Every man cave needs a touch of true nostalgia. What about a vintage pinball machine? You might be searching for that pinball from the 70s you played as a child or an old pinball machine from the 80s (which now qualifies as antique—sorry, guys!). The good news? There are a bunch of ways you can get your hands on a replica or high end restoration of a vintage pinball machine.
We’ve put together a list of vintage pinball machines and replicas, and included some ways for you to purchase them from anywhere in the world.
After all, every man deserves a vintage pinball machine in his man cave!
What Makes a Pinball Machine Vintage?
When we call a pinball machine “vintage,” what do we mean? Basically, something vintage is old, but it’s not antique old. In other words, a vintage item is younger than your grandmother but older than your children (fur children, included). Vintage is similar to “retro,” meaning that the items are often mid-century modern (think the 90s) or related to some past pop culture or fashion trend.
But while retro might mean something that’s no longer considered cool, a vintage pinball machine featuring Indiana Jones or the Addams family is always going to be a sought after addition to the man cave.
In short, a vintage item is something no less than 20 years old but not old enough to be considered ancient.
Cost of a Vintage Pinball Machine
How much you pay for a vintage pinball machine is going to depend on a couple of things:
- The type of pinball machine
- The popularity of the game
- Original cost
- Current condition
The three pinball machine types include:
- Electro-Mechanical (EM) machines: Relay-based pinball machines where controls are based on stepper units and a score motor. These were among the first pinball machines and were produced up to 1978.
- Solid State (SS) machines: Electronic machines featuring microprocessors. These were manufactured between 1970s and 1990s.
- Dot Matrix Display (DMD) machines: While these use solid state technology, they also have a display used for video and scoring. These were made throughout the 1980s up to 1990.
Some pinball businesses have a specialty in the kind of machines that they sell. Some may only refurbish EM or SS machines, while others might favor DMD machines. When you search for vintage pinball machines near me, keep your eyes open for that detail, especially if you already know which pinball game you want.
Now, the type may affect cost because of the materials and equipment required to make the machine functional again. That could up the cost of the used pinball machine.
For example, an older model might go for around $200-$500 if it needs some work done. A reliable old pinball machine usually ranges between $500 (for a less popular model) to $2,000 (for something sought after).
However, an older machine you pick up from an auction could function horribly. Sometimes, the previous owner didn’t maintain it enough. If you want to play a vintage pinball machine as if it were knew, then you might want to go for one that has been restored—which could cost you between $4,000-$8,000 or more.
From there, you need to factor in the cost of shipping and handling. International shipping is going to cost a lot more than having the machine sent to you locally.
(We cover the reason why pinball machines are so expensive in another article. Check it out.)
Iconic Vintage Pinball Machines
Okay, they might not all be iconic, but they sure are fun to play! And they’ll look snazzy when paired with your man cave furniture. As mentioned earlier, vintage is the middle line between cobwebbed antiques and slightly uncool retro. That is why we choose these pinball machines—they have perpetually popular elements alongside fascinating mechanical elements. They’re anything but old and lame.
1. Blast Off (Williams, 1967)
Yes, it’s a bit older than what we’d call vintage, but you can’t deny that having a rocket launched themed pinball machine isn’t something to brag about. Blast Off is a prime example of an EM machine. The pinball machine was built during the space race and features a countdown for the Apollo rocket. It is the add-a-ball version of Lunar Shot and Apollo, similarly made games.
2. The Addams Family (Bally, 1992)
Yes, this is one of the best selling pinball games of all time. And yes, it goes for around $8,000 on a good day. Not only that, but the gameplay is addictive. Along with traditional pinball elements, you also can an immersive layout and a bit of spooky features to discover.
3. KISS (Bally, 1979)
Here is one for metal heads. KISS has released a lot of memorabilia throughout the years, but nothing is more flashy than this pinball machine. It was introduced to the pinball market right when the band was hitting their peak, and it continues to go for around $2,500 to $5,000, depending on its condition.
4. Twilight Zone (Bally, 1993)
Looking for a challenge? Some people will say this table is an absolute gauntlet to overcome. The soundtrack has some original scores from the 1982 Twilight Zone, including the theme song. Plus, you can see some famous pop culture references, too.
5. The Rolling Stones (Bally, 1980)
Any serious Rolling Stones fan is going to want this pinball machine for their rock n’ roll memorabilia man cave. The reason why this pinball game is popular among collections is the picture of “Glimmer Twins” Keith and Mick emblazoned on the front.
6. Tommy Pinball Wizard (Data East, 1994)
Based off the song by The Who, this pinball machine is all about the Broadway production. It even features all 21 songs from the rock opera. You can bob your head along to the songs while working your magic on those flippers.
7. Star Trek (Gottlieb, 1971; Bally, 1979)
Both popular Star Trek machines were inspired by the 70s sci-fi show. In the 1971 version, the artwork is much more retro, featuring a green-skinned alien and dumpy-looking robot. The table, though? Top notch. The 1979 version was made to promote the motion picture released the same year and has the entire crew on the table.
8. The Fonz Pinball (Coleco, 1977)
Based off a character from a show where pinball machines were featured in nearly every episode, this game is relatively lightweight. It’s not a complete pinball machine, but it is still iconic in its own way. Plus, The Fonz is a budget-friendly addition to your collection.
9. The Six Million Dollar Man (Bally, 1978)
Sometimes, pinball machine artwork was hit or miss—and this one was definitely a miss. Still, imagine having a pinball game based off classic TV show? Overall, the table was decent and fun to play.
10. Gorgar (Williams, 1979)
Still have a goth or emo kick and want to show it off in your man cave? Introducing Gorgar, a pinball machine with its own speaking demon. In fact, Gorgar was the first machine to ever utilize a talking soundtrack. Better yet, you can find Gorgar machines in mint condition for under $2,000.
Where to Buy Vintage Pinball Machines
Finding a vintage pinball machine for your man cave is a known struggle among many. You want to be confident that the investment your making is going to reward you with an incredible pinball game.
So, here are our recommended sites and business where you can buy a vintage pinball machine or two:
Auction Sites Like eBay and Craigslist
Two of the best places to look for pinball machines are eBay and Craigslist, if those sites are available to you. The advantage here is that you can access locally-based retailers or individual sellers, so you can avoid the cost of shipping a pinball machine halfway across the continent or world. Secondly, you will find a large selection of pinball machines from every century on eBay and Craigslist. The downside? You never really know until you receive your purchase if the pricing was justified.
You can also try OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, Recycler (US only), and Oodle.
Bargain Pinball Machines
While this site offers up refurbished pinball machines on eBay, you can contact them directly about their inventory. Bargain Pinball Machines has a sizable price range, too. For instance, you may be able to find a fixer upper for about $1,000 or make a slight investment of around $2,000 for a 90s pinball machine.
Want to meet fellow pinheads from around the world and find vintage pinball machines for sale or trade? Check out Pinside. You can find a slew of pinball machines from the 60s, 70s, and 80s that are functional. Search locally or globally. You never know what you will find. And if you searching for something specific, you can even launch a Wanted ad detailing what you want.
Mr. Pinball Classifieds
Sure, the Mr. Pinball Classifieds site might look like a high school project, but it features no nonsense ads that are updated daily. Prices are listed, as are details on the condition of the pinball machine. This is a US-based site, so expect listings from all over the country. However, you may come across some international listings, too.
M&P Amusement Company
As one of the oldest arcade game distributors in the US, M&P Amusement Company has a decent selection of used and restored pinball machines to choose from. You can also purchase new ones directly from the site and have it shipped to your door. If you don’t want to pay thousands of dollars right away, M&P Amusement Company has a financing option.
The Pinball Company
Based in Columbia, Missouri, USA, you can either buy from the extensive inventory on The Pinball Company website or visit their physical showroom. The company is well trusted for their extensive restoration process that transforms old vintage pinball machines into functioning works of art. There are pinball machines for every budget, and you can even pay over time.
Here we have a UK-based store, Pinball Creative. If you have a pinball machine you would like list, purchase, or have restored, these guys have you covered. Or, if you want to hire a few pinball machines to see which ones you want, you can do that too. All of the pinball machines they have for sale and rent are received from European suppliers then restored in-house for guaranteed quality.
Although based in the UK, Liberty Games is well know for international shipping to at least 93 countries and options for payment. They sell brand new pinball machines, virtual pinball machines, and yes—reconditioned vintage pinball machines. Most of the pins they have are from the 70s and 80s, but you may be able to find some of the classics. Pricing is also reasonable when compared to some other retailers.
Hopefully, this helps you get some ideas on where to buy vintage pinball machines, what to look for in old pinball games, and some general pricing. Whether you are looking for a replica of your favorite game from your childhood or want to line the walls of your man cave with vintage pinball machines, there are dozens of sites with tons of options.
Want that true nostalgic moment in your man cave? A vintage pinball machine could be exactly what you’re looking for. Whether it’s an antique pinball machine from the 70’s or just an old pinball machine from the 80’s (yeah, sorry to say guys, these now qualify as antique!) there are a bunch of ways you can get your hands on a replica or a high end restoration.
We’re putting together a list of vintage pinball machines and replicas, and where you can buy them – all across the world.
Because every man deserves a pin ball machine in his man cave!
Check back soon as we provide the hottest list of pinball machine suppliers who can help you get your hands on a vintage pinball machine for your man cave!
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