There are several large coin-op auctions held in the U.S. every year and while these auctions can be a great source for buying games there are some things you should know. Here are some tips for buying a game at auction:
WHEN BUYING ASSUME THE WORST.
Most games are in auctions because either 1) they don't make money
on location any more, 2) the operator has made back his original investment and wants to
sell for a quick profit and 3) the game does not work properly. Unless you're buying a
newer game always assume #3. It is very easy to make a game appear to be working during a
brief demonstration and then you get it home and NOTHING! If you do not know how to repair
games you should assume that you will need to factor service costs into the price you pay.
PLAY THE GAME.
If the auction has a viewing time use it wisely. Play any game you are interested in buying and run it through the test mode if possible. You will not get a chance to play the game during the auction.
DON'T SABOTAGE GAMES
You may think you can get a game cheaper if you sabotage it in some
way so that it does not work when it comes up for auction. #1 the auctioneers or sellers
will know what has happened and will most likely hold it back from being sold or #2 YOU
WILL BE CAUGHT!
DON'T TRY TO FIX A GAME WHILE AT THE AUCTION
You may find a game that is listed as not working and think you can
make a quick repair. Not a good idea. You could screw it up further and if by chance you
do fix it, the game will command a higher price than you could have gotten it for
You can meet a number of people who work in the industry at
auctions. Make contacts before it starts and not during the auction itself. You will annoy
the operators, game dealers if they miss an item while you try to get information from
When you attend an auction it is best to leave the kids at home!
Children running around, playing games, or babies crying while the auction is going on is
extremely annoying to others in attendence. Also, if the auction area is small do not
bring an entourage of friends, neighbors and relatives with you.
BUYING AT AUCTION VS BUYING FROM A GAME DEALER
You will in most cases get better prices when you buy at auction but there is a good chance you might get a lemon in which case your money is wasted. A game dealer which caters to the home market can sell you a refurbished game which has a much better chance of working in the long term. In many cases someone who sells refurbished games has spent many hours repairing and restoring the game. You may also be able to get a warranty, delivery and set-up of the game at your location and some service tips. However, you should beware - there are some people who will sell you a game at inflated prices (which may not be in good repair as well). Check out your sources before you buy.
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