Lots to unwrap here…
Pin values have been resilient for over two decades. In 2001, values saw a pause, maybe a slight dip for a month after 911, then continued to go up up up. Then in 2008, when we had the worst recession since the great depression, pinball sales stopped for about a month, the economy corrected itself, then sales went up up up. Now here we are.
For the last couple years, The market has been primarily driven by the cost of new games. When the price of a new stern goes up, the price of used games goes up. NIB stern prices have gone up 25% in the last 5 years. You could easily say that for the used market. Would you pay $5000 for a fish tales if you could still get a spike 2 for $5000? Probably not.
What about new-used sterns? Right now I’m seeing a lot of Jurassic Park premiums, Mandalorians, and avengers sitting on the market. Reason for this is because Stern just ran those. It will take a while, but These prices will bounce back up until stern decide to run them again. It’s simple supply and demand.
Will demand ever be reached? That remains to be seen. Obviously I feel that if Stern ever catches up with their backlog, and distributors ever have standing, sellable inventory again of new in box pins, that will be the only thing that brings the price of used pins down.
There are a lot more forces at work, but the sale price of new games and the scarcity of them in the current market is really what’s driving the market now. Is pinball an investment? Well, yes.... everyone knows the key factor of a successful investment is what you pay for the investment. Is a $2000 addams a good investment? Uh, yeah..... is a $2000 fireball home model a good investment? Probably not. So, pinball CAN be a good investment, but, if that’s your primary reason for buying pins, than you must be a boring asshole LOL. (Full disclosure I’m in the business, but I do have a collection of games that I would probably never sell).