(Topic ID: 183571)

The Best Pinball Buy I Have Ever Found/Had


By Mikespinball

2 years ago



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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by northerndude
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There are 57 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 2 years ago

I love a good story of when someone gets a great deal/find on a pinball machine(s) and share their story with us. My best story/find happen to me just this last week and I would like to share with you. I have been avidly collecting pinball machines since 2004. I mainly collect SS machines and usually keep the 90's Bally/Williams titles.
Here is my latest pinball quest: In 2010 I sold Joe (not his real name) a Williams Hurricane for $1500. He got the spark on loving/playing pinball after this sale. Shortly soon after this purchase, he located in Oregon and bought a Bally Theatre of Magic for around $4200. Fast forward to about 2015 he called me up and wanted to sell the machines. He no-longer wanted them and was looking to sell. At the time he called I did not have the cash to purchase them and he did want about what he paid for them, I passed on the buy, but still had his number from when I originally sold the Hurricane to him.
The last few months I have been saving some $ up for another title or two and just sold an X-Files. I remembered Joe and I decided to call him up and see if he still had the two machines. To my supersize he still did and wanted to still sell them. He asked me whats there value worth? I told him I was unsure as I would have to research them. He then said, tell you what, I'm' going to make you a deal. Take them both for $3500. I was a bit shocked, but said OK, let me make some arraignments and I will get back to you.
This call happened on Tuesday March 7th 2017 and I was booked out the rest of the week and was unable to pick them up until Saturday the 11th. Shortly after I hung up with Joe, my work that was scheduled for the next day, moved to the following week. You can guess what happened next, I changed from Saturday to Wednesday the 8th. Called Joe up and he was great with that.
I did research prices on both machines and found out their combined value was worth a lot more then the price offered. I talked to the wife later that night about what I was going to do the next day and the price offered. Was this bad karma to take his price offered? He did offer the $3500 price and was wanting to get rid of them, so I was doing him a favor, so I think. Anyhow I was going to make them a new home.
I traveled the next day 1-1/2 hours to his place and picked them up. Attached are some pictures of the process when I was unloading them into the garage. They are both in my game room now and look forward to playing them in the near future with my buds.

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#2 2 years ago

I responded to a "FREE PINBALL MACHINE" ad on Craigslist four months ago. Turned out to be a very nice Comet.

#3 2 years ago

"Every pinball machine tells a story, and sometimes is long remembered even after a title has passed onto another collector."

- TBK

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#4 2 years ago

I was working and my coworker called me and said a client had a pinball machine forsale and it was sitting in the garage collecting dust. The person wants 1k for it. He tells me the name,FunHouse. Told him I'll be there in 1 he. I offered him 850.he took it!

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#6 2 years ago

Got my Gorgar for free. Friend of a friend said "I got this pinball machine in my basement, and it doesn't work. My mom is sick of looking at it. You want it Max? It's yours if you can haul it out of the basement."

The game just needed a new 40 pin connector, and it was good to go.

#7 2 years ago

I had many gppd buys years back, but one that stands out is when I replied back
from a Pennysaver wanted ad that I had put out. The grounds keeper from Sampson
State Park, which was an Army Base in the 40s, then Air Force in the 50s said there
were machines stored in one of the buildings for years. When I arrived, I asked how
much. He said $150.00 takes them all. I said how about $100.00 He said they're
yours. There was a 14' United small ball bowler. A 1957 ABC Bally Puck Bowler (not
the red/yellow checker board one, but the much rarer green one with the girl on the
backglass), a 1955 United Derby Roll, and a couple other machines from the 50s
along with 2 round pool tables. No pockets, just maybe 8' diameter. Them I gave
away to a Friend. I believe the Air Force Base left there in the late 50s. These
machines were in really nice shape. I still have the Bally puck bowler and the
United Ball Bowler which is in my local Community Center. That machine came
with a Soldiers letter in it (stamped 1949) and in the letter are picture negatives.
I put a note in a zip bag along with the letter telling the story where the bowler
(along with the letter) came from asking to always keep the letter with the bowler.. (T)

#8 2 years ago

About 5 years ago, I bought an Apollo 13 off of a guy who had won it in a contest. It powered up, but did not play correctly. I had never owned such a "new" machine before, but decided to take the plunge, thinking I could fix it. He was asking for $1200 and took $900.
I spent about an hour getting acclimated to the amount of wiring it had, when I noticed one wire on the underside of the play field had come off. Fired up the soldering iron and 5 minutes later, it was working perfectly.

Regrettably, due to a divorce, I have since sold it (for $2200). Had I had the foresight to know that all pin prices were on their way up - way up, I would have fought harder to keep it.

#9 2 years ago
Quoted from Jefski2003:

The person wants 1k for it. I offered him 850.he took it!

It's one thing to pay a seller his very low asking price (some people don't agree and actually pay a premium to be nice) like mentioned above, but it's another to offer a lower price on such an already insanely low price for that machine Nice find though

#10 2 years ago

The person didn't know what he had.it was buried in his garage. Either way,that will only be my best deal every

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#11 2 years ago

don't you feel scummy for ripping these people off?

#12 2 years ago
Quoted from weaverj:

don't you feel scummy for ripping these people off?

I have a specific feeling that I wanted to share in response to this post.

In terms of the "good buys/deals" that I have been apart of, I don't feel any moral obligation if I am giving the seller their asking price. Here are my reasons why:

1. When I go to buy a pin that is a good deal, I don't really do too much inspection. I pay the money, load it up and take it home. I love to restore games (even more than playing them) so for me, find a pin that's not 100% is more fun for me anyway. I've been upside down as many times as I have been right side up when it comes to repairing pins back their former glory. I'm lucky if I can even break even after buying parts/services after repair.

2. I'm giving the seller what they want. In the case above where I got a free pin, I offered the guy $100 sight unseen. He just told me "If you come pick it up tonight, it's yours for free." Why should I argue with what the sellers wants for a pin?

Please note that #2 can be taken a different direction, which would bother me. I have heard of buyers talk people down further on a deal, or make some bogus claims about something "broken" that is really not broken. This is something I don't do.

For all of us in the hobby, it's important to note that there is a line of ethics. That line may differ from person to person or deal to deal. However, if you take the same life lessons you use outside of the hobby and apply them here, you should sleep very soundly with your decisions.

#13 2 years ago
Quoted from weaverj:

don't you feel scummy for ripping these people off?

True. I always cringe when I read posts of people bragging about getting an amazing deal. It also means someone was fleeced. I guess someone can't help getting a good deal when it's presented but to boast about it?

#14 2 years ago

None. I've overpaid for every one of my machines because I'm a sucker with too much money. I guess I got a NIB Hobbit Smaug for $7900 but that's the best I've done.

#15 2 years ago

not saying i wouldn't. totally the pot calling the kettle black.

#16 2 years ago

and i'll agree about the end result. sometimes you'll have to put $500 into a game, still only get a players price and be lucky to make your gas money back. don't forgot your time, too. travel time; labor. it all adds up.

see, i can talk myself to sleep .

#17 2 years ago

yeah, my thought is this:

1. People get upset when others get a good deal.

2. People get upset when a restored pin is priced too high.

I don't do this for a living, but that's why I do know many people who do restorations don't share any financial information. Too many armchair opinions.

EDIT: I will say that there is a tiny percentage of the hobby's population who attempt to take advantage of people. Those people can go away.

#18 2 years ago

Never has happened to me , I'm sure that's partially to getting in 4 years ago , and the sparse population of my area.

-9
#19 2 years ago

(Moderator removed racial verb) people down only to flip is very poor taste, which I know guys that have..
Low funded and personal use, well...
I sold many machines to people I know for much less than I had into them..

#20 2 years ago

About 10 years ago I had a mint IJ walk in my business for $500. Needed a good cleaning and new rubber rings. Sat in a dark bar all it's life, no wear no fade.

Operator that owned it got tired of it in his shop. Nine months his techs worked on it and couldn't fix the constant multiball problem. So he told the one tech to haul it over to me and see if I wanted it. I said sure. Paid him. He helped bring it in and set it up. I took the glass off and unbent the wiring under the front right switch on the path of adventure and played a game on it. Worked perfect.

He looked at me and screamed F' you at me. I thanked him, and mentioned all he had to do was call me and I'd have helped him.

LTG : )

#21 2 years ago

I am in the middle of my best deal since I have been in the hobby. About 4 (or maybe 5) years ago I was looking for a Space Shuttle and I found one that was a little rough but decent as part of a "package deal". Anyway - I emailed the guy and after several weeks of trying we finally got together at a storage unit near his dads place (he was in the military at the time and always on the go). I looked the machines over said "they look a little better than what I was expecting" and handed him an extra $150 (which ended up being the "best money I ever spent).

4 years later - this past October I get a phone message from the guy "are you still looking for pinball machines my uncle is ready to sell off his stuff and has two warehouses full & with the way you treated me before you are the only one I trust to deal with on these". I got back to him and after several weeks finally was able to hook up with him for the first load from the one warehouse back in December. At that point he said "don't worry the rest are yours but it is going to take some time to get everything worked out". Now I am waiting till June for the next chance to get together with him to finalize the deal on everything else. He lives 700 miles from the machines & his uncle so he can only fly in when school is not in session - so I am still waiting.

Some of you might have seen all the drama I caused talking about this around Christmas. I though I would have most of the stuff picked up over the Holidays, or right after the first of the New Year, but I got sick and by the time I was OK he was back to teaching. So now it is a waiting game to get the rest of those machines - 60+ pinball, a truck load of earlier SS arcades, some Jukeboxes and what appears to be tons of parts. The waiting is killing me!!!

#22 2 years ago

ive gotten some alright deals but not in a year or two

my best was a non working skateball for 100. but nothing ever pops up on craigslist anymore and if it does its gone before I can get to it.

#23 2 years ago

I've gotten some good deals. But the best one was a free fish tales I got about 4 years ago.

#24 2 years ago
Quoted from comment23:

yeah, my thought is this:
1. People get upset when others get a good deal.
2. People get upset when a restored pin is priced too high.
I don't do this for a living, but that's why I do know many people who do restorations don't share any financial information. Too many armchair opinions.
EDIT: I will say that there is a tiny percentage of the hobby's population who attempt to take advantage of people. Those people can go away.

Also, in this day and age with fast internet connections all over the place doing some quick research on that "old broken piece of junk in the basement" before putting up an "i have a pinball i need gone" ad isnt too much of a hassle, so if the seller is lazy enough not to even check what its worth why should anyone pass up a free pinball? *shrugs*

#25 2 years ago
Quoted from Mopar:

Jewin' people down only to flip ...

That's an offensive expression. Moderator?

#26 2 years ago
Quoted from oPinsesame:

That's an offensive expression. Moderator?

Here we go again.

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#27 2 years ago
Quoted from oPinsesame:

That's an offensive expression. Moderator?

Lets find out......

#28 2 years ago

I'm quite honest, and I somehow retain all of the knowledge about machine costs in my head. You'd think that would haunt me, but... Here's a couple:

- Got an email from someone who had a game that needed fixing. I was out of a job at the time, so I offered to come out and take a look at it. Got there, it was an incredibly mint TZ. At the time - about 7 years ago - they were selling for $4-$7k. The person asked me what it was worth, and I told him that it would probably sell between $4 and $7k when all was said and done, lower would sell faster, higher would sell slower, but it would need the few things wrong with it fixed. It needed to be shopped, had a couple opto issues, had one cracked plastic, the sound was out and the DMD was acting a bit flakey. He asked me what it would be worst case to fix it. I did some math and came up with what I thought was fair for everything in worst case, making it clear that it probably wouldn't be near any of this price. I think my total was about $2000 of "worst case" price, and I told him I expected it could all be done for 25% of that.

He said all right, well, low end is $4000, and you might have to spend $2000 on it, how about instead of you repairing it, I sell it to you for $2000, you take the risk on it, and sell it when it's done?

I reminded him that it would probably only take $500 in parts to fix it and he could probably get more than the $4000 for it, and he said that then it would be a good deal for me. I told him sure, but I didn't have the money on me. He offered to deliver it to my house for me (about 30 minutes away) and get the money in a couple days. He did.

I didn't shop it, but managed to fix the sound and DMD with about 30 minutes of work. Ended up selling it a few months later because it's not a game for me, and make considerable money on it. Helped get me through that time.

- Went to an auction back when they used to have those regularly, and they had three machines folded up. I was instantly interested in the SMBMW for the MGC. Plugged it in with a friend's extension cord just hoping it would boot, and it did. Figured it would need a lot of work, but since they were so rare was willing to pay a decent amount for it.

Auction got over there. Auctioneer said that the machines all worked, they just didn't have legs. People laughed. Of course they did, because auctioneers never lie about condition of the machines.

I won SMBMW for $425 after all fees. Got it home, set it up - lo and behold, it worked just fine. The other two games I found out from their buyers also worked, and were also sold WAY cheaper than what they should have been. Never actually been told the truth by an auctioneer before! (It made up for some of my other experiences )

-1
#29 2 years ago
Quoted from oPinsesame:

That's an offensive expression. Moderator?

I knew that there would be at least one
.

-2
#30 2 years ago

You Florida guys. That is all.

#31 2 years ago
Quoted from vicjw66:

You Florida guys. That is all.

Did I just hear the "PC Police"?

#33 2 years ago
Quoted from vicjw66:

You Florida guys. That is all.

Hey, I'm offended by that geographical stereotyping ! Lol.

#34 2 years ago
Quoted from oPinsesame:

That's an offensive expression. Moderator?

Quoted from Mopar:

Lets find out......

In my area, it is about as common as using the term "gypped", although some people seem to think it has morphed into "chewed down" instead, since it's more palatable and people might not even realize the actual origin or spelling of the term.

The PC police may not like it just like anything else that has origins that are a bit off-color, but in my personal experience, it's not something that people seem to *truly* get offended by (at least, not in my geographical area). Most people don't even realize that they are being offensive or meaning offend.

But I realize that not everyone will be as tolerant of term enough to let it slide, so I would suggest to the OP that he might want to think about editing it if it's causing problems.

If you have any further questions/comments, please open a moderator feedback thread and don't derail this thread, which has otherwise been perfectly enjoyable for most people to participate in.

#35 2 years ago
Quoted from seeburg220:

Hey, I'm offended by that geographical stereotyping ! Lol.

There is a popular radio bit they do on one of the L.A. Stations called Florida/Not Florida where they read a crazy yet true news story. The caller has to guess if it took place in Florida or not. It's pretty funny... and scary.

#36 2 years ago

Went on the road for an illegal exploited Maverick in a bar.
Got there and the giant dispay didn't work.
The guy was clearly honest about the sudden dmd issue and could not believe his bad luck.
He had to get rid of it,cause he was in big trouble over it.
They caught him exploiting it illegally.
I was quite disappointed as these large dmd's are super expensive...
Offered him 450 euro as being parts.
Came home with Maverick,turned it on and the display popped on and was in very good condition?!
Never understood what happened there that day...
It worked eversince it was in my home?
Lost my ass on at least 10 other pinballs,but this one made up for them

#37 2 years ago
Quoted from pinballrockstar:

Lost my ass on at least 10 other pinballs,but this one made up for them

Well, I'm glad you found your ass with that one. Some people can't do that with both hands

#38 2 years ago

My $200 Future Spa. Needs a new backglass but it's in good shape otherwise.

#39 2 years ago

A man called me one afternoon and said he found 6 pinball machines in an old barn on a property he just purchased.
He asked if I wanted to buy them and described them as best he could as being dirty and looked old.

I said no, but maybe put an add in the paper or on craigslist.

He was polite and said ok.

The next morning he came to my shop with a horse trailer fill of pinball machines.
He proceeded to unload them in front of my shop.
I told them that I didnt really want them but he insisted I take them for free as he needed to clean up the property and empty the barn. So, I said ok.

2 firepower II
1 bally playboy
1 silverball mania
1 comet
1 gorgar

They were surprisingly in good condition and mostly complete with undamaged backglasses.

I ended up keeping the playboy and silverball mania and sold the others cheap to beginners who wanted to fix them up.

#40 2 years ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

In my area, it is about as common as using the term "gypped", although some people seem to think it has morphed into "chewed down" instead, since it's more palatable and people might not even realize the actual origin or spelling of the term.
The PC police may not like it just like anything else that has origins that are a bit off-color, but in my personal experience, it's not something that people seem to *truly* get offended by (at least, not in my geographical area). Most people don't even realize that they are being offensive or meaning offend.
But I realize that not everyone will be as tolerant of term enough to let it slide, so I would suggest to the OP that he might want to think about editing it if it's causing problems.
If you have any further questions/comments, please open a moderator feedback thread and don't derail this thread, which has otherwise been perfectly enjoyable for most people to participate in.

Update: after further discussion among the mod team we came to the conclusion using the term in question was not something we wanted on the site. We recognize it is commonly used in many locations and is often not designed to offend, but there are other words that can be used to describe the same type of conduct so we are not going to allowed Jewed or Jewwin on this site.

Any further discussion on this subject needs to be in a mod feedback thread. Thank you.

#41 2 years ago
Quoted from TigerLaw:

Update: after further discussion among the mod team we came to the conclusion using the term in question was not something we wanted on the site.

And yet the term remains visible in the post....

#42 2 years ago
Quoted from vicjw66:

There is a popular radio bit they do on one of the L.A. Stations called Florida/Not Florida where they read a crazy yet true news story. The caller has to guess if it took place in Florida or not. It's pretty funny... and scary.

I'd like to hear it ! I've only lived in FL for 9 months, and so far, the biggest drawback I have experienced: horrible drivers - the worst I have ever encountered. I drove through 24 states last year, and FL takes the cake for bad driving. No turn signals - ever. Shoot across 4 lanes without looking (old men usually). Hog the left lane on the Interstate - always (women mostly). I-75 has at least one wreck on it, every time I've been on it. Left foot out the window, kicked back on the cell phone, doing 55 in a 70. Parking lots are just as bad: driving the wrong direction on a 1-way aisle. Leave your shopping cart next to your car, so the next person can't use the space, or have it ding the car next to it. They make D.C. drivers look really good, and that's scary. Pure laziness here. Slackers.

#43 2 years ago
Quoted from vicjw66:

You Florida guys. That is all.

Coming from a guy in San Pedro, is this city even in the US.

#44 2 years ago
Quoted from SirScott:

And yet the term remains visible in the post....

Used for education of others on what's not allowed. Last warning, no more comments about this at all except in mod feedback threads.

#45 2 years ago

One of my best buys was actually a freebie also. I met a retired operator that had a few games for sale. Bought a few at really good prices. He then told me he had a huge barn full of games. Mix of vids, pins and jukeboxes. There was several hundred old games covered in dust. Two floors of them. We walked through and he started marking games with an X with his finger in the dust. When we got done with the walk through he turned to me and said I could have every game with an X. I showed up in my mini van the next day and started loading games. After a couple days he asked for my address and started delivering them to me in his box truck. Filled up my 20 x 40 garage, two storage units and every spare room in my house including the entire basement. When the barn was done he then told me he had another storage building with games in it. We then filled up my grandfathers 40 x 40 garage and my cousins garage. I started putting skids on the ground and stored empty video cabinets under tarps. I had junked jukeboxes lined up in rows from one end of the yard to the other covered in tarps.

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#46 2 years ago

I bought a Joker Poker SS from a guy 160 miles away. He delivered it to me for $175. I put a couple bux and a few hours into it and operated it for 20 months. Took in $1136 in coin drop and sold the game to a gal who had to have it for $1500. And I got to keep the spare backglass (7/10).

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#47 2 years ago
Quoted from SadSack:

I bought a Joker Poker SS from a guy 160 miles away. He delivered it to me for $175. I put a couple bux and a few hours into it and operated it for 20 months. Took in $1136 in coin drop and sold the game to a gal who had to have it for $1500. And I got to keep the spare backglass (7/10).

Now that's what I call the "slow" flip.

#48 2 years ago
Quoted from arcademojo:

Now that's what I call the "slow" flip.

Playing the long game.

#49 2 years ago

I have had several but this one stands out. When I first started in the hobby I found a Power Play about 3 hrs from me on CL. I think the guy was asking around $400. I had contacted him with some interest and told him to make an offer in would need to see it. Before I even left he started coming down on his price. Aso I was getting ready to pull out he dropped the price again. I think about an hour into my trip it was already down to 250 and he asked if I was on the way I told him I was. I finally find him and he asks me to come in a take a look at the game. He says someone else wants it but is being very rude and almost threatening in there response to him. So as I'm looking it over cab okay check, backglass good check, playfeild looks like it will clean up. Doesn't come on will need a MPU and some other things. I didn't even get a chance to make an offer and he says give me $140 and it's yours I want to sell it before the other guy shows up. I buy it he helps me load it and I still have it. Of course it's working now

#50 2 years ago

My first pin.. Bally Embryon, $300 not working in nice shape. Read Clay's guide, replaced bridge rectifier, put in an acid damage repair kit on the MPU, and installed a memory capacitor. Still working fine. Never had done any board work before. Hell of a buy.

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