(Topic ID: 147327)

Hidden Gems? Games worth $$$ but might not be evident?


By Roostking

4 years ago



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  • 33 posts
  • 24 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by brandsilence
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    #1 4 years ago

    So I am a noob at pinball ownership, but I been looking at CL for games lately and there are quite a few 60's and 70's games there that are cheap. Having been a musclecar freak for ever, I can tell you what a "barnfind" is and if its worth a crap, but I cant do this on Pins. What are some games that might be out there that are worth something, but the owner doesnt know, or care and just wants it gone??

    #2 4 years ago

    Gosh that's a little hard to answer as years ago I know a local Twilight Zone went for $700 which even then was many thousands under its value. But these days many non pin people look up their game on Ebay and see a hugely overprice listing, don't understand how to price based on the quality and condition of the game and often over price it. Rare but occasionally any game could be under priced but sadly sometimes those are scams.
    Many of the 60's and 70's games go for cheap because not too many collectors want them compared to 80s-90's and newer pins. Also a pin that old is often in very poor cosmetic and game play condition. Also games from those eras can be very hard for people to work on as hard to diagnose unless you have some good experience in working on pins before they became electronic in the later part of the 70's.

    #3 4 years ago

    Apparently if you somehow manage to get a rob zombie pin and amh they will be worth 10-15k in a few years according to owners of amh and people on the list for rz lol. Anyhow back to reality ive found some pretty good deals but you basically just need to be in the right place at the right time and always have cash on hand .

    #4 4 years ago
    Quoted from Roostking:

    What are some games that might be out there that are worth something, but the owner doesnt know, or care and just wants it gone??

    I don't think this can be answered. You'll know when you see it, I can tell you that. My recommendation is that when you do see it, tell the person you're on the way right now with cash and hope that someone doesn't tell them that they'll give them $x.xx more by the time you get there. For the muscle car fan in you, it's the biggest race in pinball.

    #5 4 years ago

    Ok cool. I realize that its a tough question to answer. Maybe I should have said rare games that people might not realise they have.

    Thanks for the answers thus far.

    #6 4 years ago

    It could happen, you just need to know the market to find them. But more often than not, people who aren't really into the hobby and are selling think the game is worth a lot more than it is.

    #7 4 years ago

    A good rule for SS pinballs is anything under a thousand dollars has the potential of being a good deal. If it's a DMD, even more so. But condition is king. It could be a Medieval Madness but if the playfield was missing all of the paint, the cabinet was beat up, and the boards were shot, it wouldn't be worth much.

    If you're capable of making an old machine look good again, you have the ability to make a good deal out of nothing.

    #8 4 years ago

    Buy a price guide: http://user.xmission.com/~daina/pinlist_info.html

    Pinside also has a "bang for your buck" list which is more about finding under-appreciated pins: https://pinside.com/pinball/top-100/bangforbuck

    Glad to see my Top Score as #1 on that list!

    #9 4 years ago

    There is such a slight chance you can find a rare game for a cheap price it isn't even worth fantasizing about. Unless its in an unadvertised garage sale a couple blocks from you, it ain't happening. The second someone posts a Krull for sale in Bangor Maine for $250, their phone lights up with someone calling from San Francisco, offering $1000, and then from New Mexico offering $2000, and so on till the auction is over at $10,000.

    Now here comes all the posts from guys saying that they got a such and such for $XXXX. I know it might happen, but you have a better chance at getting lucky with Megan Fox after you bump into her on the bus.

    #10 4 years ago

    The problem is that unless you stumble across something in someone's basement, 1000 other people are combing through the same ads on CL and elsewhere looking for these deals that you are. The big difference is that they have a truck & cash ready to go at a moments notice because they have done this before. In other words, you're not likely to get the deal unless you manage to get a response from the seller immediately after it is listed, and you are on your way that day to get it with cash. I've had that happen, and still lost out when other buyers offered more than asking.

    #11 4 years ago

    It depends on your active years in the hobby/business. In 2014 I ve bought a CFTBL for $180. I ve got a hint from the op (who is a friend of mine). He sold the game many years ago to some guy for home use. The guy wanted it gone and I was happy to help him to make it happen.
    This years find is still waiting (for more space on my side). Trading a bagatelle like machine for one of the following: Zaccaria Moon Flight, Funhouse, Space Invaders, Taxi or Skateball which are buried under lots of junk in some warehouse
    I might post a discovery of year 2014 to me later as I find the pics.

    CFTBL1.jpg.

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    #12 4 years ago

    My advice is keep looking on Ebay, Craigslist, pinside, and any other local/state website for sales. After a while you'll start to get a good gauge on which machines sell for in your area. Also you'll start to get a good feel for which machines come up for sale a lot and which machines don't. Also by reading forum posts you'll discover what machines are on wish lists of people who have 20 plus machines.

    I look at for sale posts here on pinside all of the time for games I know I cannot afford or would even want, just to see what the price is versus condition/location.

    #13 4 years ago

    To OP: I'm not quite sure what your question is... it's possible that any game (any title) could be found for cheap if the owner "just wants it gone."

    Are you asking specifically about existing titles that receive relatively little love...are typically priced on the lower end...and will probably go up in value in the future?

    I will say this: anything you buy should be bought for the love of the game...not as an investment.

    #14 4 years ago

    If it is Craigslist and it is a good deal on a pin that is underpriced by an owner you usually have less than 20 minutes before someone claims it. Some games from 60's and 70's are priced in the low hundreds and seem like a good deal. It depends if you like playing EM games or prefer DMD. DMD start in the 1k range and go up from there. As far as "rare" games that people do not realize they have...well that never seems to be the case. It is quite the opposite, people that are not in the hobby and bought a machine back in the day that now collects dust go to Ebay and check what they are selling for. They then price the machine well above market value and state "Several other examples are on Ebay for $$$$$...so this machine is priced to sell."

    #15 4 years ago

    Best way is to educate yourself. Learn to fix games , then cheap non working games are of more value as you can get them working.
    Knowing for instance that generally Gottlieb wedge heads are more valued than a lot of other EMs.
    There are many good books out there. They are a little pricey but well worth it.
    As a muscle car freak I'm sure you know all this but it's the best way if your actively looking for gems.
    Pinball has been around for so long it's to hard to narrow down look for game X. Also pinball guide has a top ten lists which will give rough idea of gems.

    #16 4 years ago

    networking helps. talk to everyone about pinball. someone you know knows someone who has an old game they don't want.

    #17 4 years ago
    Quoted from 27dnast:

    To OP: I'm not quite sure what your question is... it's possible that any game (any title) could be found for cheap if the owner "just wants it gone."
    Are you asking specifically about existing titles that receive relatively little love...are typically priced on the lower end...and will probably go up in value in the future?
    I will say this: anything you buy should be bought for the love of the game...not as an investment.

    It was more a question of "if you see xxx or zzz game, those are rare or prototypes or something." Not that it would happen everyday or maybe ever, just a "if you ever" sort of deal.

    You all bring up good points about networking, watching for prices, etc.

    #18 4 years ago

    Ahh... got it. The list is pretty lengthy, I'd imagine, and totally situationally dependent.

    Agree with the folks above...start paying attention to the wanted to buy and sell ads here on pinside. You'll get a great idea of pricing... when you come across games in homes, etc, you'll have a good frame of reference for what's a good deal and what's hard to find.

    #19 4 years ago

    I learned at the Houston show in November that my "Gottlieb 2001", in the great condtion that it is in, will fetch a pretty penny if I ever decide to sell it.
    I had no idea so many people want one.

    #20 4 years ago

    Probably the biggest deals you'll find will be 80's solid state games. They're almost 40 years old and most are busted, but they are very popular with collectors because they look good and play well.

    So, often I'll see them for $200-$500 but will sell to collectors for more after shopping them out. They are super cheap and easy to repair and they're well supported by the aftermarket.

    So pretty much any SS Bally under $700 is a good deal.

    #21 4 years ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    Probably the biggest deals you'll find will be 80's solid state games. They're almost 40 years old and most are busted, but they are very popular with collectors because they look good and play well.
    So, often I'll see them for $200-$500 but will sell to collectors for more after shopping them out. They are super cheap and easy to repair and they're well supported by the aftermarket.
    So pretty much any SS Bally under $700 is a good deal.

    Thanks Fantasy goat.

    #22 4 years ago

    It's really competative, but the hunt is fun.

    I don't limit myself to anything particular...I'll grab anything that looks interesting. But, I also don't have anything that's really worth big money either. By the time I buy the game and refurbish it, I pretty much just break even.

    It's pretty much impossible now to find anything that's going to net you big money--between the competition from other collectors, sellers thinking anything old is worth a fortune, and the fact that everyone is basically scraping the bottom of the barrel now in terms of basement finds, you're probably not going to strike gold.

    Your best bet is to network with other collectors.

    #23 4 years ago

    Search Google "Boston pinball ebay sales summary"

    #24 4 years ago

    DON'T buy some price guide. A waste of time.

    Go here for more accurate pricing: http://www.bostonpinball.biz/ebay112315.htm

    Was just updated in November.

    A few titles are off but overall, it's the best free pinball pricing resource that you are going to find.

    #25 4 years ago
    Quoted from snyper2099:

    DON'T buy some price guide. A waste of time.
    Go here for more accurate pricing: http://www.bostonpinball.biz/ebay112315.htm
    Was just updated in November.
    A few titles are off but overall, it's the best free pinball pricing resource that you are going to find.

    The downside about most aggregated price guides is that there is no indication of condition.

    #26 4 years ago

    Sure there is...
    highest price=best condition (like new or new)
    lowest price=worst condition (parts machine)

    I would argue that it's better then speculative condition, in a way. Also, if good pics are provided for a given sold game on eBay, I trust THAT over what some "guide" speculates is the current going price.

    After all is said and done, completed eBay sales is just a "guide"
    A yearly price guide is also just a "guide"
    Your personal experience can also be a "guide"
    Pinside forums/posts/asking prices could be considered a "guide"
    Local groups to you, shows, leagues, ect. can also be a "guide"

    All these in combination will give you the best information.

    I will admit that the worst thing about the Boston list is that the more rare a game is to locate, the less likely the guide will help you in determining the potential value/asking price.

    -1
    #27 4 years ago
    Quoted from WesleyCowan:

    Many of the 60's and 70's games go for cheap because not too many collectors want them compared to 80s-90's and newer pins.

    Not accurate. They go cheaper because the supply of EM's far outnumbers electronic games. Video Games didn't really take off until '79, (Space Invaders, PacMan, Asteroids), which compromised the number of electronic games made for quite a while. The main piece of information to know is just about all single-player Gottliebs you find are worth grabbing, and because they're usually found somewhere dormant and filthy, can be had for a very reasonable price. Not surprising, the demand for these is beginning to rise.

    Quoted from 27dnast:

    it's possible that any game (any title) could be found for cheap if the owner "just wants it gone."

    This sums it up for me. You'll quickly find out on, "The Hunt," best to first analyze the seller of how urgent he wants it gone. If you come with cash and a truck, he may not let you leave without it.

    Quoted from Blenderhead:

    Search Google "Boston pinball ebay sales summary"

    Since Ebay is an auction setting, prices are usually a bit inflated, even the games that didn't sell. If you're really a "Barn Find" type of a guy, this isn't the guide for you, most of these games are plug-n-play. Many people don't bother with an auction setting anyway.

    #28 4 years ago
    Quoted from snyper2099:

    Sure there is...
    highest price=best condition (like new or new)
    lowest price=worst condition (parts machine)
    I would argue that it's better then speculative condition, in a way. Also, if good pics are provided for a given sold game on eBay, I trust THAT over what some "guide" speculates is the current going price.
    After all is said and done, completed eBay sales is just a "guide"
    A yearly price guide is also just a "guide"
    Your personal experience can also be a "guide"
    Pinside forums/posts/asking prices could be considered a "guide"
    Local groups to you, shows, leagues, ect. can also be a "guide"
    All these in combination will give you the best information.
    I will admit that the worst thing about the Boston list is that the more rare a game is to locate, the less likely the guide will help you in determining the potential value/asking price.

    This is where abstract thought applies...

    #29 4 years ago

    I don't actually think the comparison can really be made. There are so many variables with cars--model, trim, engine, numbers matching, unusual prototypes, history or provenance, etc. The reality is that with pins, the game usually is what it is with condition being the only factor. A seller can immediately look it up and see what it is and know the range it goes for, then draw their own (often misguided) selling price.

    The only real variables to consider for pinballs are condition and price. You have be alert to find the seller who just wants it gone or figures they got their money's worth out of and it's time for someone else to enjoy it. Keep your eyes peeled.

    #30 4 years ago
    Quoted from albummydavis:

    I don't actually think the comparison can really be made. There are so many variables with cars--model, trim, engine, numbers matching, unusual prototypes, history or provenance, etc. The reality is that with pins, the game usually is what it is with condition being the only factor. A seller can immediately look it up and see what it is and know the range it goes for, then draw their own (often misguided) selling price.
    The only real variables to consider for pinballs are condition and price. You have be alert to find the seller who just wants it gone or figures they got their money's worth out of and it's time for someone else to enjoy it. Keep your eyes peeled.

    But you left out the MOST important variable: location.

    #31 4 years ago
    Quoted from Boatcat:

    Not accurate. They go cheaper because the supply of EM's far outnumbers electronic games. Video Games didn't really take off until '79, (Space Invaders, PacMan, Asteroids), which compromised the number of electronic games made for quite a while. The main piece of information to know is just about all single-player Gottliebs you find are worth grabbing, and because they're usually found somewhere dormant and filthy, can be had for a very reasonable price. Not surprising, the demand for these is beginning to rise.

    Regardless of supply, if fewer people are interested in old wedgeheads, demand will drop.

    The people most interested in the old EM games are older who have a fondness for them from their youth. As those older collectors die off, demand goes with them.

    #32 4 years ago

    You will find by looking around the forums, Webb reproduction backglasses, The Shay Arcade Group, Pinball Rescue, etc etc, that interest in EM's particularly wedgeheads is at least for now, on the rise.

    It is because of 30+ years of high-volume production by 3-4 major manufacturers, and with few other competing coin operated novelties like videos that there are so many EM's out there, keeping the prices so low.

    2 months later
    #33 4 years ago
    Quoted from RTS:

    Regardless of supply, if fewer people are interested in old wedgeheads, demand will drop.
    The people most interested in the old EM games are older who have a fondness for them from their youth. As those older collectors die off, demand goes with them.

    I'm quite interested in EMs and I'm 39. You may be right about this, but i wish all of the older collectors a happy long life enjoying their pins. I'll be around to snatch them up whenever they become available

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