Pachinko machine

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.


Pachinko 1920s

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.

Written by Michelle Staley

Michelle Staley has over 35 years of experience as an antique collector, picker and dealer. She has done hundreds of insurance and IRS appraisals in addition to just satisfying another collector or dealer’s curiosity concerning what an item is, does or its worth. Other experience includes her work as a forensics consultant and in archeological identification and dating.

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  1. Times are tough & I am considering senillg my great grandfathers paper & coin money collection Afraid of senillg too low as I am unsure of each coins value, do you know a website that I can search the value of my coins on?the coins & paper monies are from all over the world all are very old and I would like to find a website that I can look up the value of each piece in order to know how much to sell them for, Thanks!

    • Michelle Staley

      There are several websites that sell foreign money and I suggest a Google search for “foreign money value”. When it comes to U.S. money “The Official Blackbook Price Guide to United States Money” is the best. It is updated every year.

      The main thing to keep in mind when looking up the value of any type of money is the overall condition as this has a huge impact on the value.

      Good luck, Michelle

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