I hear a lot on the klov forums of different collectors who have awesome luck picking up some nice arcade machines off of Craigslist for great deals. The closest I have come to that myself, in this area, is an individual who was giving away a complete Gottleib Q-bert in Anderson, IN two or three months back. The key about Craigslist is, you have to monitor it all the time. It is a time consuming thing, and not something that fits into my daily schedule. If I sit down in front of the laptop, I will bring up my RSS feed reader with all of my saved arcade related searches. But if you aren’t sitting in front of a computer the instant that new arcade deal post hits the web, and are caller number 2, you don’t get the deal.
Well, last week Friday, I got lucky. At lunch I was lucky enough to see this posting on Craigslist for Michigan actually (arcade machines in Indianapolis seem hard to come by at jaw dropping deals);
For sale 3 arcade games for parts. Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man & Centipede. $100.00 each. Call (Number removed) for more information.
I thought I would call, that was an excellent price for those machines. The first thing that popped into my head was that this was an individual who wasn’t sure on the value of the machines. It just so happened, I was the first caller! I asked if they had some photos, and she said they did and she’d try to send them to me by the end of the day. That is usually a bad sign for me, because I was so far away in Indianapolis, if another person offered to come get the coin-op games that day sight un-seen, there was nothing I could do.
But luckily, in 5 minutes I had some files in my email. I say files, because they were a Microsoft specific file format type, and not anything I could view. After a chain of calls and emails, I was able to help the owner get the photos changed to .jpgs and sent to me.
I was blown away, and I told them this on the phone. The Ms. Pac-man had a lustrous pink left in the one side of the sideart I could see. I only had one photo to go from, but I had to assume that the sideart on both sides were close in color. I started to get really excited. But what ensued was quite a struggle.
I was the first caller by about 15 minutes, and then the calls just came streaming in. A collector posted on Klov about the machines and then all of the great arcade collecting community in Michigan on the west side was abuzz. Here I sat, down in Indy, with my hands tied a little bit. I knew I was possibly only interested in the Ms. Pac-man, and not the other machines. Gone are the days for me when I was to mess around with reselling arcade games for between a hundred and two hundred dollars. If I resell an arcade game, I want $300 plus to make it worth my while. The other frustrating aspect was, a lot of these collectors who are local, can make a little more money off reselling these arcade games, and that is what they intended to do. I wanted this Ms. Pac-man for my personal collection, having looked for one of this quality for two years at an affordable price, and I didn’t want it to slip through my hands.
After talking with the seller some, it sounded like they only wanted to sell them as a lot. Understandable. At the time they didn’t know about the forum post, and thought that if they did a piece meal with the games, they would be stuck with one, two, or all of them in the end. Not to mention all of the time dealing with a bunch of different individuals and their schedules.
So, I had first priority, but the second person who called said they would come up, by Saturday, and get the games sight unseen, or that is what I was told. I now had a number of things working against me, availability, location, transportation, and time.
I was honest through the deal, and kept the owner’s best interests in mind, knowing that if this was meant to happen, it would. I won’t go into detail, but we worked out a deal. I think in the end, I communicated really well on this deal except for one minor piece. I got what I wanted, the Ms. Pac-man, so that was all that mattered, but the ex-owner is getting a really great deal from me.
Here are the photos I got tonight, and more to come later. First off, I wanted to post photos of my current machine to show the drastic contrast!
~Update 12/22/07 I got to see the Ms. Pac-man in person for the first time today. The Ms. Pac-man marquee has vibrant color with little scratches only on the black portions covered by the marquee brackets. The marquee was secured by non tamper torx screws, which I found odd. I’ll probably replace those.
The Ms. Pac-man glass bezel has just a tiny bit of flaking on the left side and the biggest surprise was the amount of flaking in the sideart. I can just brush off parts of the sideart with my finger if I wanted. The Ms. Pac game is dirty, so I will need to scrub it down, but I am not sure how to do that without taking off some of the sideart. Preserving the artwork will require some research.
I got to the back door through the marquee, checked the connections, powered Ms. Pac-man up, and surprise! It’s a working game! I got a working Ms. Pac-man with great pink sideart for $100. Thanks Craigslist. Hopefully it keeps working after transport.
I need some tips on cleaning the game. Can anyone give me any without ruining the sideart? I have heard of giving arcade games a clear coat to make the sideart shine and protect it, but I don’t want to put that over the dirt. Can anyone help me?