Price guide of pinball machines

Note this page has not been updated for several years ! Pinball prices (especially for WPC games) have increased a lot since then !

This page gives an overview of average pinball machine prices in Europe.
Initially I really didn't want to do this for various reasons (my personal opinion about money and what something is worth isn't yours, I'm no authority, who am I to say what something is or isn't worth ? prices can change a lot on short a time, condition is very important, prices in some areas are higher then somewhere else, ..) but.. here it is.. prices of pinball machines in Belgium.

If you're looking to buy a pinball machine, also read the other articles on this website. You'll learn what to look for, how to open, test and inspect a pinball machine and much more..

The reason why I added this page is that in a few months I got emails from people who bought a broken machine for too much money, from people with old machines for sale and they think they're worth a fortune because it's old and only 5000 had been made. On the other hand, people looking for a pinball machine may think it's cheap because its worn and used, but sorry, no, you can't find an Addams Family for 250 euros, even not one in bad condition. Unless you're very very very lucky. Really. Stop asking please. If I knew some for sale at that price, I'd buy them all myself and wouldn't tell you :-p So therefor I added this list, at least you have some idea about prices. But if you still want to sell me your Bally Fireball for $200, I'll buy it.

Disclaimer: these prices are for Belgium. Some other European countries may have similar prices (ie Netherlands and Germany - France may be a bit cheaper). Prices in the USA are usually totally different (especially old machines are worth more there). These prices are also average prices for games people who are looking to buy them. If you have the game and need to get rid of it fast, you may get a lot less. Some games aren't high in demand, and if you sell it while no-one is looking for it, only people looking for bargains will be interested in it, and they may offer you only half of the prices here..

Prices are for average games sold between collectors. Games which are in perfect condition (home use only, or very good restorations), games sold by dealers (cleaned, refurbished, delivered, ..) may sometimes cost (a lot) more.
If you paid a lot more for a specific game from a dealer, don't expect that you will get the extra markup you paid back when you want to sell the machine. It's probably only worth what's listed here and not double because that's what you paid.
Some dealers just do not sell any dot-matrix pinball machine under i.e. 950 euro. So even something like a Hurricane or Dr Who which can be found already for around 500 to 600 they'll ask 950 for. I know dealers who are even more expensive (every pin is at least 500 euros above its 'average' price and it's not because they are in very good condition.. it's just an expensive dealer who has to rent a large showroom..
So keep this in mind when you bought a pin at someone like that and want to sell it later.
On average a warranty by a dealer is worth 100 to 200 euros of the price you pay. If the game was recently shopped by a dealer then it'll also add around 200 more to the price. So if you bought a shopped pin from a dealer with warranty for 1500, the real value of the pin when you want to sell it later will be more around 1000.. (depending on the title of course).

Economics 101: prices are set by supply and demand. Usually during the summer there's less demand for pinball machines and prices go down. Near Christmas prices are very high. Also when people get tax money back to spend, prices and demand goes up. This is a seasonal trend which seems to come back every year. When Williams stopped making pinball machines, prices started rising a lot, as people were in shock because no good pins were made anymore. The boom of the stock exchange a few years ago resulted in a lot of money which people could spend on 'toys', and pinballs raised a lot in price, especially the 'best' machines like Medieval Madness. Nowadays condition matters a lot, a very nice machine will still cost a lot, but a damaged may cost a lot less.. As still a lot of people get interested in buying a pinball machine for home, prices of sub-top and cheap reliable machines are raising in price too. But once these 'newbies' get more interested they'll also want only the best machines so prices of the best machines may also increase..

Supply and demand may also cause a rush on certain machines. Even something small like a positive review somewhere, or the release of a new home rom (ie for Cirqus Voltaire) may raise interest in a certain game. The problem with some old games is there isn't a lot of information available about how to repair them. So if there a new repair guide/method comes online, this may also result in increased prices or at least an increased demand for a certain type of games.

New games are operated commercially. As long as they aren't written off, prices will be high. So prices of the most new pins will be expensive because they are new machines, not because they are fun of high in demand. In Belgium a machine of a year old will be bought back by the distributor for around 3000 euro when you buy a new machine, so don't expect to find recent machines much cheaper.
For some of these games prices may not be set by supply/demand or it's difficult to put an average price on them. Operators selling games after a certain period may also cause that first you almost never see a specific type for sale (because it is too new, less then 4 years old), later suddenly a lot of them are for sale again (a lot of operators selling it off), and a year later they're again difficult to find (all operators sold them to collectors who keep them). So a game you often see for sale today, may be impossible to find next year, or it may be the other way around. Finally a specific machine which sells somewhere for a high price, may suddenly cause a lot of other people to sell theirs as they've noticed the high price. But remember a game is only worth what someone wants to spend for it. It's not because one person paid too much for a game, every game like this is suddenly worth that price !
A site like ebay is not always representative of average prices. Sometimes a pinball machine is very expensive, but it may be because it's a rare version of a specific model (i.e. diamondplated system 11) or it's in extreme good condition, but everyone who has the average regular version of that game will suddenly think their machine is also worth a lot of money !

Lastly, contrary what most people think, old games are not worth more than new games. (although there are some exceptions) It may be more than 20 years old, but thousands of machines of that age are still available and most of them are just no fun to play or nobody wants to buy them. There are some collectors interested in rare pieces of history, but the most demand for pinball machines comes from people who only look at how much fun it is to play. These players only want games that are made after 1990.

Condition is everything. Prices I mention are for nice machines. At least fully working (maybe minor problems), the high price is for a fully shopped machine..

 

Woodrails

 

Cinderella woodrail
Woodrails are pinball machines from the 40ies
They have a cabinet in plain wood. Legs and the siderails which hold the glass are also made from wood (not metal).
It is difficult to set a price on machines like this. I've seen complete, non-working machines sell for 250 to 500 euro. In Europe there aren't many collectors for these, but they aren't offered a lot for sale, so it's very difficult to put an average price on them. There are some very rare, collectible woodrails which do sell in the USA for over $2000 on ebay.com.
The problem is that most people who have one for sale think it's worth a lot because it's 50 years old. Best thing you can do is check the Mr Pinball classified pages, these give you an idea what the machine (or a similar one) is worth in the USA. Keep in mind that restoring one of these games may be very expensive, so if your game isn't complete and working, it may cost more to restore it than it'll ever be worth !
And their value only exists because they're old and antique, not because they are fun to play, so there's only a limited number of pinball collectors interested in them.


 

50ies and 60ies EM machines

 

Again a difficult category. These are usually one-player games. Some are fun, most aren't (certainly compared to more recent pins), there isn't a lot of supply, also not a lot of demand of many collectors.. very difficult to put a price on. In France and Italy there's more supply (and demand ?) of these than in Belgium/Netherlands. I won't put prices on this as I just don't know enough about it.. Same comment as above: the right machine in perfect condition may be worth a lot for the right collector.. but most average machines in average condition aren't worth a lot and are just bought to have something different.

 

70ies EMs

 

warehouse find
These are 4-player games. There's a lot of supply of these, people still discover warehouses full of them..
Condition and theme is everything. Prices usually are between 300 and 500 euro for a good working game in excellent condition. (Ie. I sold a nice english Bally Nip-It for 350 euro in the past).
Only a few games are collectible, like Bally Wizard, Nip-It, 4 Million BC, Fireball, Captain Fantastic. Spanish, Italian and Chicago Coin games are usually worth less and can sometimes be found in working nice condition for around 150-300. German versions are also worth less than English versions.
Non-working (parts/incomplete/..) games of this type can be found for as little as 25 euro, up to 100 to 200 for a untested ones in nice condition.
Prices are different to the USA, there these are much higher, because there's a lot of demand and supply of some models is very limited, as a large part of their production has been exported to Europe.


 

1977 - 1985 electronic games

 


The first generation of electronic games, by Stern, Bally, Gottlieb and Williams.Same story here, a lot of supply, less demand.

Games usually have problems with leaking batteries, bad contacts, .. some can be a nightmare to keep them running..

I would say prices for a working game are between 250 and 500 euros.
Collectible games are Kiss, Fathom, Xenon, Haunted House, Black Hole, and a few others, some are usually more expensive than 500 euro in excellent condition (Kiss, HH, Rolling Stones,..).

When you check production numbers, you'll notice an awful lot of some of these games have been produced. However it is difficult to find them in excellent (mint) condition, most have been played to death, are faded, .. so an exceptional beautiful game may be worth (much) more to the right person. But for every mint game there are 100 worn games available in average condition in which almost no-one is interested in.
Prices for untested/parts games are also between 50 and 150 euro. Working games with (some) playfield damage start usually at 200 euro.
 

 

1985-1989 electronic games

 

Earthshaker Whirlwind
Second generation of electronic games.. Unfortunately not a lot of excellent games were produced then.
Collectible games are High Speed, F-14, Elvira, Dungeons and Dragons, Pinbot, Strange Science, Taxi, Earthshaker, Whirlwind, Space Shuttle.
Usually they have nice music and sounds. Gameplay is simple but fun. There are usually some modes or goals to achieve, but no very 'deep' rules. Prices usually also are between 350 and 650 euros.
These games are excellent for kids (no complicated rules, usually reliable electronics, relative cheap to buy).

Gottlieb games can be difficult to repair, especially check for battery damage ! Their prices are mostly cheaper (less than 500 euro).
 

 

Dot-matrix games

 


OK, now we're talking.. from 1990 on games had dot-matrix displays instead of alpha-numeric score displays. Williams/Bally games have the WPC set of boards which are used in a lot of good games, so these games in parts alone are already worth 300-400 euros.. (of course that's if the boards are ok, but why would one part a working game ?) This new board set had a more complicated cpu, so gameplay and rules could become more complicated too, making the game more challenging. Pinball designers were less restricted by the hardware they had to use/

Only Gottlieb games of these years aren't worth a lot, usually you can buy these between 500 and 900 euros. That's because gameplay of these games isn't very good (compared to Bally/Williams games of the same year).. There are some exceptions like Stargate. Gottliebs are very reliable, however not a lot of people know how to repair them and it may be difficult to find parts, so if they break repairs may be expensive.

Although most Data East games are average, they made some good ones too, Rocky and Bullwinkle is fun, and Tommy is great ! Value of dmd Data East games is somewhere between 500 and 1000 euro, with a few exceptions like Guns and Roses that cost more. Be careful with older games as they use a small dot matrix display, replacement displays aren't available (or very very expensive). Most of these games are also very reliable.

Sega games.. Sega took over Data East so they're comparable. Gameplay isn't the best ever made, but these games certainly not bad either, they're reliable, and some have very good themes. Watch out for the supersized displays, these are also difficult to find and expensive. Prices usually go between 600 and 1000 euros.

Stern games.. these are very new, it's difficult to put a price on them.. While they have low production numbers, there still isn't a lot of demand for them by collectors to buy used games. New games get bought by collectors, especially for good themes like Simpsons Pinball Party and Lord of the Rings. These all cost new around 4500 - 5000 euros. Once they're a year old they can be bought from operators for around 3000 euros. While for games like LOTR and SPP there may be demand from collectors, the other games Stern produced like Playboy, Monopoly and Roller Coaster Tycoon are less in demand and can be found for 2000 and less. When collectors want to spend 2500 or 3000 euros on a game, they still look for the better games Williams/Bally made (Attack from Mars, Cirqus Voltaire, Monster Bash) instead of the lesser Stern games.
It's difficult to say how prices of these games will evolve, as Stern is the only company which still makes new games. Every (good) new game they make may decrease the value of their previous games (probably a lot of people bought a LOTR instead of a MB or MM).
And unlike Williams, will Stern re-run the production of an old game if there's enough demand for it. Supply and demand therefor are not far apart, and a game will not raise more in price than when it was new just because demand is higher than its supply.

Update ! Prices above are from 2007. Now in 2011 - some games have gone down a lot (Monotpoly, RCT, ..) while collectible games like TSPP, LoTR, Spiderman, .. have gone up.

 

Williams/ Bally WPC Games

 

A separate paragraph about Williams and Bally WPC games. (Williams had bought the name Bally at that time, so all pinball machines made then came from the same factory, use the same parts, same people who produced them, ..) These are the games most collectors want to own. Here's an overview of prices of popular machines in 2007:

  • The Machine - bride of pinbot: 400 - 750
  • Funhouse: 750 - 1000
  • Creature of the Black Lagoon: 750 - 1200
  • Whitewater: 850 - 1200
  • Bram Stokers Dracula: 750 - 1000
  • Getaway: 600 - 1000
  • Twilight Zone: 1400 - 2000
  • The Addams Family: 1400 - 2000
  • Indiana Jones: 1500 - 2200
  • Theatre of Magic: 1200 - 1800
  • Tales of the Arabian nights: 1400 - 2000
  • Attack from Mars: 1500 - 2500
  • Junk Yard: 1200 - 1800
  • NBA Fastbreak: 800 - 1000
  • Scared Stiff: 1400 - 2000
  • Safecracker: 1400 - 2000
  • Cirqus Voltaire: 1600 - 2500
  • No Good Gofers: 1100 - 1600
  • Champion Pub: 1000 - 1800
  • Monster Bash: 2000 - 3500
  • Medieval Madness: 3500 - 5000

These are average prices in 2007. Prices are for complete, working games. Lowest price is cosmetically not so good, highest price is for a nice looking game. Excellent (as new) machines may be even more, dealers will also charge more.

Update: this price list is not actively maintained or updated.
Now (2011) on average this list is still valied, but there are some exceptions.. It's probably impossible to find an Attack From Mars for less than 2500 now..

keep an eye on auction sites like Ebay or Marktplaats to see what the machines sell for there..

Btw it is not because I say here a Funhouse starts at 500, you'll be able to find one immediately at that price ! It means I've seen them sell at that price in the past, but I don't know how the future will be.. If you shop around should find a game within this price range. If you find one much lower in good condition, you've got a good deal. If you find one much more expensive, well, find out if this certain game is worth it (looks as new, comes with warranty, ..) or the seller is just asking too much..

 

Non-working machines

 

broken pinball machine

Machines which don't work, or which are in such a bad condition that they're only useful for parts, aren't worth a lot.. Forget about games with water damage, moist, rust, a playfield which is damaged too much, .. they're practically useless. Maybe you can sell some plastics, glass, .. but that's it. Rusted mechanisms, coils and switches are very very hard to clean and re-use..
These games in reasonable condition (untested, but still complete and can be repaired), are worth between 25 and 100 euro.
Games with a missing or broken backglass are also not worth a lot, as it's very difficult to find a new backglass.. For some older collectible games new backglasses have been recreated. Unfortunately the backglass (especially if you need to have it shipped) may cost more than the whole game is worth.
It's a shame sometimes, some games can be restored but it'll take a lot of time. Only if your time is free, or the game is very very collectible, it may be worth it.
If you buy an EM game which needs a lot of work, and can't repair it yourself, forget it, it'll cost much more to pay someone to repair / clean / restore it for you than the game will ever be worth. But all is not lost ! Because when an electro-mechanical pinball machine is complete and semi-working (not completely rusted, only needs some adjustment) then you should be able to get it working again.