The Southern Counties Dispersal Auction of Vintage and Classic Amusements & Fairground Relics near Salisbury on Sunday May 22nd provided the finest assortment of vintage slot machines available in a British sale room for many years. The selection ranged from rare to common and excellent condition to good for spares.
Ample parking, comfortable and spacious exhibition areas, seating for bidders, on-screen auction lot display, full facilities including a bar and cafe, plus the benefit of a viewing day before the sale, made for a pleasant auction experience instead of the torture to which we've almost become accustomed. The low 5% buyers' premium was a bonus too.
There were roughly 250 lots in total, and with a mid sale break, this seemed about right. Much more than this, and I find my interest in all things coin-operated beginning to fade.
Allwin prices were relatively low - at least relative to a couple of years ago. This could be put down to the abundance of decent allwins available in the room, but also seems to be part of a general slide in their value witnessed on eBay and elsewhere. Some are putting it down to domestic economics in general such as the housing market downturn, but the fact that almost any day of the week you can find one for sale on eBay must also be having an effect.
Oliver Whales allwins were selling in the £300+ range and less for poorer examples. £400 seemed to be the cut-off point for most. It took the nicest auto-payout B.M.Co.'s to top £700. Over five years ago almost any allwin in good condition was guaranteed£500+. One happy buyer went home with a complete (but rough) early Bryans Fivewin for £300 plus premium.
Talking of which, it was a bit of a black day for Bryan's. The first Windmill ever up for auction failed to make it's reserve (maybe on account of the very drab look of this particular example) and the Bran Tub also failed to find a new owner. Other Bryans machines (and there were several good ones) made respectable but not spectacular prices. Only the Retreeva (mechanism incomplete) lived up to former glories. Has the Bryan's bubble burst? Discuss.
"Quality will out" and this is where the record prices were set as always. Keen bidding against an American "celeb" collector took the Matthewson cast iron Footballer up to £18,600, but it was bought in the room, and will be staying in the UK.
The bizarre Drinking Babies two player arcade racing game, on the other hand, did make its way to the States. In fact the competition over there for this item was so strong, it prompted another British collector to sell his.
Overall, there were some excellent items and quite a few bargains (I took one home with me). If you weren't there, you should have been. There's a full illustrated list of sale results in the Arena.