I can’t believe how often I get the “I saw the same pinball machine (or arcade game) that I own, listed on eBay for… $$$ (Insert incredibly insane price here). So the current owner is thinking they should get the exact same price for there coin operated machine. Unfortunately, it’s never that simple! In fact, often it’s one of these instances listed below.
Instance number ONE: Fully restored on eBay.
The game that they saw on eBay is fully restored, fully working and completely refurbished! The bad news is… yours is NOT! Your game may light up when it is turned on, but it doesn’t even play. Unfortunately, condition is everything in pinball (Please read the article, What is my pinball machine worth?). I rarely pick up an arcade game that doesn’t need some sort of board/electronic work. The most common causes I’ve found range from burt connectors, to acid damage from batteries (how the game remembers the scores). These types of fixes take lots of time, and often cost lots of money to fix! So that $250 dead game often take $300 just to get it going again! Plus you still have to do the physically restoration to the game!
Instance number TWO: Over priced on eBay.
The ebay seller put some crazy number on his auction, and it never sold (Truth is, it wasn’t even supposed to sell!). A good sign of this is when the pictures intentionally show multiple games in the main image like the eBay ad listed below. You’ll notice several machines for sale in that image. Just as an FYI, there is a “blue book” for pinball machines called. Mr. Pinball’s price guide.
I’ve gotten to a point where I ask… “Please send me the URL, because I’d like to see that ebay auction, and it’s sale price”. This is when people usually back peddle quickly and realize that it never did sell. They realize that eBay auction was simply excessively overpriced!
There is also another reason why the seller put the price really high on eBay. They weren’t expecting it to sell at all. Quite often, its used as a inexpensive way to advertise by local pinball resellers.
Instance number THREE: “Mine is a Limited Edition”
My game is a “Limited edition”. Technically, all pinball machines are “limited editions”. After all, they were on the production line and ran for only so long. Does that make your game that much more valuable than others? NO, not at all!
Higher production runs tend to be more valuable
In fact, I’ve actually found that the games that had a limited productions run, typically are not at all fun to play! The game never sold well, plus never did well on location, and the game was taken out of production rather quickly. So games with higher production runs, usually have a higher value!
This does NOT always hold true! For example there were only 400 joust, 100 vakrons, and 10 krull pinball machines ever produced and the price tags on those are incredibly high. Big Bang Bar is another I can think of that has a low production run, yet a huge price tag on it. However, Big Bang Bar is gets dull and boring after playing it for a bit (thus it’s low production run). Also, Williams Flash pinball machine is in the top 5 highest production runs ever, yet it priced typically a $500-$1000.