New NEWS STORIES are added every week or two.
Check back often to stay up-to-date.
The newest stories are on top:
For the latest on Pinballs, go to the Pinball News web page
Most Vending Machines per Person in the World
Business Week magazine has just reported that Japan has over 5 million vending machines, one for every 25 people. That twice the number that is in the United States.
Over half the vending machine are soda machines. They even have vending machines for fried chicken.
Arcade Bars – The Next Big Thing
Arcades died in the 1960s, Pinball Parlors died in the 1970s, Video Arcades died in the 1990s.
We all thought that home video games and computers killed the coin-op industry.
Pinballs used to be in every neighborhood bar, but then big screen TV’s replaced them
But now, bars are re-introducing video games. Apparently, people want to do more than drink or watch TV in a bar. That is too lonely. Multi-player video games promote social interaction
Arcade Bars are now in San Diego, Louisville, New Orleans, Des Moines and New York. Will your city be next?
These bars are buying up the classic video games. For years these games were selling for just a few hundred dollars. Now prices are going up as their supply is diminishing. It is not unusual for some of these games to fetch $1000 – $2000.
Long Time Slot Collector & Dealer Passes Away
On August 10, 2015, Rich Wolfin relayed the following information to Slot Machine collectors and friends of Alan Sax:
It is with the saddest heart I could ever imagine that I share with you the shocking death of my close friend Alan Sax.
Alan was a pioneer among slot and coin-op dealers, but first and foremost Alan was a family man. His devotion to his wife Pam, his son Daniel, his daughter Becky and her husband Will knew no bounds.
Antique Coin Op Prices in England
To see what coin operated machines and gameroom items sell for in England, go to the Elephant Auction web site
Gumball Collector is Featured on TV
Long time collector and gumball dealer, Scott Tidball, is featured on a television news channel.
To see the video, go to: TV News Web Site
Morphy Auctons Acquires Victorian Casino Antiques
Dan Morphy, president and founder of Morphy Auctions in Lancaster County, Pa., today confirmed his company’s acquisition of Victorian Casino Antiques (VCA), a Las Vegas-based auction house renowned for its sales of vintage gambling/coin-op machines and antique advertising. The purchase adds the Western-states presence Morphy has long felt was essential to solidifying his firm’s reputation as a national auction house.
The first Victorian Casino auction jointly produced with Morphy Auctions will take place Sept. 19-21, 2014. The 1,700-lot sale will feature approximately 100 antique and vintage gambling machines from the storied collection of the late William F. Harrah (1911-1978), founder of Harrah’s Hotel and Casinos.
For more information, see: Press Release
Bill Harrah's Gaming Collection to be sold at Auction in September (Revised Date)
Victorian Casino Antiques has announced that on September 19 - 21, it will sell a collection of vintage slot machines
once owned by Nevada gaming pioneer, William F. “Bill” Harrah on October
For years, items in this collection had been scattered around the United States and individually exhibited among the various casino
properties. Only now has the collection been consolidated into Las Vegas and available for sale to the
This collection of 75 pieces (including many uprights including 3 doubles) will be sold by Victorian Casino Antiques Auction Compnay.
For more information, go to: the VCA Auction Web Page
In The World of Pinball: An Underdog Takes On The Giant
One by one, pinball manuafacturers went out of business until there was only one left.
Now a small startup manufacturer is taking on the remainding Giant.
For more information, see Underdog Takes On The Giant
Solar Powered Carousel Features Extinct Animals
A new Carousel—one of the only solar-powered carousels in the world—is now open at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington DC
The Carousel features 58 hand-carved and painted animals for visitors to ride, many representing endangered species .
For more information, see National Zoo Press Release
Great Stories of Buying Coin Op Machines
There is a great new web site for collectors who want to know how a dealer finds coin machines.
It is called "Married to a Coin Op Picker:
The world of buying and selling coin operated antiques, advertising and arcade equipment.
The stories are well written and lots of fun. Bottom line, it takes alot of hard work to be a successful picker.
To read the stories go to: Picker's Wife Web Site.
Pinball Maintenance Workshops in Baltimore
The National Pinball Museum in Baltimore is initiating a series of works on maintaining and repairing pinball machines.
For more information, see Pinball Museum Workshop web site
National Pinball Museum Moving
The National Pinball Museum announced it new location in Baltimore.
to Baltimore's Inner Harbor
It will be located at 608 Water Street in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Located in the Chocolate Factory this four story building provides new and exciting opportunities for the museum.
To read the full Press Release go to: Press Release Page
Copperfield wants to make magic restoring fortuneteller
Here is a story of a one of a kind Mills Verbal Fortune Teller, the Virginia City Gold Rush Town in Montana and David Copperfield, the magician.
For the complete story, go to: USA Today Web Site
Coinless Vending Machine
Here is a story of how vending machines are eliminating coins and allowing customers to pay for their items via smartphones, debit cards, etc.
For the complete story, go to: USA Today Web Site
New Pinball Movie Coming
Special When Lit, a new movie that is scheduled to be available on a DVD in October 2010, rediscovers the lure of a lost pop icon - pinball. This American invention made more
money than Hollywood through the 50s and 60s. Its success swept the world making it the epitome of
‘cool’. Today pinball is all but forgotten.
This is the definitive story of the rise and fall of pinball as told by the fans, collectors, designers and
champion players from across the globe. A game, a sport, a lifestyle – pinball takes this eclectic bunch of
self-confessed ‘pinheads’ back to their youth as they open up passionately pinpointing the attractions of
the ‘world’s funnest toy’.
For more information, see an article on New Movie
New Amusement Park to Open at Coney Island
NYC unveiled plans for a new amusement park on three City-owned parcels in Coney Island that will open by Memorial Day 2010.
The new amusement park will be built in two stages: This summer, CAI will open "Luna Park at Coney Island," which will feature 19 rides, including one - Air Race - that will make its worldwide debut at Coney Island; and by summer 2011, the "Scream Zone at Coney Island" will provide additional attractions, including two custom roller coasters, a human slingshot ride, and go-karts. In total, 23 new rides will be installed, designed to celebrate Coney Island's unique history and character while adding modern amusements.
For more information, see Press Release
Pinball Exhibit at San Francisco Airport
Going to San Francisco? Be sure to see the pinball exhibit that the San Francisco Airport Museums is hosting.
For more information, go to: Museum Web Page
Pacific Pinball Museum Now Open
Ninety playable pinball machines are on exhibit at the new musuem in Alameda, California
For more information, go to: Pacific Pinball Museum Web Page
Vinyl Records are Popular Again
Record comapnies are making vinyl-recors again. Sales soared 89% in 2008, while CD sales have dropped. No, vinyl will not replace CDs or downloaded music. They only represent 1% of all sales.
The visual, tactile, and social experience of vinyl, however, are the reasons for their increased popularity.
For more information on this trend, see the article How Records Got Their Groove Back.
40' Wurlitzer Display to be Auctioned
A 40-foot Wurlitizer Company promotional display trailer will be one of the featured items at the next Victorian Casino Antiques auction on March 12-14, 2010, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The trailer unfolds to display a Wurlitzer model 146 B Band organ and 4 different Wurlitzer jukeboxes. At present, the jukeboxes shown are models: 1100, 800, 1050 and 1015. The trailer will be sold with the band organ which was restored by Carl Frei. The jukeboxes will be sold individually.
This display trailer was one of three made by the Heinrick Mack Company (The "Prevost" of Germany) in Wadkirch, Germany in 1990. When open, the display measures 40' long and 18' high. There are over 1500 lights, so the effect is just magnificent.
For more information, go to: Press Release and Photo
Redbox: the latest vending machine.
The latest vending machine to hit 17,000+ locations across the country is Redbox. It vends DVDs at a $1 a day. Each Redbox has 700 DVDs and you can go to its web site to find the DVD you want at a location near you.
For more information, go to: Redbox
Record Prices at Jukebox Auction
Below are some of the prices that were achieved in the auction of the John Gurrech estate. Most of the jukeboxes were expertly restored.
- 1940 Gabel Kuro Jukebox - $120,750
- 1936 Wurlitzer Model 35 - $77,625
- 1942 Wurlizer Model 950 - $48,875
- 1941 Wurlitzer Model 850 - $41,400
- 1940 Wurlitzer Model 800 - $14,375
- 1946 Wurlitzer Model 1015 - $14,950
Music Pinball Hall of Fames Opens in Maryland
The Pinball Hall of Fames has recently opened at the Merriweather Post Pavilion Music Center. It features several pinball machines, all playable, from the collection of the National Pinball Museum.
For more information, Visit the Pinball Hall of Fame Web Site
FBI Issues Report on Internet Fraud
The Internet Crime Complaint Center issued a report on Internet Fraud. Among the results are the following:
"Internet auction fraud was by far the most reported offense, comprising 44.9% of referred complaints. Non-delivered merchandise and/or payment accounted for 19.0% of complaints. Check fraud made up 4.9% of complaints. Credit/debit card fraud, computer fraud, confidence fraud, and financial institutions fraud round out the top seven categories of complaints referred to law enforcement during the year."
The Report also provides advice on how to avoid be taken by fraud.
For more information, go to the: FBI Report
Jukebox Collection to be Auctioned
90 - Of the Rarest & Most Fabulous Juke Boxes from the late John Gurrech's Museum Collection will be auctioned on October 3 in Northport AL.
Also, John Gurrech's collection of Records, Advertisement Signs, Gas Pumps, Over 70 Wall Boxes, Restored Coke Machine, Speakers, Gas Globes,
Barber Chairs, Band Box, and Neon Signs will be auctioned
For more information, go to: Auction Page
Historic 1900s Ice Cream Parlor Re-Opens in June 2009
The historic Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum in Columbus, Indiana, will re-open in early June 2009.
Zaharakos is an important part of living American history—a soda fountain and ice cream parlor from the early 1900s that was grand in its day and is now one of a kind.
The Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum has been beautifully restored to an early 1900 elegance with its
- 50-foot double backbar of mahogany, mirrors and marble (1911)
- Pair of Mexican onyx soda fountains (1905)
- Tiffany-style lamp and water dispenser (1905)
- Welte orchestrion, a rare self-playing organ (1908)
The Museum portion of Zaharakos will feature antique mechanical music machines and early ice cream parlor items.
Visit online at the Zaharakos Web Site for details of the renovation. You can also see how the rare Welte orchestrion is being restored and view several items from the soda fountain and mechanical music museum.
Victorian Casino Antiques March 6th-8th Auction was a Great Success
Over 400 bidders crowded the auction gallery in Las Vegas, NV.
200 lots were sold on Friday afternoon between 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM with the remaining 1100 lots split between Saturday & Sunday.
Two large collections were featured in this sale; A gambling museum from Virginia City, NV containing numerous rare slot machines & Coin Operated devices and a large oil and gas collection containing beautiful example of signs, pumps and related material.
Some of the highlights of the sale were (prices include buyers premium)
Victorian Casino Antiques will conduct two additional sales in 2009 on June 13-14th and October 10-11th. Quality consignments for these sales will be considered.
- Caille Roulette$210,000
- Gulf Sign $17,600
- Houston OIl Sign $11,000
- Hudson OIl Sign $11,000
- Chevy Ok Used Cars NOS Sign $18,150
- Musgo Gas Globe $20,400
- Schlitz Window $3,850
- Puncher $9,900
- Wayne Roman Column Gas Pump $17,600
For further information please contact.
Peter Sidlow, President
Victorian Casino Antiques
4520 Arville St #1
Las Vegas, NV 89103
All prices realized can be viewed on our website
Seeburg R to be raffled by the American Historic Juke Box Society
Each year the American Historic Juke Box Society (AHJBS) raffles a jukebox. This year they are raffling a Seeburg R.
The American Historic Juke Box Society (A.H.J.B.S.) is a national, non-profit corporation. A.H.J.B.S. members enjoy social contacts through meetings in the Philadelphia area held on the third Tuesday of each month. These meetings, some including special programs and banquets, are self-supporting and are not paid out of the members annual dues.
The American Historic Juke Box Society (A.H.J.B.S.) also has a technical assistance service to help members repair and/or restore your jukebox? Technical Assistance problems and challenges are usually discussed at the Society's monthly meetings. However, if you are one of our members who cannot attend meetings this service is still available. All you have to do is write the Society with your problem. Someone will call or write to you with a response.
The Society's members are kept informed of A.H.J.B.S. activities through its newsletter "The Jukebox Record" which is published quarterly and includes news, original articles, technical information, and ads for items wanted or for sale or trade. These ads are printed free for A.H.J.B.S. members.
Membership is $10 per year. Membership dues should be sent to Frank Benner, 1018 Seventh St. Perkasie PA 18944-1516.
Gambling Devices from Old Nevada Saloons to be Auctioned
A Caille Roulette, slots, arcade items and a selection of items from the Mel Getlan collection will be auction on March 6-8 at the Victorian Casino Antiques auction in Las Vegas.
For more information go to: Auction Press Release.
National Videogame Archive Announced
The National Videogame Archive is a joint project between the National Media Museum and Nottingham Trent University, which aims to celebrate that culture and preserve that history for researchers, developers, game fans and the public.
Announced in September 2008, the Archive is working to preserve, analyse and display the products of the global videogame industry by placing games in their historical, social, political and cultural contexts.
For more information go to: National Videogame Archive Web Site.
Recent Auction Prices
To see some of the Victorian Casino Antiques Fall auction results, go to:
Fall Auction Results Press Release
Recent Auction Prices
Below are some of the prices realized at the June 28, 2008 James Julia Auction
- Bally Reliance restored - $16,100
- Caille New Century upright slot machine with music - $40,250
- Watling Rol-a-Top with shipping crate - $7,475
- Caille Uncle Sam strength tester - 28,875
- Rockola 1937 All Stars World Series - $44,400
- Lukat Gambling machine - $22,425
Russ Jensen, Pinball Historian.
On November 10, Russ Jensen at 71 passed away. He will long be remembered because he left with many articles on pinball.
For more information, see the
Russ Jensen Memorial Page prepared by Pinball News
New Jukebox Exhibit featured in Grand Rapids Museum
The Van Andel Museum Center of the Public Museum of Grand Rapids MI is featuring an exhibit on jukeboxes.
A new museum exhibit examines the progress of the coin-operated music industry, and the jukebox’s close connection to American culture, from the early 20th century to the present. It opened last month here at the Public Museum, where jukeboxes built by the Rowe/AMI organization, a hometown factory hero, are the focus. Located in Van Andel Museum Center, the exhibit is scheduled to run through December 31, 2008.
Called Jukebox Heroes, the exhibit features 10 automatic music machines that the museum bills as “Eighty Years of the Coolest Music Machines You’ve Ever Seen!”
For more information, see the
PRESS RELEASE on the exhibit.
Nevada State Museum to Feature 25 Fey Slots
The Nevada State Museum in Carson City has an exhibit featuring 25 historic mechanical gaming machines dating from 1895-1937, including two Liberty Bells, the Klondike, Little Chief, Silver Dollar and Three Cadets.
Coin Operated Collectors Association
The Coin Operated Collectors Association (COCA) plans to sponsor a web-based message board that will allow C.O.C.A. members to ask questions and share information with other C.O.C.A. members about coin machine collecting, internet scams, buying and selling tips, and many other topics of interest.
to start Members-Only Discussion Forum
Only COCA members will be allowed to see or particpate in the discussion forum.
To join COCA, go to COCA Web Site.
For COCA's latest announcements, go to the COCA Announcement Page
AMI/Rowe: 1909 - 2006
In July 2006, the Rowe International Company produced its One-Millionth Jukebox. The company began in 1909.
For more information, go to The History of the Rowe Jukeboxes web page.
To see a photo history of AMI/Rowe jukeboxes, go to Photo History Web Page (pdf)
Pinball Hall of Fame Opens in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame has opened in Las Vegas. It contains hundreds of 1950s - 1990s in pinballs from the collection of Tim Arnold. All the pinballs can be played.
Go to their web site for more information .
History of Video Game Exhibit
The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago had a exhibit on the history of video games. It was called "Game On 2.0."
Go to their web site for more information .
Morris Museum to Feature Rare Music and Automata Collection
The Morris Museum, in Morristown NJ, announced it was was awarded The Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of historic mechanical musical instruments and automata. The Collection represents one of the most significant of its kind in the world.
The musuem also announced it will create the Western Hemisphere’s First Major Public Exhibition Devoted to a Milestone in the History of Music and Entertainment Technology
For more information: See the
Interesting Pinball Facts
As you know there is only one pinball manuafacturer left in the world, the Stern Pinball Company. Until just a couple of years ago, there were four companies, Bally, Gottlieb, and Willams.
Stern creates 3 new pinballs each year and its produces in its manufacturing plant about 50 pinballs a day. Two hundred people work for the Stern Pinball Company.
Today's pinballs consist of approximately 3500 pieces, a half mile of wire. All Stern employees are required to play a pinball machine for at least 15 minutes a day. Sounds like a fun place to work.
Coin-Op Items Bring Good Prices at Auctions
At the December 2003 Lelands' Sports Auction a 1930s tin mutoscope with a Babe Ruth reel sold for $15,985
At the October 2003 Victorian Casino Antique Auction in Las Vegas a Frank Polk Cowboy slot sold for $22,000.
A five cent Mills Cricket floor model Jacks-type machine sold for $20,900 and a Chicago five cent Digger Crane Machine sold for $5,500.
An orignal floor model wooden barber ole sold for $3,575
The next Victoria Casino Antiques auction is schedule for April 17-18.
Major internet comapanies, such Earthlink and Ebay, are warning consumers about fraudulent emails which target
customers of many high-profile companies. These emails may ask you to submit sensitive personal information --
via email, fax, or a fake Web site -- with the intent to steal that information from you.
They provide the following tips to all users:
1. NEVER send your password, credit card number, secret word, or
PIN in an email.
2. When you receive an email that directs you to a Web page asking
for your personal information, please USE CAUTION.
The email may direct you to a Web site that looks like it's from a
legitimate company with which you do business, but in reality the
site has been created by a criminal to steal your personal
Furthermore, a link may show one Web address -- but direct you to
another. You should always type the Web address directly into the
address bar rather than clicking the link.
3. If you think you have already submitted sensitive information in
response to a fraudulent email, please contact your bank and/or
credit card company immediately.
Scam: Dealer From Africa
There is a internet scam that is affecting people who sell collectibles on the web.
A person claiming to be a dealer from Africa offers to buy the item you are listing on the web. They say they have a USA shipping company who can pick up the items. They will pay your price.
That's sounds good.......but then the scam starts.
They say someone in the USA owes them money. They want to pay for the item by having that third party send you a check. The check is for more than the cost of the item and they ask you to send the difference.
When I insisted on a bank money order drawn on a USA bank for the exact amount as payment, I never heard from the person again.
Another dealer told me they received a check, but when they checked into it, the check was a counterfeit check.
The Inside Story of the Penny
For collectors of vending machines, trade stimulators and arcade machines, the most important feature is the "penny". Every now and then we hear rumors that the Treasury will stop making pennies and we quickly put a few rolls aside so that we'll always have enough to play our machines.
Well, don't worry. There are currently 100 billion pennies in circulation. That's a lot of pennies. Last year, the Treasury minted 10 billion pennies. It costs the government 6/10 of a cent to mint a penny. More pennies are minted than any other coin. Only one billion quarters are minted, 1 1/4 billion dimes and only 800 million nickels. Maybe we should storeaway our nickels.
Today the "copper" penny is 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper. Pre-1982 pennies were 95% copper. The core portion of the penny was changed in 1981 because the price of copper rose and people began to horde pennies thinking that someday the content of a penny, like a silver dollar, would be more valuable than the coin. They were wrong but the government changed the composition anyway.
Insider Trading at Antique Auctions
We have all read about the insider trading scandals in the stock market but did you see the Wall Street Journal article not that long ago of the insider trading scandal that is has occurred at antique auctions across the country?
Insider trading? Yes, but with antiques the term is "pooling." That's where several dealers at an antique auction get together and agree not to bid against each other in order to keep the price down. The seller who believes the auction is fair ends up being cheated. The dealers who practice pooling believe it is just good business and a matter of "friends" not bidding against each other.
The Justice Department, however, does not view "pooling" the same way as these antique dealers. It views the practice as illegal - an anti-trust violation. Not too long ago the Justice Department started a nationwide investigation to uncover and to prosecute dealers who conspire to hold prices down.
In Philadelphia, for example, twelve antique dealers were fined up to $50,000 and given probationary sentences of up to three years. Legal fees for one of the defendants amounted to $40,000.
We are all familiar with the term "buyer beware." At auctions, it is especially critical for the buyer to be extra cautious. Sellers at the auction now also have to "beware" and, if you are a dealer who practices "pooling," the Justice Department is now saying "antique dealer - BEWARE."
Kiddie Rides Continue to Increase in Popularity
The Kiddie Ride business is showing more growth than any other category of the coin operated amusement business. Dollar volume grew 25% last year and there were 17% more rides placed on locations than the year before.
Despite this rapid growth rate, the number of units are still only 7,000 compared to over 300,000 pinball machines.
Many operators continue to operate their older kiddie rides as they buy new ones. This continued use of kiddie rides makes it difficult for a collector or gameroom enthusiast to find a kiddie ride for their home. Fortunately, some collector/dealers are now beginning to restore kiddie rides and are making them available for home use.
For more information, see the August 2001 issue of Vending Times
The Number of Pinball Machines Continue to Decline
The number of pinball machines on location dropped to 300,000 in the year 2000. Ten year before, in 1990, there were over a million pinballs being used. That's a 70% decline.
More than half the machines are now set at 50 cents a play for three balls. Remember when you got five balls for a nickel.
Part of the problem facing the pinball industry is that most pinball enthusiasts are over 30 years old suggesting that the market will continue to decline.
Add to that the fact that there is now only one pinball manufacturer, Stern Pinball Inc. Only 4 new pinball games were introduced in the year 2000 versus over 12 a year in years past.
For more information, see the August 2001 issue of Vending Times .
Almost Half of America Collect
A recent news story on collecting indicated that approximately 40% of the population collect something, usually 2 or 3 different kinds of collectibles.
The average person spends $200 - #300 a year collecting. The collecting craze really took off in the 1970s and has been intensified by the Internet.
New Mall in Baltimore Features Pinball Themes
One of the largest shopping mall corporations, The Mills Corporation, has just opened a new mall in Arundel County, just outside Baltimore. It is called Arundel Mills and has over 200 stores.
One of the sections of the mall, call ed Pinball Palace, looks like you are walking inside a giant pinball machine. There are moving flippers overread, and three-foot tall pin balls racing around a track. It's highly antimated and colorful.
The mall also features a Bowl-A-Rama section, a seaside boardwalk section, and a food section that looks like a series of railroad cars.
Buying Antiques Too Cheaply Can Be Costly
In an earlier news story, I relayed to you a new article that reported on a recent court case where an antique dealer was required to pay a greater amount that the dealer originally paid for a collectible. The antique dealer bought a collectible for $1000 which he eventually sold at an auction for $100,000. The jury decided that the dealer took advantage of the seller lack of knowledge and required the buyer to pay an additional $18,000. Apparently, it is ok for a delaer to make a good profit, even a very good profit, but not an outragerous profit.
In another recent case, an antique dealer bought a painting at auction for $1,200 and later sold it for $385,000. A lawsuit was filed, but in this instance the judge decided against the seller, maybe because the auction format is believed to be a fairer arena for buying and selling and it would be unreasonable to expect a buyer to stand up while he is bidding and proclaim that the item being sold is worth far more than it is selling for.
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