(Topic ID: 251885)

Standardized pinball grading system

By Daditude

4 years ago


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    -4
    #1 4 years ago

    I have gone through many hobbies and collections in my life. In fact, my wife says that I "collect collections."

    Pinball is my main hobby/collection now, and it has always bothered me that this hobby has no standardized grading system...which is odd, because almost every other hobby/collectible item DOES have some sort of grading system.

    I propose that we on pinside (as the pre-eminent pinball community) attempt to make one. Please comment with any ideas, phrases, wording, or other suggestions that are applicable. I would love for us, as a community, to be able to simplify and standardize a grading system in this hobby we all enjoy.

    Here is my proposal for basic and simple standardized grading system:

    10 - New or Mint pinball. new in box, old in box, or restored pinball (full original status which includes all new parts and pieces or ones that have been cleaned to the point of appearing like new)

    9 - Like new or near mint pinball. Single owner game with low plays or mostly restored game (Like new game with very minor flaws)

    8 - Excellent used condition pinball. Used but 100% working and clean. Will show some wear, but it is very light.

    7 - Fine used condition pinball. Used but mostly working and clean. It may need small tweaks to get to 100% working and/or clean. Light wear.

    6 - Very good used condition - Used and mostly working. Will need some items to get it to 100%. May need a light cleaning. Noticeable wear, but still worthy.

    5 - Good used condition - Used and mostly working, but showing moderate wear. Might be missing a couple of items or need very minor repairs that don't effect gameplay. Needs cleaning.

    4 - Players condition used game - Used and working to the point of being playable, but needs obvious fixes. Might be missing a few items or in need of repairs, but it is still functional. Needs cleaning, repairs, and touch ups. Moderate to heavy wear.

    3 - Non-working game - Used and not working. It needs immediate attention to repairs to be functional. Will need cleaning and touch ups. Moderate to heavy wear.

    2 - Project game - Used and not working. In need of multiple repairs and/or replacement of missing parts. Likely has several broken/cracked parts. Needs a deep cleaning and touch ups. Heavy wear in areas.

    1 - Complete project game - Used and not working. Missing major parts and in need of major repairs. Many broken and cracked pieces. In need of major cleaning and touch ups. Heavy wear.

    #2 4 years ago

    I think you would need grading of various elements as your proposed system does not account for such. Each variable may or may not be important to a given buyer when determining overall value:

    - Cabinet/backbox condition
    - Playfield condition
    - Mechanical/electrical condition
    - Add-ons/mods

    -1
    #5 4 years ago

    Each/rank number is full of terms; and they are the problem because no one can agree on them.

    Just take your definition of "restored" and get most people to agree with it. That should keep you busy for a few years

    #6 4 years ago
    Quoted from Mr_Tantrum:

    I think you would need grading of various elements

    A similar system was proposed by prominent game traders in a seminar at Pinball Expo around 1991 or so. There were to be four independent scales of 1-10, which makes it sound like the way people describe their games informally (e.g., "the backglass is a 9, but the playfield is a 6").

    As a buyer, whose grading would you trust? I think that has been the real inhibition to such grading schemes.
    .................David Marston

    #7 4 years ago

    Seriously, let it go. If you want to do something constructive go after idiots who started using nob or huo for the past x number of years but was routed before that. Can't we just skip grades and acronyms and post some god damn pictures.

    #8 4 years ago

    This is a really bad idea that would never work.

    Feel free to rank your games from 1-10 but expecting the rest of us to do it is ridiculous.

    #9 4 years ago
    Quoted from dmarston:

    As a buyer, whose grading would you trust?

    Obviously we need a pinball grading company. Somewhere you can send your machine, have it professionally assessed and then encased in an 18-cubic foot block of lucite with a fancy plaque on top declaring your machine's grade.

    Until then, we should just do as we do now and describe everything as HUO.

    #10 4 years ago

    Definitely need a new category called "overpriced and beat to shit".

    #11 4 years ago

    No chance of this working...

    #12 4 years ago

    your system would never work. Too many variables like how would you rate a mostly working machine? 1 bulb out? 1 rubber missing? The list goes on and on. Trust me you are not the first one to come up with this idea.

    #13 4 years ago

    Too complicated....
    Stock restoration with Stock/NOS parts

    Unrestored Original

    Restored with repop parts

    Restored/modified with custom/repop parts.

    The list goes on and on and then you have to grade each one. Very few of us are serious enough collectors that we ONLY will accept 100% original or nothing. The list could go on and on with issues why a standard grading system is not practical.

    Best you can really do is grade on a 1-5 or 1-10 scale but that can only be a guide as each game has different issues/mods etc. that can affect value +/- as an owner or buyer feels about a particular game. Just not practical.

    #14 4 years ago

    It's some OCD shit right here thinking this is something we need just cause "literally all other hobbies do it!"

    But I also like the idea of just one OCD guy doing it, regardless of what everybody else thinks.

    #15 4 years ago

    You lost me at "mint".

    #16 4 years ago
    Quoted from RustyLizard:

    You lost me at "mint".

    I can't even remember if leaving off "minty" is good or bad anymore!

    #17 4 years ago
    Quoted from dmarston:

    A similar system was proposed by prominent game traders in a seminar at Pinball Expo around 1991 or so. There were to be four independent scales of 1-10, which makes it sound like the way people describe their games informally (e.g., "the backglass is a 9, but the playfield is a 6").
    As a buyer, whose grading would you trust? I think that has been the real inhibition to such grading schemes.
    .................David Marston

    Well, the main issue I see as others have expressed is self-grading. For most serious hobbies that include things of value (coins, stamps, cars, etc.) an independent credentialed third party is the one that does the grading.

    #18 4 years ago

    Whatever grading system is ever settled on, the absolute top condition grade should be called "Imamaculate".

    #19 4 years ago

    I agree that a general grading system is a good idea. Pinside has already added several more options when selling a game on here to pick from.
    If definitions exists; there should be a link next to the drop-down to guide people to an accurate selection for their game.
    If there are attributes to their game that don't fit exactly the condition selection, they can list things in the description like: new backglass, plastics or whatever.

    #20 4 years ago

    The one major problem with this is that there is no real value in "unrestored originals" yet (like with classic cargument). Give it a few more years and there could be.

    Plus, a restored TZ done by HEP, one you did yourself, and a HUO one in amazing condition are all worth different prices even though those 3 examples may all be "10's", that system is NO WHERE NEAR specific enough to work.

    I suggest to use letters and numbers for your "system". Some examples could be:

    10NIB - new in box
    10HEP - C.H. restoration
    10PR - personal restoration
    10HUO - original Home use only with only NOS or original parts
    .....
    2HUO - one a frat house bought in 1989 and it's still there... you see how this works?
    .....

    Bam, your system is all ready to use now.

    Just don't expect anyone at all to ever use it. Not being mean, just know that if we needed a system like this, it would already exist.

    Confusing words like "shopped" and "remanufactured" really make this task impossible because, as stated earlier, they mean something different to EVERYONE.

    Technology and HD photographs have actually pushed things in a great direction. With pinball collectors, when selling a game BUT without pictures, your "10" is actually an unsellable "0". Clear, well done pics are way more important than a description or system that uses words that mean different things to everyone.

    Also, how long have you been collecting? A lot of members on here have been doing this for 30+ years. Just curious. This is not a new discussion, been happening for years.

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