I had an incredible trip last week picking up a grail game that I've been looking for since last summer. I've had a few emails asking more details on what transpired, so here's a little story of what transpired for those that are interested.
I have been looking for a nice Addams Gold edition for awhile. After a few got away from me (and a couple I passed on because they were missing the certificate, boards didn't match or had other issues), a nice #949 HUO (domestic) game caught my attention on Mrpinball of all places. It was the week before Christmas, and listed in King George VA right outside Wash DC, at a great price. Perfect mansion, cabinet, all original matching boards, and a domestic machine which is tough on these since 800 were exported and reimported in rough shape.
Thinking it was a scam I text the seller inquiring if he still had it, and he responded back that he still had it for sale. He sent me some photos of the machine which weren't the best quality but showed it to be quite nice. He stopped responding after a few texts and I didn't hear back from him until after the holidays , when he responded with a photo of Festers chair scoop as I had asked and it looked great.
I have bought games on just photos and had them shipped, but no way was I going to do that on this one (risk of being scammed and damaged in shipping). So I booked a one way ticket from Chattanooga/Atlanta/ to Dulles VA airport using some Delta miles (no cost), and rented a nice Dodge Caravan to make the trip to King George. Flight left at 6:30 AM, arrived in Dulles at 9:00. Rented van and headed to sellers house.
After a 2 hour drive from DC, I finally arrived at the seller's house around noon which was very much in the middle of nowhere. Seller was a very nice guy and I enjoyed meeting him, he had an incredible collection including a HEP TOTAN, restored IJ, original MM and a few other nice machines. He said that the machine was sold new by a Pinball dealer only 30 minutes away in Rockland Maryland to the original owner (their sticker was still on the apron) and he bought it 5 years earlier from the 2nd owner, who got it in trade for some backhoe work and didn't care about pinball. No one had played it much obviously, there was no playfield wear and the inside of the cabinet looked immaculate.
I checked the playfield with my blacklight, the date stamp on the edge of the playfield and everything looked correct. I had already seen the stickers on the boards and the cabinet in the photos and they all matched. Only issue was the tarnishing on the lockbar which is common for these (and I've since remedied thanks to Hotrodarcade's brass lockbar).
I paid him for the machine and we loaded it in my van, holding my breath as we walked down his 5 steps from his porch (I had already paid him at this point so it was mine to break!). We got it in without issue.
I drove the 1 way van from to Cleveland TN without incident, except for a speeding ticket in Washington County VA (my first in 15 years). My brother in law and a friend helped me get it into the basement the next morning, it was pouring down rain when I got home 8 hours after loading up the game and I was exhausted.
The only thing I am doing is the magnet fuse mod, and a full cliffy set, and color DMD. The seller had already LED the machine. Not the easiest game to acquire, but man was it worth it.