I like learning about the history of arcade games, but keeping up on the value of all of the different arcade parts certainly isn’t my strongest suite. I know general game values, but I was even shocked tonight to learn that there is a significant greater value for a set of three Donkey Kong pushbuttons than your regular buttons due to a couple of characteristics.
Nintendo Donkey Kong buttons were metric
While Wico buttons may look very similar, if you compare those two push buttons side by side you will notice differences including the circumference of the Nintendo buttons is a touch smaller.
That’s all fine and dandy, so what? Well, no one makes these buttons anymore so finding an NOS set or even used buttons can be difficult and therefore they can be worth more. But before we get into the value of these concave push buttons, let’s look at some collecting history and one guy who reproduced these parts.
Tom Nosheeples and Specialty Plastics
In 2004, a member of RGVAC named Tom (nosheeples) had the knowledge and detail to reproduce these buttons for Donkey Kong. Here is a photo of those buttons he sold on his now defunct website that was on AOL spaces.
2004 has been five years ago already, and Tom has not been around for awhile it would seem. Not that long, but in a cyclical hobby like arcade game collecting five years is long enough that a new breed of collectors don’t know that these buttons are rare let alone reproduced.
Here is a timeline of Tom’s reproduction based on his RGVAC posts.
- August 24, 2003 – Initial feeler post for interest in reproduction Nintendo buttons, taking input and names.
- September 3, 2003 – Talking about making the molds and sourcing the springs
- July 26, 2004 – Launched his website for the reproduction buttons named Specialty Plastics
- August 2nd, 2004 – Starts taking pre-orders for sets of the Donkey Kong buttons – Price will range from $12-$14
- August 4, 2004 – Tom posted that the DK buttons are finished and is taking orders – $14.00 for a set of three
I didn’t research where his other projects fell into line, but he did produce some other arcade parts, like Atari cones (tall and short) as well as some glowing Nintendo push buttons;
- August 13, 2004 – Glowing pushbuttons announcement
- Nov 15, 2004 – Announced Atari Cone Buttons
I’ve been told, making the molds for the push buttons isn’t that hard, and that getting a hold of Tom’s moulds wouldn’t be of that much value. But matching the colors (especially the dark blue) is the hard part, and Tom alluded to that in his postings on RGVAC.
Value of Donkey Kong buttons?
Hard to pinpoint an exact value, but based on my feedback I would say somewhere between $15-$25 ($25 being on the really high side). Tom gradually increased his prices to the point where a set sold for $17.00 and change, and collectors still bought them.
If you’ve got a set of used or even NOS! Donkey Kong buttons, don’t assume you would have to practically give them away. They are worth some decent money (for buttons).
Think my valuation is off? Or got something else to add, like some details to the historical timeline? Leave a comment, and hopefully a link or two.
Related DK Repro button links
- Web Archive of Specialty Plastics on AOL
- Speciality Plastics Web Address (Broken) – www.specialtyplastics.tzo.com
Here are some similar arcade posts
- Donkey Kong 2 Marquee Films
- Donkey Kong Arcade Game Restoration
- Donkey Kong Deal in Indy
- “Donkie Buddy”, the fancy bootleg?
- Back on top of Donkey Kong Junior