What's it worth?

Most of the games that are out there are the older style, from the 50's, 60's and 70's. The 80's machines are much more complex, and thus cost a little more. The games came to the USA in the 70's and 80's as the older 50's, 60's and 70's machines were being replaced. Some came direct from parlors, literally ripped out of the walls, others, were taken, fixed and then sold by various companies throughout the US. Frankly, I don't think many made it to the East Coast. I've grown up here and I can only ever remember seeing ONE in my entire life (and I'm a fan of Asian culture!). However thousands were shipped here…

How old is it?

The age of the machines can be a tricky mystery.  On both my machines, they still have the parlor expiration tags.. that is the date I go by.  See, the date on that machine is 52, which puts it 1977.

To understand the dates, you have to understand the Japanese Calendar.  The Shōwa  (“Enlightenment and Harmony”) Period ran from, 25 December 1926 to 7 January 1989.

For example;
Showa 52 would be 1977 (1926 − 1 = 1925, 1925 + 52 = 1977).
Showa 60 would be 1985 (1926 − 1 = 1925, 1925 + 60 = 1985).

Now for the bad news. 

The games, even fixed up are not worth a whole lot of money. Anywhere from $30 ~ $150 depending on its age and condition. However, to me my machine is priceless. I fell in love with it at first sight, and frankly, its art to me. The more colorful, or complex the playing field, the better and the pricier. I've seen (online) some really neat looking machines. If you are looking for a machine, check out the
Where to get parts, machines, and balls section of this site. Even now that I'm a fan, I searched high and low online and really only found a few places that had them, and a hand full of machines. Shipping can be costly they are heavy!

The machines are fairly fragile, and if they got wet - well, that's a really, really bad thing to happen to them as the metal parts corrode and the wooden parts swell and rot. If a machine is in really poor shape, pass it up for a slightly more intact model for just a few bucks more. You'll be glad you did.

Machine Dimensions;

Most machines weigh 35 Lbs.
Typical machine dimensions are:

10" deep
21" wide
33" high.

I'd add an extra 12" to each of them for padding if you are planning to ship it.

My advice is to visit a store that sells big (42") flat screen TVs, ask them for a box that's in the trash, take it home, with its packing, if you plan on shipping your machine.

Rear Decal

Long Term Machine Storage;

1 - Clean the machine the best you can - Clean all the chrome and brass.

2 - Remove all the balls

3 - Wrap it in plastic, add in an oxygen absorber packet (the white packet from a box of shoes!).  Wrap it in Duct tape.

4 - Protect the front glass with a 20x20 1/8" sheet of wood.

5 - Store it in a dry place.  Extreme moisture or heat is not good for the machine.

6 - Store the machine upright, with nothing sitting on top of it.

7 - Clean, and Dry the balls, store them in an airtight container that is made of PLASTIC!  Metal containers will cause a dissimilar metallic reaction with the balls and cause them to rust or corrode.


copyright (C) Dan Reed