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Four Hundred SlotsCan you imagine 400 slot machines in your house, 400 different slots. That's a lot of slot machines. Well you can have them all on your bookcase. Many of us forget, or take for granted, the mammoth job Dick Bueschell did for us all in the late 1970's and early 80's when he published his four volume encyclopedic Illustrated Guides to 100 Collectibles Slot Machines.

Many of you have these books in your library and probably have forgotten all the good information you have at your fingertips. Those of you who don't have all 4 volumes, read on, because in this book review I'll give you a brief glimpse of what's in each volume.

Each of Dick's books features a page on each of the 100 most popular collectible machines. Most of us use Dick's books to look up a particular slot machine, and find out a little more background information, but there is much more in each of these 4 volumes.

Volume 1 gives us a glimpse of what coin machine collecting was like in the 1970's when our hobby was born. It tells us who were the major players (you'll recognize many of the names), how Dick Bueschel became a coin machine historian, how people reacted to his book in 1978, and what led to it being reissued in the late 1980's.

This volume also discusses how the first article on slot machines, that appeared in 1979 in a major consumer magazine, was conceived and written.. That article which represents the first public recognition of collecting slots is reprinted in its entirety.

Volume 1 also has an article on How to Get Your Machines in Working condition, and, finally, the most attractive part of this book is a 16 page color insert showing us what colors the different Mills Silent Slot Machines were painted. Volume 1 sounds as though it has everything you want. Well, don't stop reading, we have three more volumes.

Volume 2 is for all of us who take collecting slot machines for granted. Since slots are legal in almost every state, many new collectors believe that was always the case. Not so, in the middle 1970's. Collector's had to fight the system to make slots legal.

Volume 2 provides us that exciting history, how the pioneers of our hobby struggled against the police, the courts, and the state legislators to get the laws changed state by state. It also provides us advice for how one goes about changing the laws in our state. Many of us still need this advice in order to change the laws in those states that haven't updated its laws. Most collectors believe the 25 year law is the best, but many states still restrict collecting to pre1941 or pre1952 machines.

Volume 3 answers the questions every collector wants to know: How rare is my machine? How many were manufactured? Who made them? How many are still around? How many unknown machines are still out there? Dick Bueschel answers these questions with his extensive analysis of serial numbers.

In this volume Dick takes us through his analysis and concludes that there were over 3000 different automatic payout slot machines made over the last 100 years. (Does that mean that Dick will have to come out with 26 more 100 Collectible Slot Books?) Dick then reveals how he calculated how many machines each manufacturer produced with numbers for many of the models we collect. If you want to collect slots, then the information in Volume 3 will be invaluable.

Volume 4 , once again discusses and pictures 100 more slots. One of the most eye catching features of this volume is a 16 page, 4 color reprint of the 1901 Albert Pick & Co. catalog featuring all the floor model color wheel slots and counter cast iron trade stimulators that were popular in that era.

Dick also provides an extensive discussion of collecting slot machine paper collectibles: trade flyers, catalogues, advertising, trade publications, and photos. It describes what's out there, what's in them and how you go about collecting them. It even provides you a list of the 25 most desirable slot paper items and their estimated value.

Even though I 've read these 4 volumes two or three times over the years, I'm always surprised at how much I learn when I reread them. Like a good encycopedic reference work, they'll never be out of date. Volume 1, was updated several years ago

These books are out of print, but you may find one by going to the: Out of Print Slot Machine Books web page

Copyright: 1996, Ken Durham




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Ken Durham
3000 Galloway Ridge, C-306
Pittsboro NC 27312
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