Guide to Buying a 720
or Other Classic Arcade Game
One of the more common 720 related email questions I receive is: “Where can I buy a 720 and how much do they cost?” Occasionally the question is, “How much for your 720?” Well, mine is not for sale, but I’ve got a stock response that I’ve sent out so many times I thought I’d create a page:
How and where to find a classic arcade game:
1. Ebay - check the Home > Buy > Collectibles > Arcade, Jukeboxes & Pinball > Arcade > section. I always prefer to sort by “distance from my location” to avoid shipping. Keep in mind that Ebay will have a mix of individual collectors and online retailers, so prices will vary widely.
2. Craig’s List - Use a multiple city search tool such as Craig’s Pal to search for “Arcade” in cities near you. The key to good deals with Craig’s List seems to be checking often, and contacting sellers quick.
3. Newsgroups - The arcade collecting newsgroups are frequented by many game collectors. Posting “Want to Buy” articles in any of the arcade newsgroups can often lead a game owner who may not be thinking of selling, to contacting you and working out a deal. There will also occasionally be “For Sale” postings by collectors. Keep an eye on: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting and rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace.
4. Arcade Message Boards - The primary arcade collecting message boards have “For Sale” and “Want to Buy” forums. Like the newsgroups, these areas are frequented by collectors who may be looking to sell or trade games. I post regularly on the Killer List of Video Games (KLOV) message boards. The Arcadecontrols.com message boards are more geared toward building cabinets for MAME or Jamma arcade games, but also have a trading forum.
5. Garage Sales - Occasionally local garage sales will have arcade games. Your local paper’s classified or Craig’s List might have the listings.
6. Auctions - Superauctions holds regular amusement machine auctions around the country. Before the internet and Ebay era this used to be the primary way collectors would get games. The quality and variety of games at auctions varies widely, but there are good deals to be found on occasion. If you’re in the market for only one specific game, auctions are probably not the way to go, but if you’re open to a number of games, and willing to handle some repair and restoration, auctions might be a good way to go. Lots of tips for attending auctions are on the GameArchive.com Auction Buying FAQ.
7. Online Retailers - Several companies specialize in selling used arcade games. They will often be advertised as restored, but the degree of actual restoration varies from: once over with Windex and a paper towel, to fully refinished with new artwork and a rebuilt monitor. Sometimes these vendors can be commissioned to find a specific game that they don’t currently have. A few such vendors are: QuarterArcade / TNT Amusements / Vintage Arcade Superstore.
How much do classic arcade games cost?
As with anything being sold in a used, or collectable market, prices will vary widely based on condition of the game, desire amongst collectors, location, and who the seller is. The range is $50 for non-working, incomplete games, to $3,000 or more for the most rare, sought after games in good working condition. Always keep location in mind as shipping a game will generally cost $300 - $400. It is still possible to find classic games for sale by individuals who may not be aware of the value. Occasionally a game will show up on Craig’s List at a price much lower than its real value. These are usually snapped up very quick, or end up going for a higher price when the seller realizes demand. Often times games will go for “fair market value” when a sale is worked out directly via the news groups or an arcade message board. Good, fair deals can be found on Ebay and Craig’s list, but of course this varies. Retailers will always have the highest prices, often listing games for 2x, 3x, 4x or more than the real market value. They are usually waiting for someone with no knowledge of the collecting market, who is just looking to quickly populate a game room.
Here are some values of the games I’m most familiar with, based solely on my opinion (Updated SEP-14):
720 - Restored and working: $1,200 - $2,000
720 - Working, needing restoration: $500 - $1,000
Star Wars - Restored and working with Amplifone monitor - $1,200- $2,000
Star Wars - Restored and working with Wells Gardner - $800 - $1,200
Star Wars - Complete but not working: $400 - $800
Tron - Fully Restored and working: $800 - $1,000
Tron - Working, needing restoration: $400 - $500
Tron - Not working, incomplete: $200-$300
Tempest - Restored and working: $600 - $800
Tempest - Working, needing restoration: $300 - $400
Ms. Pacman - Restored and working: $500 - $600
Donkey Kong - Restored and working: $600 - $800
Jon Jamshid (www.arcade-classics.com) has put together a fantastic price guide; check it out here: eXidy's Unofficial Video Arcade Price Guide.
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