago

When I re did the plaYfields, that was almost 10 years ago. It took 9 of those 10 years to get rid of all 12! So the demand was/is low. I spent about $10,000 to get those 12 done. I had to buy a plane ticket to go to someone's house that had a nos playfield, and then hp4600 scan it. Then pay to have the layers made and the wood cut and screened. It was a long and expensive process. Now there's what like 2 games that we missed with the original run?

For the guy that's mad about only being offered $500 for the game. My suggestion is they should buy the game and hold it. Maybe a nos playfield will appear. Or spend $10k to make another run of fields.

Incidentally the guy bought the mermaid for $100. Pretty sure even at $500 he's doing fine.

#46 4 years ago
Quoted from Tuna_Delight:

This one for $13K in St. Louis still appears to be available.
" target="_blank">stlouis.craigslist.org link
Go figure.

I think what kills that one aside from the "ware" on the playfield is the Chicago Coin shooter gauge.

#47 4 years ago

Parts is parts.

#48 4 years ago
Quoted from Bribo13:

Why would you say a pin that was to trashed to be played and could most likely never be brought back to life was highly collectable ? you zero chance of getting a playfield so what is the value of a machine that is nothing more than a hapless project / parts game . if you have no playfield you have no game.

Skilled restorers restore trashed playfields all the time.

One of my customers even showed me some Whitewater upper playfields he CNC routed at work, and then printed the graphics directly on the wood with a "direct sign printer". No silkscreens or overlays at all.

#49 4 years ago

Don't let Mr. Personality find out about this.

-2
#50 4 years ago

Don't believe this nonsense. Unless the game is firewood, no Mermaid is worth $500 fair market value. Clay knows this full well (and has a reputation for undervaluing games).

Quoted from cfh:

When I re did the plaYfields, that was almost 10 years ago. It took 9 of those 10 years to get rid of all 12! So the demand was/is low. I spent about $10,000 to get those 12 done. I had to buy a plane ticket to go to someone's house that had a nos playfield, and then hp4600 scan it. Then pay to have the layers made and the wood cut and screened. It was a long and expensive process. Now there's what like 2 games that we missed with the original run?
For the guy that's mad about only being offered $500 for the game. My suggestion is they should buy the game and hold it. Maybe a nos playfield will appear. Or spend $10k to make another run of fields.
Incidentally the guy bought the mermaid for $100. Pretty sure even at $500 he's doing fine.

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