Ok, so we just recently bought a house and as a result our first pin. Been wanting one since I knew we would have a basement/rec area and finally settled on one with wife.
One thing I am noticing is alot of complaints about all the "new" buyers coming out of the year of COVID and the stupid prices as a result.
Seems alot of people are missing half the equation here...yes, there are some uneducated buyers paying way too much for some low grade EM machines based on "nostalgia" - at the same time you gotta have sellers trying to dupe them.
The real problem as always is uneducated or unscrupulous sellers. You seem to have a ton of sellers who bought a machine 20 years ago...they jump on eBay and see someone with a fully restored/shopped machine asking 4k - do that must mean there's is worth at least that - better ask 5 for "negotiations" - of course they miss that there are maybe 5 or 10 fully restored/mint versions of that title and 1400 low grade examples - or that a full restoration took 2k in parts and a couple of hundred hours - they just know that XYZ Pinball advertised the same machine they own and they don't want a dime less.
I'll be the first to admit - I started out wanting a Kiss pin - and I will state right now - I would NEVER buy one for me. If you gave me one - I'd sell to the first reasonable buyer. They command a premium - but why pay more than 3500 for an old machine when at the same price point there are many more reliable. If you really want a rock theme - plenty of Zep pins that will hit the used market in a couple of years I suspect...its been a hot seller, but eventually something new will come out and those will lose interest.
At the same time - wanna stop seeing the post of dreamers asking 20k for 12-14k titles...QUIT REACTING to them! Just like YouTube influences- the more view/reaction- the more they get pushed to top of the feed.
The hobby is no different than classic cars...and it killed it for many. Someone sees a '68 Camaro roll across Barret-Jackson at 3am on ESPN - the hammer falls at 80k...now someone thinks EVERY '68 Cameron is worth 80k....WRONG. Restored, pristine trailer queens are worth 60-80k...your puttied up mismatch is worth 20 on a good day to the uneducated buyer maybe...realistically 15k. But because someone saw one sell for more...they suspect they are getting a bargain.
If fools want to waste their money chasing garbage - let them. There's way too much decent stuff out there to clean up on at fair prices. Using the car analogy - i remember a local guy back in the early 90s...when everyone else was chasing those late 60s "gems" - he built quite the collection of late 70s/early 80s Cameron and Firebirds and a few select Novas. Wanna guess who cleaned up come 2010 when he sold out.