Not that anyone necessarily cares, but I thought I'd share my one year anniversary as a pinhead by breaking down my pin-ownership experience and decisions over the last year. It has been a wild ride for sure and one in which I've learned some lessons. As you will see, I jumped in with both feet into this hobby and I am hoping that with a couple of slight changes to the line-up in the near future I'll be able to stay more stable.
My main lessons learned:
1. Pinball is crazy fun to play
2. Don't get caught up in the 'have to have it now' mentality...it WILL cost you
3. Try not to get caught up in trading pins just because of 'value'. I've regretted a couple of decisions I've made based primarily on this criteria
4. Figure out for yourself how much is 'enough'. I have found myself to be very fickle and have spent WAY too much time and energy trying to "wheel and deal" My desire is to simply get a great pin lineup that I can play and enjoy with family and friends. I am still learning this and have not yet arrived.
5. See pins before you buy them if possible. I've not followed this rule well at all but one I really want to do better at in the future. That said I still have a couple of pre-orders out there and I've been happy with the pins that i have had shipped to me.
6. This hobby is very addictive. I thought I knew this fact before I started (from talking to folks) but I had no idea.
7. You can meet GREAT people in this hobby. As a group, Pinsiders are a very helpful people. I've learned A LOT from them and certain folks (you know who you are) were VERY helpful to me one year ago as I was getting ready to enter this hobby.
So, here is it is:
March 2013: I purchased my first two pins. Tron Pro (NIB from Buddy - Buddy has been EXTREMELY helpful to me over the last year) and LOTR. The Tron I paid $4700 for him to have it brought down to my house and set up for me. The LOTR I thought I was getting a HUO pin pin and when I met the guy at a neutral location I did not really look over the pin really well. When I got home, the pin was clearly a routed machine. (I don't fault the seller. I was new and simply did not ask the right questions or look over the pin.) As a newbie, I was loving every minute of playing these two great pins!
Later that same month, Rob (Gwaxt72) sold me a really nice MM that I paid $12,100 + shipping. I purchased that MM because of its high rating and belief that its value would continue to climb. Gecko and Pinchroma had seen the pin and helped me immensely in making such a large purchase sight unseen. I had played it on the pinball arcade and loved it. That MM became the family favorite.
I decided to sell the LOTR and upgrade it to a really nice HUO example. So, I sold it sometime that spring (I think in the low $4k's range...don't remember for sure) and purchased Skooter's HUO heavily modded LOTR LE for $6500 + shipping. I knew that LOTR was going to be a LOOONG time keeper in my collection and so I bought the best one I could find.
Last summer I went on my first pin-trip and picked up a dirty HS for $650 and a HUO POTC for $4000. The HS was my first (and only) 'restore'. I learned a lot on this low-end restore (basically an in-depth shop job and some new caps put on the power board (a skill I had to learn from scratch). The HS had a lot of pf wear and the game play for me was not as fun as I imagined it would be. I ended up selling it last fall for $900 (basically a wash financially from what I put into it). The POTC I ended up selling for $4900 as the game was just not that great imo and I was in the 'wheeling and dealing' mindset.
Also during late summer, the hype about WOZLE was at a fever-pitch and I just 'KNEW' i had to have one. By this time my family's interest in playing pinball was waning and I thought the WOZ would get them back playing with me. A fellow pinsider was facing some difficulites and I made another expensive spontaneous decsion to buy his pre-order for $8700 with shipping scheduled in a week or so. I also agreed to get his TZ but then he found another possible buyer for the TZ and I had him go ahead and sell to the other interested party. So, I officially 'owned' a TZ but actually never even saw it.
In April last year I went ahead and put in my deposit with JJ for the STLE which, of course is in my house now.
While on vacation to Hilton Head last year the MMR announcement came out. A local pin buddy texted me to let me know. Truth be told, I got scared the value of one of my favorite pins was going to drop off. So, I put it up for sale or trade and ended up trading it for four pins: FT, TAF, DM, and TFTC. I currently still have the TAF (which is in pretty good shape and is a decent player's pin). I did put in a MMR pre-order at the time. My decision to trade the MM was soley based on fear of decreased value. We miss it.
I had to move out of my house in December due to construction and so I did not have a great opportunity to play my pins or really upgrade the STLE or WOZ to the newer codes. (lol, have been living with my in-laws over 3 months! - currently have my TOTAN, WH20 and AC/DC here at his house)
My local buddy (a guy who I've come to really value as a friend and who I would have NEVER met had it not been for pinball since our walks of life are VERY different) offered me a trade for his AC/DC Premium which was heavily modded for the DM, FT, TFTC. We also swapped White Waters (WH20 is a grail pin for him and he had one but mine was nicer). With that trade I thought I would be pretty much done which my craziness.
However, as much as I like the AC/DC I just didn't feel like it would be a long-time keeper (based on theme mainly) for me and currently have a trade + cash pending for a restored IJ with cc'd pf, brassed up, new decals, etc.
Whilst marketing my trade for the AC/DC, I received an unsolicited offer for my WOZLE. Mainly because the TOTAN was SOOO nice and the value of the WOZLE's were dropping a lot, I decided to make the trade. My TOTAN is sweet, but I will probably be selling/trading (+cash) to free up money.
So, my current situation finds me cash-poor as I've spent too much money on my house addition and theater and on my pins. I need to purchase a lot of A/V equipment. So, I have the current possibilities on my line-up...my desire truly is to get my lineup stable.
Crazy that in one year the following pins have been through my collection:
Is it any wonder that my wife is starting to get pretty fed up with this hobby?
Definite long-term keepers in my collection are the LOTR LE and STLE if I had to have only 2 pins. Lucky for me (at least for now) my finances don't dictate that I have to do a big-time sell off. Hopefully the MMR and Hobbit won't release for a while so I have some time to see how my finances are when the piper comes calling. I think I would like to have both if possible.
If you made it through this wall of text, I hope you enjoyed a little insight into my craziness. t will be interested to see how the next year goes.