(Topic ID: 271826)

Pinball grading guide needed?


By John-H

17 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 20 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 16 days ago by Dayhuff
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    #1 17 days ago

    *first post to pinside * This is just an idea and I'm throwing it together without too much overthinking...anyway, I've groused a few times about how the comics collecting industry has a pretty good grading guide, but pinball doesn't have any standard system. (Coin collecting has this too, although I'm less familiar with that.) If pinball had a grading guide, maybe it would look something like this:
    10.0 - NIB (new in box) - unopened straight from the factory.
    9.9 - Gem Mint - opened and set up with no flaws. I'd prefer this over NIB. Played a few times just for testing.
    9.4 - A brand new HUO game the day after Christmas. For EMs, possibly one that's a spotless professional restoration.
    9.0 - HUO that's had excellent maintenance and care, or a game that's been flawlessly restored.
    8.0 - Probably the best games you'll find in the marketplace most of the time. Very minor backglass flaking and / or tiny playfield scratches.
    7.0 - Fully working with minor wear. May need minor maintenance like new bulbs or rubbers. Wouldn't take a professional very long to restore these to 8.0 or 9.0. Some minor backglass paint loss, reasonable cabinet scuffs and scrapes, loss of playfield paint around kickout holes and things like that.
    6.0 - Still fully working but needs basic to intermediate maintenance. Very nice but has backglass and playfield paint loss that would need above-average skill to restore.
    5.0 - Complete and mostly working but needs attention to be working fully. May need rebuilt flippers, cleaned steppers, or other maintenance. Noticeable paint loss but presentable.
    4.0 - Turns on and lights up but doesn't do much beyond that. May have amateur repairs. These are the games that might just require a bit of tlc to be good "player's condition" games. Cracks in backglass repaired with tape, incorrect or missing rubbers, but all parts present.
    3.0 - Non-functioning in present state. May be missing parts. Major paint loss. Restoration to fully-working game is probably beyond the purview of most enthusiasts.
    2.0 - Missing major parts such as backglass. Will need donor parts from other machines to ever be working again, or is best used as a parts machine.
    1.0 - Found next to a cow. Picture posted in group with caption "can you identify this game?" May have salvageable parts.
    0.5 - Individual parts such as badly flaked backglasses and warped playfields.

    #2 17 days ago

    Been discussed in the past.

    First problem is everybody has a different idea of what condition is. One guy's shopped is totally torn down, rebuilt, everything fixed, cleaned, waxed, etc. A different person drag a dirty rag over the center of the playfield is shopped.

    LTG : )

    #3 17 days ago

    lol yeah I obviously missed that discussion. And you're correct, which is also the reason a guide may be helpful, but c'est la vie

    #4 17 days ago

    Can we seal them in a plastic cases so it stays the same grade. People are always calling these "investments" anyway.

    But LTG hit it on the head, it's very subjective. I work in auctions and I see it all the time with every type of collectible.

    #5 17 days ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Been discussed in the past.
    First problem is everybody has a different idea of what condition is. One guy's shopped is totally torn down, rebuilt, everything fixed, cleaned, waxed, etc. A different person drag a dirty rag over the center of the playfield is shopped.
    LTG : )

    I agree. Some people put on a blindfold when they describe the condition of their machines.

    #6 17 days ago
    Quoted from timtim:

    Can we seal them in a plastic cases so it stays the same grade.

    LOL

    Yeah it's just surely I'm not the only person who gets a little annoyed at how stuff you see on the market is just all over the place with how people describe the condition. There's really no way to tell unless you see it yourself even if they provide very good pictures.
    But this would be a lot more complicated than comics and the subjectivity will always be an issue. No way, for example, can I tell the difference between a 4.0 and 5.0 comic.

    #7 17 days ago
    Quoted from John-H:

    But this would be a lot more complicated than comics and the subjectivity will always be an issue. No way, for example, can I tell the difference between a 4.0 and 5.0 comic.

    Sometimes the companies grading them can't either.

    Years ago when I was selling baseball cards on Ebay. I had the best professionally graded. If it turned out lower than I thought. Crack it open, try again, or a different company. Often got better results.

    LTG : )

    #8 17 days ago
    Quoted from John-H:

    1.0 - Found next to a cow.

    Thanks for the belly laugh. I needed it today.

    #9 17 days ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Sometimes the companies grading them can't either.
    Years ago when I was selling baseball cards on Ebay. I had the best professionally graded. If it turned out lower than I thought. Crack it open, try again, or a different company. Often got better results.
    LTG : )

    Thanks and good point again. I've never had my few best comics or cards graded partially for this reason. It can add up in expense too.

    For some reason I don't see it being feasible to send pinball games off to a central source to get graded either Might as well forget local certified clubs or owners to do so; it's easy to forget that this is quite a niche hobby and there aren't a lot of owners around. Oh well! lol

    #10 17 days ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Sometimes the companies grading them can't either.
    Years ago when I was selling baseball cards on Ebay. I had the best professionally graded. If it turned out lower than I thought. Crack it open, try again, or a different company. Often got better results.
    LTG : )

    Inherited a large collection of cards and I was told to try it, you’re right! It seems like these companies just throw a dart at the board and say “meh good enough!” One company would say “decent but not great” another says “9.9999 gem mint”

    Seems like they just care about their $50 now.

    #11 17 days ago
    Quoted from I_P_D_B:

    Thanks for the belly laugh. I needed it today.

    HA HA you are very welcome; I was wondering if anyone would even read that far.

    #12 17 days ago

    Then you have an over the top restoration like a HEP. It's clearly better than NIB. Maybe and 11? Of better yet, just call it a HEP!

    #13 17 days ago
    Quoted from Toucanf16:

    Then you have an over the top restoration like a HEP. It's clearly better than NIB. Maybe and 11? Of better yet, just call it a HEP!

    11.0 Spinal Tap - This one goes to 11.

    #14 17 days ago

    Would have to pass on the guide myself . Eyes on prior to purchase best way for assessment .
    SHANE

    #15 17 days ago

    Yep. I just need my eyeballs to assess a games condition.

    #16 17 days ago

    A grading system has been analyzed to death. Too subjective for everyone to agree on. And it certainly couldn’t be used as a good reference for pricing. Two separate things. It’s a factor but condition sometimes is the last thing that affects value. It seems popularity/demand/ availability and then theme/value of fun set the bar and then condition may come into play. Prices fluctuate so much. Everyone kind of has there own grading system and price point for a game. I am sure we judge similar things but we put a different value on them.

    #17 17 days ago

    Great point. There are games I love, but will never own simply because I don’t put anywhere near the same value that the majority of others put on the game.

    #18 16 days ago

    I think there is some merit here, and possibly a way to take subjectiveness out of the ratings. Use verifiable attributes rather than unverified actions. Instead of “shopped” say “functionality is at 100%”. I guess my point is this is a good start.

    Why not have an acceptable standard? If I claim to be selling an 8, and you as a buyer can point to something that doesn’t conform to it being graded as an 8, you now have leverage for a lower offer. Just my two bits.

    #19 16 days ago

    Thanks all good points all around.

    #20 16 days ago

    People don't need to grade it to make a lower offer, there going to do it anyways. Unless it's like coins where you send the game in to one company to "grade" it then the guide would be worthless. I understand the need for standardization but in pinball it will never work.

    John

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