The Slot Fan’s Guide to Olden Day One Arm Bandits
A quick search on eBay reveals some interesting results for antique slot machines. Few people would believe that archaic devices with minimal spinning reels and a handful of symbols could be worth a small fortune. Collectors know better. Slot machines from the 1930s and 1940s can fetch a pretty penny, depending on their condition, brand name, and rarity. For example, an Antique 1930s Mills War Eagle 5 cent Nickel Slot Machine can fetch as much as $2,595 on the market. These contraptions are typically a little worse for wear, and they may not have all their original working parts. In the United States, there are rules in place which regulate the sale of antique slot machines, and certain states may not qualify.
If you’re looking to spend a small fortune, you may be on the prowl for an antique 1899 Mills 5c Dewey slot machine. This device retails for $16,800, and it is in its mint, original condition. These devices were expertly crafted, full of intricately detailed artwork and mechanical parts. If the sticker price is a little steep, you may wish to consider the Mills Novelty Company Owl Slot Machine antique at a price of $15,750. These slot games are worlds apart from the video slots we see nowadays at land-based casinos and online casinos. These are fully functional freestanding machines with ball and claw feet, solid oak carved frames, and beautifully-furnished metal housing. It’s always important to check for damage, especially with the wood items.
Specs of Antique Slot Machines
The Antique range of slot machines are extremely expensive, and can retail at $19,000+ apiece. The original machines were created around 1906, and have a devout following among slot machine collectors and gaming experts. Many slot fans choose to refurbish their antique slot machines, to keep them in pristine condition. The antique slot machines business is a roaring trade, with a niche market of highly motivated buyers and sellers. Only the most skilled technical experts in slot machine restoration professionals can work in this arena, since customers are highly specific and detail oriented when it comes to these high-priced antiques. The typical weight of an antique slot machine ranges from 75 pounds through 100 pounds. Their dimensions are typically 16” x 16” x 28” in height.
There are many examples of popular antique slots, including the following:
- 1941 Mills Diamond Front
- Mills Hi-Top
- Mills Bursting Cherry
- 1938 Mills Roman Head 5 Cent
- 1946 Jennings Super Deluxe Club Chief
- 1935 Watling Coin Front 25 Cent
- 1947 Mills Black Cherry 5 Cent
- 1933 Watling Treasury 5 Cent
- 1948 Mills Blue Bell 10 Cent
- 1950 Pace Four Reel Harrah’s Club 10 Cent
The price of an antique slot machine may range from a few dollars to as much as $50,000 +, depending on its condition, rarity and how much the buyer is willing to pay for it. Many antique collectors seek these devices as decorative pieces, or as investments for posterity. The most common brand is Mills, both with its Golden Nugget slot machine and its Orange Front QT slot machine variants.
Slot Game Variety Over the Years
Believe it or not, various slots enthusiasts consider any slot machine created after 1930 as a contemporary slot machine, and not an antique. These contemporary machines are largely comprised of replacement parts, and many of them have been fully restored and tested. The cost of these machines is less than those with a limited number of replacement parts. If you’re looking to buy an antique slot machine, it is best to select a machine that is relatively untouched, and in its original mint condition. Once restoration work has begun, the perceived value of the machine diminishes. If you find an e-commerce platform selling a 1930s/40s slot machine under $3,000, it is likely a contemporary machine with replacement parts.
The strict definition of an antique is a collectible object that has a high value because of its considerable age. In the United States, the Customs Service regards antiques as items that are at least 100 years old. With slot machine games, antiques are considered old-school slot games – typically the 3-reel classic slots. Nowadays, players can enjoy sophisticated HD slots with 5 spinning reels and hundreds of paylines. Video animation, 3D technology, and a virtual presence are worlds apart from the physical nature of antique slot machine games. Online slot games offer a modern-day perspective on this age-old pastime. You can still experience the classic slot titles online, except that now you have far more variety in every way.