When buying antiques it is easy to make a bad investment if you are not an expert. This is especially true when buying an antique slot machine. It is easy to get caught up in the moment at a yard sale, an auction or an antique shop. You see an old slot machine and you just have to have it for your “man cave”. If you are not careful you will be buying a major headache. Here are some tips that you must follow if you want to protect your hard-earned money.
First, if at all possible, consult an expert and educate yourself. There are several good and reputable sites on the internet that sell antique slot machines. These sites have videos that will show you what to look for when buying a machine. They will also tell you exactly what to avoid.
Second, decide between a genuine antique or a re-manufactured machine. A re-manufactured machine might be best for you if you are buying a machine that you want to actually play and not have as just a showpiece or investment machine. A “re-manufactured” machine is a machine that looks like a brand new machine. In most cases the outside castings and the wood are all brand-new slot. The mechanical parts of the machine are from an original machine but have been completely re-worked. The advantage of these machines is that they look beautiful and they are able to be played daily where a real antique machine would be too fragile to be played too much. The disadvantage is that the re-manufactured machines will not appreciate in value like an antique machine. In many cases a re-manufactured machine is a much better choice for you.
Third, be careful where you buy or from whom you buy. Avoid buying at a yard sale or flea market. This is where the real junk normally ends up. An estate sale can produce some great machines if the original owner was a collector. Machines purchased at auctions can also be fraught with problems, unless you can get an expert opinion on the machine before bidding. If you want to buy from eBay you will need to check the feedback of the seller and also only buy from a seller that accepts PayPal. This will protect you in case the item is not as described. If a seller does not accept PayPal, steer clear of him. There are also some very reputable websites that sell antique slots. These are larger dealers who can be found on Google. Always deal with a site that takes credit cards, pay with a credit card (not a debit card) and you will be protected.
Fourth, do not over-pay. Research prices online. Look at eBay and see what similar machines have sold for. You can easily search prior sales on eBay. Also search the web for the machine you are interested in. You will probably find several sites selling similar machines. Be aware that condition is everything. Unrestored antique machines in original condition are worth more than restored ones.