Michelle Knows Antiques is a great way to find the value of your antiques. Submit your antique for appraisal on our easy to use form. Here is a recent appraisal from Michelle’s column in Discover Vintage America:
Q: My dad recently passed away and we found this strange pinball machine like game down in the basement. I have no idea what it is it is unlike any pinball machine I have ever seen. It has thousands of tiny ball bearing type balls with it which my kids have managed to scatter all over the house. Can you please give me some information on it and let me know if it is valuable? Thank you.
A: I am so very sorry for the loss of your father. What you have is a Japanese Pachinko machine. Based on the photograph it appears to date to the early 1970s. Pachinko is a popular gambling pastime in Japan but instead of coins you win little ball bearing type balls.
Pachinko parlors are everywhere over there and if you ever visit one earplugs are a wise choice. The object of the game is to flip the handle, shoot the ball up in to the machine and try to get it in the sweet spot where one can win 10-15 balls. The sweet spot or main attraction as some call is the decoration in the center of the machine. You also want the balls to go in to the slot in the bottom center of the machine instead of down the loops on the outside of the field.
Pachinko machines are relatively common in America as new ones are placed in the pachinko parlors the old ones are often shipped over here. If the lights function and the balls shoot through the game as they are supposed to it would sell for $40-$50. Every now and then I see one in a decorative wood case and these do bring a little more money.
I actually own a pachinko machine, the kids love to play with it and I find it sort of mesmerizing. I feel you on the game play balls they do tend to find their way in to every nook and cranny of the house.
Item worth approximately: $40-$50
** All prices given are for sale in a private sale, antique shop or other resale outlet. Price is also dependent upon the geographic area in which you are selling. Auction value, selling to a dealer or pawn shop prices are about ½ or less of resale value.