Father-Son Duo’s Vintage Amusement Arcade Machine Collection Hits $100,000 Jackpot At Auction

A father and son from England hit the jackpot with their collection of over 80 vintage arcade machines. The 82-piece collection, which spans the history of amusement machines from the invention of the slot machine in the 1890s through to the 1970s, sold for over $100,000 at Hansons Auctioneers.

Vintage arcade machines
Vintage arcade machines. (credit: Hansons Auctioneers)

Ken Jackson, 89, and his son Stewart Jackson, 49, spent the past 34 years rescuing and restoring these machines to their former glory. Their dedication and craftsmanship did not go unnoticed during the auction, as bidders from France, Belgium, Ireland, and the United Kingdom vied for a piece of this nostalgic collection at Hansons Auctioneers. The collection brought in $101,896.

The star of the show was a Jennings Prospector 1946 Club Console Machine, which fetched an impressive $8,915. This machine, emblazoned with “Nevada Club” and boasting a jackpot of $1,000 in coins, was first introduced in 1946. Another standout was a rare 1970 Bryans Works Penny Go Round, one of only two or three known to exist, which hammered at $7,005.

Other notable sales included a Chicago-made Bally Manufacturing Company Reliance Dice 1936 Craps Game ($4,330), a Bryans Works Double Decker 1969 wall coin pusher ($2,802), and a 1950 Pee Jay Manufacturing Company Steer-a-Ball ($2,037).

“Life can be a gamble but the Jacksons’ lifelong love for slot machines proved to be a winner,” says Charles Hanson, owner of Hanson Auctioneers. “It was a fantastic sale of an iconic collection. These beautiful works of art lit up the saleroom. They showcased decades of design.”

The journey began when Stewart Jackson, as a child, became fascinated by seaside slot machines during family trips to Blackpool, Skegness, and Torquay. At the age of 10, he even built his own primitive slot machine out of cardboard and wood. While Ken didn’t initially share his son’s passion for penny arcades, he discovered a love for the restoration process.

In 1990, when Stewart was 15, they purchased their first machine, a 1961 Mills Bell-O-Matic Spanish Gold one-armed bandit (sold at auction for $1,655). However, when they got it home, it wouldn’t work. Undeterred, they took the machine apart, piece by piece, photographing each step. Eventually, they managed to get it working correctly, and Ken found that he enjoyed restoring machines to their former glory.

Neither Ken nor Stewart had a background in mechanical engineering, but Ken’s skills as a cabinetmaker proved invaluable in restoring the cabinets. They learned the mechanical aspects as they went along, with Stewart’s interest in design and technology at school providing a foundation for problem-solving.

On average, each machine took about two months to restore, with some taking longer and others shorter. As the collectors’ market grew, finding vintage machines became increasingly difficult. However, the Jacksons persevered, ensuring they always had space in their homes to house their beloved collection.

Mills Novelty Company Dewey 1898 floor roulette machine
Mills Novelty Company Dewey 1898 floor roulette machine. (credit: Hansons Auctioneers)

Now, at the age of 89, Ken has decided it’s time to downsize, and unfortunately, Stewart’s home isn’t large enough to accommodate the entire collection.

“Obviously, because of all the work and effort we have put in on the machines, we wanted them to go to good homes where they would be loved and well cared for,” explains Ken Jackson.

The success of the auction demonstrates the enduring appeal of these vintage amusement machines, which have become stylish must-haves in modern homes celebrating a golden age.

“Vintage amusement machines have become a new stylish must-have in modern homes celebrating a golden age,” concludes Hanson. “The first one-armed bandit appeared in San Francisco in 1895 invented by Charles August Fey but, as this auction shows, they’re still on trend today.”

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