I think a lot of it came out of the internet assistance in the last 5-6 years. Craigslist (kijiji here in Canada) and ebay have really enabled not only people that were searching forever but knew of few places to look, together with people that wanted to sell or had barns full, but ran into the same problem.
There was so much movement for a while, and now that height of that has gone due to next to no supply. I find now machine transactions to be very small to what they were. People scour these sites, but all you’ll find for the most part are overpriced machines, and even those sell pretty well. In Toronto on kijiji, Pinball is the second most searched item – above i-anything.
Btw, say what you want about the bs involved with CL/kijiji, but this has meant a lot of many of us collectors, and has also contributed to so many other things out there going to someone instead of in a landfill.
As for the bubble, I say this every time: we made it through a bad recession and saw the largest increase in people getting into this, and a huge price incline – did anything else out there do that during the recession? There are also lots of new people getting into this that are surprisingly young.
RGP has people crying about the pinball sky falling since b/w closed, and it’s done nothing but rise and get larger, through the dark days of not knowing if even rubbers would be produced by anyone, to the cusp of Stern appearing to be on their last legs, and making stripped down machines no home user wanted to purchase, and now, at the point we are at now, more manufactures seen since the 70s (albeit small runs in most cases) and huge prices and no supply, this question comes up again?
There will be no bubble. If anyone wants to get out, their stock gets sucked up in days. I bet I could liquidate most of my machines in an afternoon if I so desired. Name anything else you could do that with.