My warehouse find
This is the story of my warehouse find. It wasn't really a big jackpot I scored, I didn't buy the lot or made any profit on it (in the end it even cost us a few 100 euros as we drove a few times over there and it wasn't close to home).. but still it's the best find I ever did and just the view of so many old machines packed together was impressive !
I had read on the newsgroup rec.games.pinball about warehouse finds. People (usually in the USA) contact operators, ask around if they have pinball machines, and if they're lucky they get a warehouse find: a warehouse, barn or old building full of old machines.. Put away and almost forgotten many years ago. Condition can be good or bad, the games can be valuable or worthless, everything is possible. But usually it's interesting, like a time-capsule that's being opened.
In 2002 I phoned around to operators to ask if they had pinball machines for sale. This person said he had about 100. He was a retired operator and still had a lot stored in his warehouse. Wow.. the magic word: warehouse. Could it be true ? Had I found an interesting source ??
I made arrangements with this person to have a look at these machines. It was impressive.. The warehouse had been a horse riding school. It was filled with a lot of machines he had operated. But I soon learned the best things had already been sold years ago. All jukeboxes were gone..
When I entered the place the first things you came onto were bingo machines.
About 30, each time 4 or 5 stored on top of each other.
Next were the electronic pinball machines. Here were some interesting games: Catacomb, Seawitch, Gorgar, Eight Ball, Dolly Parton, Star Trek, Split Second, Galaxy, Firepower and many more. Williams, Bally and Stern machines up to 1982. I discovered that I wouldn't find anything more recent here, most machines were from the seventies and very early eighties.
The next part of the building contained a lot of parts. Boxes with parts, unknown to me, all of electro-mechanical machines: pinballs and bingos. A lot of backglasses for both pinball machines and video games. Unfortunately they were not in very good condition, and they were all of unknown and less wanted games.
Continuing through the huge building we were amazed every time with what we found. Between all the junk there were arcade machines and parts everywhere. In the back we even discovered a car underneath a lot of junk.. I don't remember exactly what model it was, don't have a picture of it, I believe it was a Lancia from the seventies.
Everything was stored next to each other, on top of each other, and even more
on top of each other. Things were stored together, pinballs with pinballs, arcade games
together, and so on. But usually you could only see the front row of something and
had no idea what was in the 5 or 6 rows behind this.. unless you climbed on top of
one machine to see what was behind.. and then you also only saw the heads of all
the machines in the rows behind.
The arcade machines were even stacked as a large box so it was impossible to see what's in the middle.. arcade machines 3 on top of each other, 5 wide, 5 deep..
Anyway, as you can see in the pictures, there was a lot of stuff.
Foossball tables, lots of them. I think at least 50. Some slot machines, only 10 or so, nothing special.
Arcade games. The very first electronic games. Not too many different names, but many of each type: a 'paddle' game, probably a Pong clone. Atari Pong Doubles and Quadrapong. The original Atari Breakout arcade game.
Electro mechanical pinball machines. A lot, about 70 or 80. but they were all european games,
no Bally or Williams. All Recel, Zaccharia and other unknown brands and models.
No Bally electro-mechanical games. Some Williams, but only less valuable games like 5 times Fan-Tas-Tic, Fun-Fest, Dealers Choice, ..
A lot of electro mechanical arcade games. These I found most interesting. I never had seen so many different racing and shooting games, of some there was even almost no information to be found on the internet. A lot of Chicago Coin and Allied games. Daytona 500, Motorcycle, Rodeo, Speedway, Tiro-Sport, Night Bomber, Rapid Fire, Apollo 14, Sharpshooter, Twin Rifles, and more..
The owner let us look around without any problem, but when we asked about buying things he became very difficult to negotiate with. The price he asked was much more than the machines were worth when they were all working. And he wanted to sell every type together.. all the pinball machines, all the arcade machines, .. you couldn't pick what you wanted.
This lot was too large for us (we don't have storage room ourselves, renting a truck
to move everything would cost too much) so we tried to find buyers.
Because the owner changed his mind all the time this became almost impossible to do.. Once he even said he if someone bought the games they needed to pick up everything in one day !
About a year later we visited this warehouse again with a few interested buyers.
Then we really investigated the pinball machines, counted everything, and it didn't look
too good.. While the e-m games were mostly complete, some heads were missing.
The electronic pinball machines were even less interesting. Although there were some good names, a lot of games didn't have any boards anymore !
A lot of cpus and solenoid driver boards were missing, so it would be impossible to get most games complete.
Later I learned that someone else had already bought a lot of machines from this operator about 10 years before.. Fireballs, Wizards, ... all the good stuff was already sold long ago. What was left and I had discovered was the rest that they didn't were interested in at that time. That explained the relative large part of european games, missing boards and heads.. (i.e. there was a nice Xenon cabinet but no backbox)
Finally in 2005 a dealer bought all pinball machines and electro mechanical arcade games and sold everything through ebay and other ways.
First an overview to show you the size of the warehouse. It was twice this width and about 7 times this depth.
Wimi bingo machines.. about 20 of these were stacked on top of each other.
A lonely Bally Galaxy e-m bingo machine.
One row of pinball machines.
More pinball machines stacked on top of each other.. some were 6 high !
The 'interesting' electronic games like Gorgar and Catacomb.
Not every game was in good condition.. this machine sat a few years below a leak in the roof.
This U-Boat 65 pinball machine was switched on and still worked without any problem.
Most games still had good backglasses, like this Gottlieb Fast Draw pinball machine.
An overview of some of the upright shooting games.
The Cosmotron. Didn't find anything on the net about this game, probably a european space invaders clone ?
Original Atari Breakout arcade machines.
Allieds Daytona 500 sitdown race game. There were three of these. As you can see once they had a nice leather seat.
Atari Pong Doubles and some shooting games.
Chicago Coin Motorcycle arcade game
Rapid Fire and Night Bomber arcade game
Apollo 14 arcade game
Sharpshooter and Speedway arcade game
Chicago Coin Twin Rifle shooting game. I really wanted to have this game..
An antique german ice-hockey arcade game.
At least 3 Paddles arcade games stacked on top of each other.. unknown what is left to and behind of these machines.
The backside of the stack of games in previous picture. Atari Pong Doubles and Quadrapong.
Need some bowling pins ? (boxes on the left)
Do you have room for a large bowling game ?
some of the fussball tables.. there were more.
some of the junk that was stored
A dozen Bally Continental slot machines were also stacked in a corner.