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(Topic ID: 146380)

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By swampfire

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 61 posts
  • 30 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by Whysnow
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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There are 61 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
39
#1 4 years ago

If you've been lurking for the past year or so, you probably think that pinball is a rich man's sport. It doesn't have to be. A friend of mine decided to opt out of buying his first pin, because "$5k is too much for a toy". It made me feel that I failed him. There are some amazing games under $2500. Any game from the 90's can be a good buy in this range. Heck, I just sold a really fun 2005 game for $1800. And I had shopped it out and tweaked it to perfection.

Buy from fellow collectors that you know and trust. More importantly, trust us! If you stumble, we'll help you. We "old heads" don't like seeing new guys with broken older games. We'll help you and teach you. We'll come to your place and show you how to fix your games. And after a few years, you'll have a great collection for under $10k, and you'll know more than the guy who only buys new pins.

Are we selfless? Hell no. We have older games that we may want to sell some day. We are trying to build that part of the collector community that's not afraid to rebuild a connector, or replace a rectifier. We selfishly want you to experience something few people understand: a $1500 game can just as fun than an $8000 game, if you're willing to learn and grow your skills.

#2 4 years ago

Inspiration for this post: all I've played for the last month are Andromeda, Skateball, and IM. Metallica and LOTR are waiting for someone to appreciate them. And no, they're not for sale! I do like deep games occasionally.

#3 4 years ago

Pssst...

And when it comes time for you to attempt to sell one of your games, educate yourself on the meaning of the word "lowball".

#4 4 years ago
Quoted from dirtbag66:

Pssst...
And when it comes time for you to attempt to sell one of your games, educate yourself on the meaning of the word "lowball".

I don't mind lowball offers; it shows common sense. I'm not really sure what you're saying here.
I know I overpaid for some of my early SS pins, but if I play them every day, they were still a good buy.

10
#5 4 years ago

Pssst.. and when you ask for someone to cut you a deal, because you are a first timer, don't turn around and flip it for a thousand more. The karma gods will force you to install all
flipper coils backwards for the rest of your miserable time in the hobby.

#6 4 years ago

The truth is you really do not even need $1,500 to start out in the hobby. You can buy an EM for $300-500 or even get lucky every now and find a early SS for $500-800. You may have to put a little work into cleaning them up, but it will get you started. Then you can always sell them and work your way up to the big dogs gradually.

#7 4 years ago

My most recent game cost me $75, and it works.

#8 4 years ago

So true. I have the most fun with my JD, JM, and HSII. All together less than a NIB Stern with a ton more character. Not to mention the satisfaction of playing a game you have brought back from oblivion. Perfection.

#9 4 years ago

My favorite game right now is a 1980 Skateball that I bought from a guy who was getting out of the hobby, for under $1000. Best layout ever - it has great flow and rewards good ball control. The art is kinda goofy and the sounds are out of place (sci-fi skate park??), but that's why it's such a great deal.

#10 4 years ago

I just want one of my non-pinhead friends to get a routed POS games one day so I can fix dumb problems and look like a pin genius. Huh, your flipper isn't working, here let's look over the WPC schematics while I resolder this broken wire on the coil.

#11 4 years ago
Quoted from Mikala:

The truth is you really do not even need $1,500 to start out in the hobby. You can buy an EM for $300-500 or even get lucky every now and find a early SS for $500-800. You may have to put a little work into cleaning them up, but it will get you started. Then you can always sell them and work your way up to the big dogs gradually.

Couldn't agree with this more. This is exactly what happened to me. I got my first table (EM) for $350 and my second (Early SS) for $700. I have 2 working pins in my home after just a year and a half in the hobby and I love them both. So do all the people who come to my home, head to the basement and party while we play. I have learned a ton about repair already thanks to the awesome people on here and a couple local friends who are in the know.

In September, my mother in law was visiting and we were talking about me getting into the pinball hobby. "Do you thank that two are enough?" she asked. I said probably not. At that point, my wife said sternly "you can't buy another one for one year." I made her repeat herself. Then I told her to say it one more time in front of her mother. As she was sayng it for the third time, her voice trailed off as she realized what she had done. My mother in law was cracking up.

It is now 290 days until I can buy table #3. Not that I am counting. Right now, I am trying to do two things:

1. Learn more about buying and selling within the hobby so I am better equipped to get what I want at a good price next fall. And...

2. Figure out what I want for table #3. I am doing this by playing as much pinball as I can and researching anything that shows up on local Craigslist ads so I can make a good decision. I am finding already that this is the harder of the two. There are just so many great tables out there and I am struggling with narrowing it down. Then again, I'll probably end up grabbing a good deal at the time and being very happy with it.

I dreamed about owning a pinball machine my entire life. Now I own two. It's pretty awesome, and it didn't really cost me too much.

#12 4 years ago

Apparently I need ~$100,000 to buy a bigger house!

Putting an offer in today on a house that would let me finally have dedicated space for pinball machines, but I'll probably be limited to low end machines for a year or two after that, until we get past the moving costs.

#13 4 years ago

I'll let you guys in on a little secret. My current four machines were had for less than $1500 in total. Granted, they are fixer-uppers, but getting them working again is a big part of the charm of the hobby to me

And if you choose to buy a machine that already works, its not like you have a monthly subscription to parts or maintenance, if you're willing to put in some elbow grease and maintain the machines yourself. And I was personally surprised by the relatively low cost and good availability of most parts.

#14 4 years ago

My first pinball was $150 New Zealand bucks. My second one was $1000.

The greatest thrill in pinball is getting a cheap game and making it 100% sweet.

rd

#15 4 years ago
Quoted from SilverBallKid:

Couldn't agree with this more. This is exactly what happened to me. I got my first table (EM) for $350 and my second (Early SS) for $700. I have 2 working pins in my home after just a year and a half in the hobby and I love them both. So do all the people who come to my home, head to the basement and party while we play. I have learned a ton about repair already thanks to the awesome people on here and a couple local friends who are in the know.
In September, my mother in law was visiting and we were talking about me getting into the pinball hobby. "Do you thank that two are enough?" she asked. I said probably not. At that point, my wife said sternly "you can't buy another one for one year." I made her repeat herself. Then I told her to say it one more time in front of her mother. As she was sayng it for the third time, her voice trailed off as she realized what she had done. My mother in law was cracking up.
It is now 290 days until I can buy table #3. Not that I am counting. Right now, I am trying to do two things:
1. Learn more about buying and selling within the hobby so I am better equipped to get what I want at a good price next fall. And...
2. Figure out what I want for table #3. I am doing this by playing as much pinball as I can and researching anything that shows up on local Craigslist ads so I can make a good decision. I am finding already that this is the harder of the two. There are just so many great tables out there and I am struggling with narrowing it down. Then again, I'll probably end up grabbing a good deal at the time and being very happy with it.
I dreamed about owning a pinball machine my entire life. Now I own two. It's pretty awesome, and it didn't really cost me too much.

Just tell her your actual saving money by buying the 3rd machine now, because what is 1500-2500 now will be 2500-3500 1year from now at the rate pins have been inflating over the past 5 years! LOL

#16 4 years ago

My first pin was $500 F-14 Tomcat. Needed a lot of TLC but it taught me pretty much everything about how to fix a pinball machine. Didn't even own a soldering iron prior to that.

#17 4 years ago

another good reason to buy a lower cost pin is that it is much less intimidating to repair a $600 pin than it is to repair a $5k pin. They all break down occasionally and you need to build those skills up. It is sad to me to hear of a collector with 6 brand new pins that they depend on "professionals" to maintain. Granted, some things take specialized knowledge, but 90% of the maintenance needed you can easily learn by diving in and doing it. Every day I thank my first pin (a $200 F-14) for the what it taught me!

#18 4 years ago
Quoted from BigDaddyBanjo:

Every day I thank my first pin (a $200 F-14) for the what it taught me!

Is that one working now

#19 4 years ago

My first game was an $800 F-14 over 3 years ago and I learned a lot from that game. Next was a broken sys80 game (spring break) that only needed the common ground mods done to get working. Since then I've learned so much and went through a couple more games. I eventually sold all my games and used that money to fund a virtual pin project. While building that I acquired a couple other pins; usually from trading MAME cabinets that I built. Then again a sold them all and used that money to get my first nib. Still waiting for my GoT Pre, but it's possible to buy and sell games fixing them as you go and tearing up along the way.

#20 4 years ago
Quoted from Astropin:

My first pin was $500 F-14 Tomcat

Quoted from BigDaddyBanjo:

Every day I thank my first pin (a $200 F-14)

Haha my $1000 pin I spoke about in my post was an F14. Only like 4 years old when I bought it in the early nineties.

Still a great game today.

rd

#21 4 years ago

You can still buy games for well under $1000.
Predominantly EMs and require repair, but some SS as well.
Good to cut your teeth into the hobby.

What drives the misconception of "price insanity" in this hobby is people doing it to themselves.
As it is a niche market, very few people truly understand it.
"Pinball appraisers" are not recognized by many insurance companies.
Auctioneers inaccurately represent games.
Operators are now trying to "squeeze their lemons" for its juice, where before they would just dump machines on the market.
Collectors come and go constantly, buy NIB games only, and then try to sell them for more than they paid because they installed $10k worth of aftermarket mods on them.
NIB games are expensive, always have been.
Pinball machines are not made of platinum and gold.

All this equals, "rich man's sport", misconstrued.

#22 4 years ago
Quoted from DaWezl:

Apparently I need ~$100,000 to buy a bigger house!
Putting an offer in today on a house that would let me finally have dedicated space for pinball machines, but I'll probably be limited to low end machines for a year or two after that, until we get past the moving costs.

All you need is a well sealed garage with proper power.
A finished basement is a huge bonus.

#23 4 years ago

My first 2 pins (BK and Space Station) were really flaky, so they taught me a LOT. I was bitter about it at the time, but what I learned has probably saved me thousands of $ on repairs over the last 17 years.

#24 4 years ago

This should almost be a requirement for all new pinball owners to own a cheap game for their first game. It teaches you that pins don't have to be 5k to be fun and learning a little repair is always a plus. My first two pins were $150 and $750. I'm hoping for the next pin to splurge for around a 2k pin but I am looking at some Heighway pins.

#25 4 years ago

I keep a spreadsheet of all my coin-op games bought and sold. I've had a ton of cheap games over the years, fixed them up and sold them for a little profit here and there. After 12 years in the hobby I'm finally at a point where all the machines I own (jukeboxes, arcades & pins) are free. My budget has always been tight and fortunately I favor ems but as they say where there is a will there is a way. This hobby is no exception.

#26 4 years ago
Quoted from dmbjunky:

This should almost be a requirement for all new pinball owners to own a cheap game for their first game. It teaches you that pins don't have to be 5k to be fun and learning a little repair is always a plus. My first two pins were $150 and $750. I'm hoping for the next pin to splurge for around a 2k pin but I am looking at some Heighway pins.

Yes, new owners would not whine that their $8k TZ which is over 20 years old, saying "How could this possibly break down?"

Go complicated, no experience = I hate this hobby!, bitterness, and quitting

#27 4 years ago

Another thing to point out-

Yes, many expensive games are priced high because they are desirable. Take Addams family for example. Everyone loves that game. However, everyone has also played it and is very familiar with it. I don't understand investing in something I can play everywhere!

Look at my collection.
I have 1 game in the top 100, and its pretty high up there. It's usually around the top 70-90. All of my other pins are unique. I bought them because I couldn't play them anywhere and they fit my interests. I constantly have people saying "Oh my gosh, you have a Bone Busters! That's awesome!" Or "Can I come over to play Hook?"

Neither of those games are spectacular, but people don't see them often, so my collection is unique, and they both cost less than half of most top 100 games.

#28 4 years ago
Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

All you need is a well sealed garage with proper power.
A finished basement is a huge bonus.

Lol, our current garage has a dirt floor. And our current basement can't be finished off. But better days lie ahead!

Back on topic, this is exactly why I bought a $65 beater machine. I didn't want my first repair experiences to be on a $7000 machine that I was afraid to touch. I am using it to teach myself all sorts of new skills!

#29 4 years ago
Quoted from swampfire:

My first 2 pins (BK and Space Station) were really flaky, so they taught me a LOT. I was bitter about it at the time, but what I learned has probably saved me thousands of $ on repairs over the last 17 years.

And if those are essentially the same games (not including all the work you've done on them) you have now, then man you did a great job. Though from seeing other ones you've done, you've got a great eye for detail.

As for me, it seems I look for beaters with decent playfield but jacked electronics. That's my wheelhouse. Despite a background in art, when I do a playfield it will be design and I'll let someone else do the printing. Though if I had the right gear, I do have the experience to do screening, but I'd rather be playing

#30 4 years ago
Quoted from DaWezl:

I didn't want my first repair experiences to be on a $7000 machine that I was afraid to touch.

Actually I don't fully get this one. I did do all my early board work on a cheaper machine, but that's because it was all I had. The boards on that machine pretty much cost the same to replace as the boards on a 7k machine. It's not like you would ruin a $7000 machine by soldering on the boards....you might ruin a board but it is going to cost you either way if you do.

#31 4 years ago
Quoted from charliebrown2417:

Another thing to point out-
Yes, many expensive games are priced high because they are desirable. Take Addams Family for example. Everyone loves that game. However, everyone has also played it and is very familiar with it. I don't understand investing in something I can play everywhere!
Look at my collection.

When I first started looking for a pin, I couldn't believe the high prices for them. But if you live in a pinball desert like me and have to drive 2 hours in any direction to even see a pinball machine that isn't owned by you, you take what you can get and you end up paying more simply due to lack of supply. I put up Craigslist want ads, checked eBay, asked around for any local leads, and went to the one local retail shop, and couldn't find anything less than $2500 for an EM. I got a JP as my first pin because it was the only one that I really remembered playing, and had to hunt it down across the country and have it shipped in. My mom did the same thing with her Addams. If we had local people and/or locations where we could play, or a plethora of pins to be able to try out and choose from, then our collection may look quite different.

But there are no cheap pins here, or any pins for that matter, and sometimes you have to pay more to get what you're familiar with or just buy the occasional pin that comes up for sale because there's not much else. I think there are quite a few people in my same situation, and if they have nothing else to compare different machines to, then they go with what they know. (Which honestly is usually Addams Family. Every newbie I invite over to my house talks about playing Addams at one point in their pinball memories, and always asks about it and wants to go to my mom's house to see hers.)

#32 4 years ago

I guess my main point is that new collectors shouldn't feel bad if all they can afford for now (or ever) is a few cheap pins, and they need help getting them working 100%. I think there's a perception that you gotta buy everything now, because it will be 20% more a few years from now. There's nothing at all wrong with overpaying for a pin, or buying NIB. But there's something special about the feeling of pride you get when you finally fix the last of several dozen problems, and your old game is playing even better than it did in the arcade. That's when it really becomes "yours".

#33 4 years ago
Quoted from swampfire:

I guess my main point is that

There's a pin for every budget.

If you love pinball you can join this hobby regardless of your paycheck (within reason of course). This is a great hobby for just about anyone.....not just "rich people".

#34 4 years ago
Quoted from charliebrown2417:

I bought them because I couldn't play them anywhere and they fit my interests. I constantly have people saying "Oh my gosh, you have a Bone Busters! That's awesome!" Or "Can I come over to play Hook?" Neither of those games are spectacular, but people don't see them often, so my collection is unique, and they both cost less than half of most top 100 games.

I'm like that too, and I sold TZ and WH2O for that reason. I'll admit that I sometimes look at the Pinside map for a game to see where the nearest other example is. If it's unique for my area (like "Hot Shots"), I'll grab it.

#35 4 years ago

Hello everyone. How are y'all doing? I'm called Asher and new to this site. I have a Cirqus Voltaire Pin Ball machine for sale at moderate price.

#36 4 years ago

Yeah that's the rumor anyway. Go up to the top of the page under the pinside name, clock "Market," and follow the instructions.

Quoted from edmundasher:

Hello everyone. How are y'all doing? I'm called Asher and new to this site. I have a Cirqus Voltaire Pin Ball machine for sale at moderate price.

#37 4 years ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

Yeah that's the rumor anyway. Go up to the top of the page under the pinside name, clock "Market," and follow the instructions.

Thanks very much

#38 4 years ago
Quoted from TaylorVA:

My most recent game cost me $75, and it works.

What did you get?

#39 4 years ago
Quoted from Captain_Kirk:

What did you get?

Nok Hockey.

#40 4 years ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

Yeah that's the rumor anyway. Go up to the top of the page under the pinside name, clock "Market," and follow the instructions.

Yeah....I think that may not be a real person. He need you to send him your account info in order to send you the $3000 CV in return.

#41 4 years ago
Quoted from kporter946286:

Yeah....I think that may not be a real person. He need you to send him your account info in order to send you the $3000 CV in return.

Hat damn. This is going to be a good week. Pretty sure that $2300 MB is still coming my way so I still have cash left over for this one!

#42 4 years ago
Quoted from charliebrown2417:

Another thing to point out-
Look at my collection.
I have 1 game in the top 100, and its pretty high up there. It's usually around the top 70-90. All of my other pins are unique. I bought them because I couldn't play them anywhere and they fit my interests. I constantly have people saying "Oh my gosh, you have a Bone Busters! That's awesome!" Or "Can I come over to play Hook?"
Neither of those games are spectacular, but people don't see them often, so my collection is unique, and they both cost less than half of most top 100 games.

I would have to disagree with you on Bone Busters. A friend of mine spent about 6 months restoring one. Being a EM guy, he knows that usually when I come over, I will go directly to his EMs and not even look at anything else he has new, but one day when I came over he insisted I try his restored BB. I honestly love the game and look forward to playing it when I go over to his house. Great game with a great ruleset that I don't think many people ever figured out.

#43 4 years ago
Quoted from swampfire:

My favorite game right now is a 1980 Skateball that I bought from a guy who was getting out of the hobby, for under $1000. Best layout ever - it has great flow and rewards good ball control. The art is kinda goofy and the sounds are out of place (sci-fi skate park??), but that's why it's such a great deal.

Just unloaded a working Skateball off my van. Picked it up for $500. Almost no playfield wear, very nice backglass and it works great. Yes, (whysnow) I bought a working Skateball so you can buy my project one next summer.

#44 4 years ago
Quoted from arcademojo:

Just unloaded a working Skateball off my van. Picked it up for $500. Almost no playfield wear, very nice backglass and it works great.

You did great! My playfield is a bit rough, so I could use a CPR repro eventually.

#45 4 years ago
Quoted from swampfire:

You did great! My playfield is a bit rough, so I could use a CPR repro eventually.

Funny thing is, the playfield looks like it was clear coated but they left the mylar around the pops on. Have to look at it more tomorrow.

#46 4 years ago
Quoted from Captain_Kirk:

What did you get?

Gay 90's, best EM made based on the 1890s. Woohoo.

#47 4 years ago
Quoted from TaylorVA:

Gay 90's, best EM made based on the 1890s. Woohoo.

I have never played Gay 90s, but it can't be any gayer than some of the other games from the 90s.

#48 4 years ago
Quoted from swampfire:

I'm like that too, and I sold TZ and WH2O for that reason. I'll admit that I sometimes look at the Pinside map for a game to see where the nearest other example is. If it's unique for my area (like "Hot Shots"), I'll grab it.

Is Hot Shots any good? There's been one for sale for awhile on CL and I have a weakness for cheesy Gottliebs. I played a Big House at Expo and thought it was pretty cool.

#49 4 years ago

I really like this post.

#50 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

I have never played Gay 90s, but it can't be any gayer than some of the other games from the 90s.

It's a great game and has some very cool features. $100 by Xmas.

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