I just recently got into this hobby as well and my first pin is being delivered tomorrow(ID4). I know that it isn't the most desirable pin out there, but I am using this as my entry point to learning about pinball ownership.
I know you said you hate to travel but the Northwest Pinball show is coming in June and will be held in Tacoma,WA this year. I am sure there will be plenty of people from Portland there. If anything, it is a great way to make connections with people who rotate through inventory a lot quicker.
Also, don't be afraid to arrange shipping for a pin that isn't in your area. Pinside recommends using NAVL(North American Van Lines). I used them for mine and it was quite simple. Having my pin shipped from CA to WA as about $350 or so.
Also, heed this advice! Don't let the battle hardened pinsheads scare you from getting a "less collectible" pin the first few times around.
Quoted from Rarehero:
Don't worry about 'top rated' ...right now you're talking to a bunch of junkies who've most likely been doing this for years, and we're all jaded know-it-alls. ...here's something we often forget. Your first pin is THE BEST GAME EVER, no matter what its reputation is, cuz...dude, there's a pinball machine in your house!!!! Everyone here might say it's the worst game of all time, but you won't care - you'll play it 50 times a day. My first pin was Back to the Future...and my only pin for a few years. Seasoned pin guys would always scoff..."bleh...you have THAT piece of sh*t?!" ...whatever, I loved that thing. Eventually I came to the same conclusion lol...but, hey - don't underestimate the wonderful feeling of "FIRST PIN" ...it won't matter what anyone else thinks.
Trust me, I was apprehensive about picking up my ID4 as a first pin because of "simple rules", "you'll get bored fast", blah blah blah. Just have patience. LOTS of patience. But when something does come up, be ready to jump on it because even the "less desirable" pins seem to get gobbled up fast.
Post edited by Elfman : spelling