Hello! Been lurking for a bit. I just returned to pinball after a twenty-year hiatus. Glad to be back.
I've never owned a pin, so I don't know the first thing about maintenance or restoration, but I've now got it in my head that I need to own at least one, and I'd like to begin with my all-time grail pin, The Addams Family.
If I were a rich guy, I'd just click over to one of those high-end restoration sites and shell out $11,500 for a perfect TAF. Thing is, that's more than a third of my annual income. I don't know. Perhaps I've got no business getting started in this hobby. Anyway, I've seen less-than-perfect TAFs advertised for $4,000. That's more my speed, but then of course I'd be faced with a fixer-upper. Which is fine, provided I can somehow learn how to do all the work necessary to bring the machine back to semi-pristine.
My questions for the Pinside FOGs are these:
Is my dream of owning an excellent example of The Addams Family without spending a mega fortune a plausible one? I don't mind spending what's required to get a machine with potential. I understand one usually gets what one pays for. It's just that I sure can't afford to overspend, you know? I need to somehow learn the difference.
So, how do I buy my first pin? I've been saving up, I've ordered a copy of Roger C. Sharpe's Pinball! on eBay -- which just arrived! And I've been using the search function to comb Pinside for TAF relevant topics. I'm also reading up at PAPA. What else could I be doing? How do I become a well-educated consumer so that I can buy the best example of TAF that I can afford?
From what I've gathered in my very short time here, price depends much upon the condition of the playfield and cabinet. Damage to the PF, be it magnet burn or wear is not easily fixed, right? I mean, can it be fixed? Once I start looking, should I simply ignore machines with significant PF damage? Is the condition of the playfield the number one concern when shopping for a pin? I've noticed that NOS or reproduction playfields are not easy to come by, not to mention super spendy -- there's a few TAF playfields on eBay right now for $1,800-$2,300. Here's a question, if I want a truly beautiful TAF, would it be nuts to take the whole of my funds currently earmarked for a TAF and dump it into one of those TAF playfields and then build the pin from scratch from the PF out? Is that insane? Could a guy with zero experience even pull off such a thing? Am I thinking about this all wrong?
I know it's a lot of questions, but I'm obsessed! Any guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks so much in advance. And Happy Holidays.