WHAT'S A VINTAGE COIN MACHINE WORTH?
by Dick Bueschel
MORE BUYING AND SELLING TIPS
Copyright: Richard M. Bueschel, 1996
- If a pinball or arcade game works but doesn't have a backglass, or it's broken, forget it. The cosmetics are 60% to 80% of the value of the game.
- If any coin machine, such as scales, pinballs, juke boxes, arcade machines, trade stimulators or counter games, has broken or missing glass graphics, pass on it. Or, if you're selling, get what you can for the game. The cost of recreating the art will be far in excess of the value of the machine. The same goes for the paper or advertising panels on most vending machines.
- Most pinball and arcade pieces are hardly worth the cost of moving them. For every hundred miles away from you their value drops 20% because once you own it you've got to get it home safe and sound. Your best bet is to find stuff in the same town you live in, or close by. The desirable pieces have value; most of the others don't, or not much anyway. If you just want one to play, great. But be warned that the collectible pieces are well known and identified. It's hardly worth your time to pick up a non-working less than desirable piece a 4 hour drive away. That's an 8 hour round trip, so assume the cost of the machine is what you pay plus what you could have earned in those 8 hours. The same goes if you plan to sell a pinball. The further someone travels to get the game, the less you'll get, if anything.
- Know your jukebox models. Some 45s from the 50s, that look a lot alike, can range from $750 to $7,500 in value. And the "many miles away" rule applies here, too. Read price guides and be sure of what you are getting before you commit to a trip or a price.
- Unless you are a mechanical wizard, and enjoy the work, pass on the "basket cases." They are often far more work than they are worth, particularly if they are fairly common machines.
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