by Ted Finlay, Ph.D.
The final sales data for used pinball machines are in for 2022 and the Pinflation increase is a little higher than we reported in the November TWIP article (Pinflation 2022: Slower Rising prices). Used pinball prices rose 24% in 2022 compared to 31% in 2021, not 21% as reported earlier. That puts the average used pinball machine price at just under $5,400 (see Chart 1).
Used Pinball Average Price1
The average price of a used pinball machine in 2022 was $5,384. This is an increase of $1,033 on top of last year’s increase of $1,038. The average price includes all types of used pinballs from early electro-mechanical (EM) “project” sales to NOB mint Godzilla LE flips. Those prices can vary widely – from a $96 Magic Town project machine to a $31,000 Pirates of the Caribbean (CE) by Jersey Jack. And prices also differ greatly depending on which “generation” of machine you are considering.
Pinflation by Game Era
In our November article we broke down prices by decade, 1970’s, 80’s, etc. One reader suggested a better way to compare prices would be by pinball “generation” (thanks Johnny Pinball). Excluding electromechanical pinballs, we broke down the last 45 years of pinball development into 5 generations: Early Solid State (1977-85), Alphanumeric (1986-91), Golden Age DMD (1992-98), Stern DMD (1999-2015), and LCD (2016-2022). Example machines in each generation are shown in Table 1 along with average prices over the years.
The prices by generation follow a logical sequence of increases (Chart 2) but yearly price increases vary. The highest price increases are for the Stern DMD generation of machines. Up 23% from last year, these pinballs now cost almost $8,000 on average. That’s on top of a 25% increase the previous year (Table1). So, in two years’ time Stern DMD and LCD generation machines have gone up $2,762 and $2,637 respectively. And that is on used machines.
When we look at individual titles of modern games, there are some dramatic increases. Black Knight Sword of Rage (LE) is up 31% this year, on top of a 54% increase the year before! Guardians of the Galaxy (LE) up 70% and Monster Bash (LE) up 39%. But it’s not only LE’s. Ghostbusters (Pro) saw a 64% rise. But it’s not all roses. Guns ‘n Roses (LE) was down 9% and The Mandalorian (Premium) off 7%.
To check out all the data with hyperlinks to the individual sales, please visit PinballPrices.com
This analysis was conducted using the PinballPrices.com database (owned and operated by the author) of 8,993 verified sales records of used pinball machines totaling over $32 million in tracked sales for 1,336 titles. For the years included in this analysis the sample sizes were:
|Year||Number of Sales|
Sales records are manually transcribed from Pinside.com, eBay, Liveauctioneers.com, and several other online auction sites based on final sales price, not asking price. Only sales records that include the final sales price are included. For auction sites the sales price recorded includes the “Buyer’s Premium”, usually ranging from 10% to 28%. Data that is not accepted includes any sale that includes “Free Shipping”, eBay sales marked as “Best Offer Accepted” (without indicating the actual price) and Facebook Market or Craigslist sales because there is no record of the actual price paid. Multiple sources are used because this more accurately reflects the total marketplace of buyers, not just “hard core” hobbyists. For more information visit PinballPrices.com.
Note 1: The “average” is the arithmetic mean of all recorded sales of used pinball machines. This includes machines in a variety of seller reported conditions from non-working projects to fully restored pinballs. It does not include partial machines (cabinet only, back box missing, etc.).