WHAT'S A VINTAGE COIN MACHINE WORTH?
by Dick Bueschel
BUYING AND SELLING TIPS
Some quick tips about buying and selling vintage coin machines:
Copyright: Richard M. Bueschel, 1996
- Just because a slot machine says "Copyright 1910" on its reels doesn't mean it's that old. The Mills Novelty Company and others put this marking on their reels well into the 1940s to indicate copyright protection of the symbols.
- Cast iron machines are highly desirable. Bring a kitchen magnet along with you when you're buying to test the metal, or show a buyer if you're selling. If it sticks, it's cast iron, and possibly made before 1922. If it doesn't, it's brass, aluminum or pot metal, all of which were used later.
- To make a machine highly desirable, it takes 3 examples, and a competition between leading collectors to have an example. A single example of a machine isn't as desirable. Rarity rarely translates into value.
- Just because a machine is expensive doesn't mean it's worth it. GOLDEN NUGGET 3-reel slot machines have been selling for anywhere from $1,000 to $6,500 at any given point in time, yet most (if not all of them) are repros and are not ranked as true slot collectibles. So watch out! Read a price guide and learn the machines.
- If a pinball game doesn't work, and it's a highly desirable game and the playfield and backglass look good, get it. The same goes for selling it. It can be fixed. But be ready to face "shopping" (getting the machine back in playing condition) costs anywhere from $125 to $350.
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