(Topic ID: 40063)

Theory on why pinball prices have risen


By BradLinden

6 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 130 posts
  • 81 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 years ago by OrochiLeona
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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Topic poll

“My PRIMARY influence in pre-ordering WOZ was...”

  • Investment/Value related 39 votes
    35%
  • Fun/Pinball related 74 votes
    65%

(113 votes by 0 Pinsiders)

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There are 130 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
#1 6 years ago

I had a thought the other day about a potentially big influence on the recent rises in pinball prices (especially NIB games).

A few years ago, after plenty of delays and doubts, Big Bang Bar remakes were delivered. If I remember right, prices on those games immediately skyrocketed and some who took the risk of pre-ordering a game were able to sell their games at double what they paid. As this happened, there were a lot of people kicking themselves for not ordering a BBB in the first place.

Fast forward a few years, and Jack announces that he is starting a new pinball company and making a game. Delivery schedule is tentative, but he's got big dreams and is taking pre-orders. Consciously or not, I think a lot of people had BBB flashbacks with that announcement, and were not going to miss this chance at getting a rare and highly valuable machine. Of course peoples' rapport with Jack and desire for something new were big factors, but I think the "BBB Factor" probably made it way easier to put forward a lot of money on a potential risk.

With so many people learning their lesson from missing BBB, Jack gets plenty of pre-orders. Meanwhile, Stern sees what people are willing to pay for machines, and they up their prices also. And this chain influences the used market prices also.

I'm not suggesting that the economy, growth of the pinball market, greed, etc. aren't factors, but I wonder if BBB is a subtle yet powerful influence here. I guess one way to gauge this would be to survey WOZ "owners" on whether their main motivation to buy was Investment or pure interest in owning the game itself. [feel free to vote in the poll if you are a WOZ owner]

12
#2 6 years ago

Its amazing to me what Stern is charging for games. Operators won't touch them, collectors only want the LE stuff. It drives me nuts that they are 7k average. Please just build one machine and not a ton of different versions of one game. Find a middle ground on price and move on. I personally think that the hobby has gotten out of control, prices are crazy and people are greedy. Now, I would be a hypocrite if I didn't say that I have taken advantage of the current market and made money with pins, at the same time I am a collector at heart and use any profit to fund my own collection. The price bubble has to burst at some point, that my two cents. I mean come on, a MM is the price of a vehicle now days, how does that make any sense? These are just toys we have, its just crazy the amount of money we spend on them.

#3 6 years ago

It costs more for the boatride back from China?

#4 6 years ago

I think it's a mix of factors. Mainly:
-The BBB factor / perceived potential scarcity
-Potential high Return On Investment
-Growth of the market for DMD pins - people who grew up with the 90s games now have our big-kid jobs and can afford them in the first place
-Visibility of Pinball; the new Sterns are leading to pins showing up in places they wouldn't have 10 years ago (but would have 20 years ago.) Call it a new pin renaissance (despite Stern's poor quality.) in part due to the fact that locations can have these games brand new.
-Improvements in the economy

#5 6 years ago

No. I disagree. BBB was speculated on at the death of a company, not the birth. We Knew there would be no more. The reason prices have risen is very simple. More collectors. Same amount of classic machines. It would have been nice if stern had just made more machines and kept the price point low. I played 7 or 8 sterns at the Game Exchange yesterday and i cannot believe anyone shells out the kind of dough they do for these things. they are downright barren! Now. the LE models are getting close. but they should just be what every model is released as.

#6 6 years ago
Quoted from Collin:

people who grew up with the 90s games now have our big-kid jobs and can afford them in the first place

Bingo!

#7 6 years ago

This is the more pleasant version of the "When the f@#k are these prices going to stop rising" thread.

#8 6 years ago

Recently someone here suggested that the NIB "LE" market would saturate soon. It's a plausible theory. Even with recent growth in the hobby, there are only so many pinball collectors out there. There is going to be a point at which people have their limit of >7K pins. I'm curious to see where that will be. It will be raining pins when it happens. Probably the ones with unfinished or sub-par code will be first. To offer an anecdote, I have already seen 2 different TFLE combos go for 4,700.00 in the last few months.

I don't feel as confident about the lowering price of 90's A list B/W pins coming down. They are hard to come by should hold their value (even if inflated) longer.

#9 6 years ago

I talked about it again on the latest episode of The Pinball Podcast (shameless plug alert!), and I think there are probably more factors than we can really see. I'm no economist, but I might come back and recap what I said there. I'm not expecting anybody to look through a 2 hour episode to find that right now.

#10 6 years ago
Quoted from Anim8ormatt:

More collectors. Same amount of classing machines.

It really is as simple as that.

#11 6 years ago

That's one of 2 dozen theories, it's fun to think about why and how this "bubble" is happening but after reading about it and talking about it for 3 years I have had just about my fill.

Popcorn ready to watch rest of thread unfold.

#12 6 years ago
Quoted from Nevus:

Recently someone here suggested that the NIB "LE" market would saturate soon. It's a plausible theory. Even with recent growth in the hobby, there are only so many pinball collectors out there. There is going to be a point at which people have their limit of >7K pins. I'm curious to see where that will be. It will be raining pins when it happens. Probably the ones with unfinished or sub-par code will be first. To offer an anecdote, I have already seen 2 different TFLE combos go for 4,700.00 in the last few months.
I don't feel as confident about the lowering price of 90's A list B/W pins coming down. They are hard to come by should hold their value (even if inflated) longer.

Well put. I've thought this too. Mainly your point about saturating the NIB market. It will be interesting to see if and when this happens.

#13 6 years ago

I think even though there are more collectors, I think the buying pool has actually gone down with the economy a bit. The problem is, those who can still buy, are willing to pay more, which is driving up cost.

I talked to a lot of people about it. There are much fewer listings than there was before, because people are worried that they won't be able to buy it back 2-3 years from now if they want to. As a result, there are less machines on the market, and because people aren't listing, they're not adding to their "pin funds." It's just people who can add a machine to their collection because they have enough cash already to do so that are buying. Lower supply mixed with people willing to pay more will always lead to higher prices.

There's no such thing as a bubble that doesn't shrink, however. In pinball, the inflation and shrinking might seem lopsided toward the inflation side, but as with all things, there will be a correction in pricing if more and more people get squeezed out of the buying pool. I'm out. To get my Tron I had to sell one of my all time top 3 games. I don't have the cash on hand like I used to. The economy dictated that.

There are a lot of older collectors who are deeper into their careers, or retired, who aren't raising kids anymore and they have plenty of disposable income to sink into pins. I think they're the biggest driver in price inflation right now. Eventually their limits will get pushed though, and things will have to reach a stabilization point.

Edit: one more thing. There's very few project machines being sold anymore. There's too much money to be made by fixing them up yourself before selling them. A lot of the great deals disappeared along with the project listings.

-16
#14 6 years ago

Bottom line people who play pinball aren't very bright, sorry but someone had to say it. The only machined part in a game is the coil plunger the rest is stamped steel. Copper wire, wood and labor and "pinheads" pump thousands out of there bank accounts to buy them.

#15 6 years ago
Quoted from chas010:

Bottom line people who play pinball aren't very bright, sorry but someone had to say it.

And you are???

Quoted from chas010:

The only machined part in a game is the coil plunger the rest is stamped steel.

Now I have to question whether you've ever even seen one before.

Quoted from chas010:

Copper wire, wood and labor and "pinheads" pump thousands out of there bank accounts to buy them.

Sounding a little green to me. The envious kind.

#16 6 years ago
Quoted from chas010:

Bottom line people who play pinball aren't very bright, sorry but someone had to say it. The only machined part in a game is the coil plunger the rest is stamped steel. Copper wire, wood and labor and "pinheads" pump thousands out of there bank accounts to buy them.

Yeah...you're right. There's absolutely no work that goes into designing the layout, creating the art, developing the rule set, engineering the mechanisms, laying out how all the coils and wiring harnesses will fit onto the playfield, creating the music, recording the call outs, and assembling the machine. These things should cost no more than $100 new in the box.

#17 6 years ago
Quoted from chas010:

Bottom line people who play pinball aren't very bright, sorry but someone had to say it. The only machined part in a game is the coil plunger the rest is stamped steel. Copper wire, wood and labor and "pinheads" pump thousands out of there bank accounts to buy them.

Basic $hithead mentallity- what do you spend your coin on Willis?

#18 6 years ago

Bottom line people who play pinball aren't very bright, sorry but someone had to say it. The only machined part in a game is the coil plunger the rest is stamped steel. Copper wire, wood and labor and "pinheads" pump thousands out of there bank accounts to buy them.

fry_troll.png

#19 6 years ago

Trolls!!!!!!

#20 6 years ago

I'm new to the hobby, recently 'retired', and get to rediscover the childhood magic of pins/vids. It doesn't hurt that my wife just realized that she loves pinball, too. She wanted a WOZ, so we're getting a WOZ. (win win)

#21 6 years ago
Quoted from chas010:

The only machined part in a game is the coil plunger

I'd be surprised if this is true. The coil plunger doesn't have to be that precise and I'd be surprised if it's not rolled. I doubt the plunger ever touches a mill of any kind.

#22 6 years ago

Supply and depend. Moderator - thread can be closed now. I solved the problem.

#23 6 years ago

Chas010 might have a point? I mean I can drive a couple of hours and plop 75 cents and play medieval madness. Why pay 12-14K for what you can play for 75 cents provided you take the time to find one on route?

#24 6 years ago

I think there are so many factors to pins rising in the new and used market that its impossible to nail it down to one thing. The values of the machines are based on what someone is willing to pay, and apparently people are paying. The thing that I find the most interesting is how regional the prices are. Some areas have guys that buy everything up, then resell at 40%+ on Craigslist. These guys dont even like Pinball, they are simply profiting.

#25 6 years ago
Quoted from Capper96:

Chas010 might have a point?

Please don't try to dignify those ridiculous comments, with your little anecdotes. If he wants to conclude that all pinballers are all stupid, based on a small sampling (namely himself) that's fine with me. That is where it ends though.

Quoted from NightTrain:

Supply and depend. Moderator - thread can be closed now. I solved the problem.

Agreed.

#26 6 years ago

Prices have risen because of demand. New people are entering the market.

#27 6 years ago

Nobody knows where this (prices) are heading.Up down the same who knows.There simply is a finite amount of X titles built in the past.When these are snapped up and placed in personal collections that takes them off the market and lowers the availability.The same thing happened with muscle/collectable cars decades ago.50K for a 69Z28 c'mon man.But that's the way it goes.I really believe that pin collectors actually enjoy the hobby but a side effect is the prices will rise.Being involved with 60's cars I've seen many a "collector"simply buy a car they know nothing about or could care less about just buying to flip for $.Hopefully the market will settle somewhat and be more friendly for folks who really want in but can't afford it at this time.

#28 6 years ago

O no, not this topic again. My head hurts...

doh.jpg

#29 6 years ago

So if and when the bubble bursts, is it because the guy who bought CFTBL at top price now has to sell because his economic circumstances have changed? I think most pin collectors would sell their wedding ring before selling the pin that they bought for an "investment" at a loss.

#30 6 years ago
Quoted from Nevus:

Recently someone here suggested that the NIB "LE" market would saturate soon. It's a plausible theory.

Stern LE's + JJP LE's + BHZA + Skit B + Spooky + P3 = saturated soon. My bet is Stern will be out of the LE market when these other titles start shipping.

#31 6 years ago

I've been waiting for someone to start a thread on this topic.

#32 6 years ago

The only difference I see is that in the last 2 years Top tier NIBs have gone from 5500 to 8000. In that time they climbed easily but the last Stern release of TAV and JJps Hobbit is the first major outcry and slow down of sales.
Hoping its a ceiling for now.
As for the classics I fear its only up as they become more rare and new buyers are not fix it uppers but NIB guys that want a restored title of old.

#33 6 years ago
Quoted from kmoore88:

My bet is Stern will be out of the LE market when these other titles start shipping.

Stern could really kick ass by owning the Pro market here. Its a huge opportunity.

#34 6 years ago
Quoted from Astropin:

I've been waiting for someone to start a thread on this topic.

A dry wit, I like it sir!

#35 6 years ago
Quoted from chas010:

Bottom line people who play pinball aren't very bright, sorry but someone had to say it. The only machined part in a game is the coil plunger the rest is stamped steel. Copper wire, wood and labor and "pinheads" pump thousands out of there bank accounts to buy them.

The problem with talking out of your ass is the inability to back it up.

#36 6 years ago
Quoted from rancegt:

I'd be surprised if this is true. The coil plunger doesn't have to be that precise and I'd be surprised if it's not rolled. I doubt the plunger ever touches a mill of any kind.

You are correct, it is not machined. In making the comment about how stupid we are he showed his true colors and was not even correct with the statement. Troll?-No, stupid troll-Yes.

EDIT: I just looked at Chas010 history, not a troll, just acting like a jerk in this thread.

#37 6 years ago
Quoted from Capper96:

Chas010 might have a point? I mean I can drive a couple of hours and plop 75 cents and play Medieval Madness. Why pay 12-14K for what you can play for 75 cents provided you take the time to find one on route?

That's right.....because there must be like 20,000 MM's out there just filling up all those pinball arcades all across the county!

Wait..........no.

And who the heck drives two hours to play .75 cent games?

Let's see that's four hours round trip. Average American vehicle gets 24mpg. Figure roughly 120 miles one way at the current US average of $3.63 a gallon, that's approximately $36.00 just for gas. Plus you just killed a whole day to play a few games of pinball on a machine that 85% of can't find even if we did drive 2hrs.

#38 6 years ago
Quoted from Astropin:

find one on route?

That's right.....because there must be like 20,000 MM's out there just filling up all those pinball arcades all across the county!

Wait..........no.

And who the heck drives two hours to play .75 cent games?

Let's see that's four hours round trip. Average American vehicle gets 24mpg. Figure roughly 120 miles one way at the current US average of $3.63 a gallon, that's approximately $36.00 just for gas. Plus you just killed a whole day to play a few games of pinball on a machine that 85% of can't find even if we did drive 2hrs.

It wasn't worth your time, Astro, but great points!

#39 6 years ago

Inflation and yes supply and my demand has gone up...also alot more on site regrowth(in Pacific Northwest) and now I make enough money to own pins...lots and lots of pins....but seriously..lets drop costs on NIB to 4-5K with complete code...we can wait.

#40 6 years ago

Easy - As we all know collecting pinball machines is an awesome hobby, and more people are figuring this out!

#41 6 years ago

I'm right in the thick of it with you guys

#42 6 years ago

Pinball has gotten more expensive ? When did this happen ?

#43 6 years ago

I was quoted $200 more for Tron Pro than I paid for LOTR in 2003. It's scandalous!

#44 6 years ago
Quoted from Pinthusiast:

I'm new to the hobby, recently 'retired', and get to rediscover the childhood magic of pins/vids. It doesn't hurt that my wife just realized that she loves pinball, too. She wanted a WOZ, so we're getting a WOZ. (win win)

Welcome to the asylum! My wife wanted WOZ too and I was eager to place that order.

#45 6 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

Trolls!!!!!!
ยป YouTube video

Mouth breather supreme...

#46 6 years ago
Quoted from jar155:

Edit: one more thing. There's very few project machines being sold anymore. There's too much money to be made by fixing them up yourself before selling them. A lot of the great deals disappeared along with the project listings.

I haven't been around but for two years... well maybe 2.5... but I agree here 100%. At auctions I go to, the project pins sell for maybe $200-$300 less than prices of pins out of collections on here. It's really not that big of a savings and in some cases that money is eaten up to get them working again.

I did purchase my TAF at an auction and have been quite happy with it. I also bought Black Rose at an auction. It worked okay but I didn't like it and lost $100 on the sale.

#47 6 years ago
Quoted from chas010:

Bottom line people who play pinball aren't very bright, sorry but someone had to say it. The only machined part in a game is the coil plunger the rest is stamped steel. Copper wire, wood and labor and "pinheads" pump thousands out of there bank accounts to buy them.

Dear Genius:
It's "Their banks accounts", not "There bank accounts".

Signed,
Not-So-Bright

#48 6 years ago

The man's keeping us pinheads down.

LTG : )

#49 6 years ago

I think there was a huge uptick in demand at the same time costs moved upwards again for manufacturers. When they explained economics to the masses so that they could charge a premium. Most all people said duh and started asking more for there pins. Do to the increase in demand for home entertainment markets people bought them up quick at the inflated prices. This started the foundation of the built increase in pricing. IMHO.

Crazy market to go up in price with age. It is still electronic and very fragile?? Similar to Cameras in the last couple years.

#50 6 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

This is the more pleasant version of the "When the f@#k are these prices going to stop rising" thread.

I dunno. It doesn't seem any more pleasant to me.

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