Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The World of Pinball Collecting: How to Buy Your First Machine

While on Facebook earlier, I was contacted by an old friend who said his family was interested in buying a machine and had no idea where to start or how much it cost. I then proceeded to describe the landscape of how to go about this and afterward, felt it might make a good post, so here it is:

"When buying a game, how much it costs all depends on the game you want to get and the condition that it is in, that's the long and the short of it. Price wise, for a working game (regardless of condition), you'll pay from 300 dollars up to and including 20,000 dollars depending on the title in question. The going price for a new game, as in, a game made at the factory in the last 12 months and sitting in a crate at a distributorship, sells for between 5000 and 8500 dollars depending on model and trim.
You buy pins from either Collectors, Operators, or from Distributors. No real coin operated pinball machine is sold at a regular department store. Collectors are people who own machines and keep them at home or in a private collection. Operators are those who own machines and use them for revenue generation (as in routing, as in public play), and distributors are those who are authorized sellers of new pinball machines that come from the factory (New in Box). The distributorship system is how it's done, has been since the 1930's."

Next time I'll talk about different machine ages and where to go for pinball repair.

An Example of a New In Box (NIB) Stern Pinball Machine

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