I have been looking at such a purchase for a of couple years now and have found out a few things I would like to pass along.
The Pinball machine market used to be huge and a big money maker. Back in the 70’s and 80’s you could find Pinball machines in almost every bowling alley, arcade, bars and even some restaurants. In the 90’s the mechanical game market started to dwindle due to computers and video games making finding a Pinball machine even harder.
Mechanical games such as Pinball machines require a large amount of maintenance. So, this leads me to the question to buy new or used.
One of the surprises I discovered is that buying new doesn’t mean you will be issue free. The price for a new machine can run between $3,500 – $15,000. For those who have bought new machines, please pass along your experiences. In the research I have done, there is a good chance that new machine may have issues right out of the box. Any mechanical machine is prone to have issues and the more mechanical it is the more issues you may encounter. As you may know, some of the Pinball machines are pretty elaborate and have a lot of additional mechanical features. This of course could lead to more failures.
I am not trying to discourage you from buying new, just setting your expectations. There is nothing worse than getting a new machine and having to wait on a replacement part or service before you can begin playing.
Now buying a used or refurbished Pinball machine can obviously bring the same issues even more frequently. Buying a used machine can run between $600 – $13,000 depending on the age and popularity. The collector market has driven up the prices for vintage machines, so don’t be surprised that you can pay more for a machine from the 80’s or 90’s than a new one.
Like I said before, the Pinball market is coming back, so it is easier to find vendors who are selling New and Used machines and providing service.
Whether you buy New or Used, there are a few things you may want to consider before your purchase. The first would be to locate the nearest repair/service facility. Having a repair business close will most likely shorten your down time. Next would be to determine how much you want to pay. Some retailers offer payment programs making the purchase a little less painful.
So, before you make a purchase do your homework and find the machine you like. A word of caution though, I’ve been told that once you get your first Pinball machine, they become very addictive and people tend to buy others.
Happy Hunting and Cave On!