In full disclosure, we collectors are an odd lot. My wife thinks I’m a bit wacko, but she tolerates my passion, as long as I don’t spread machines into the kitchen, bedrooms or bathrooms. That’s why I built a 2,000 square foot arcade with 13 feet high ceilings. After all, we must have a screw loose when we go banana over that amazing unusual piece- that we’ve been searching for years. There are few things as fun as putting together a great collection- as well as the adventures, relationships and tale of the hunt. But, at the end of the day, it is “stuff”, yet we attempt to balance acquisition with quality of life, good health, family and long-term relationships!
While much of my energy goes into sports and table tennis competition- I still immensely enjoy the “art” of collecting- and have been a collector for most of my life, although penny arcade, automatons, baranger motions and automatic music the last 20 years.
I started collecting coins and stamps when I was 7 or 8 years old, and went on hiatus while I attended college and was building my executive search business. When I turned 50, I didn’t go out and buy a shiny new yellow corvette convertible or chase women, I discovered coin-op- and became absolutely possessed- a collector on steroids! While I still enjoy the hunt and finding a great addition, the dreaded disease “out-of-space-itis” has hit me too. But I make room for something terrific, although something has to leave and make space.
Clearly, getting together with and sharing the passion with other collectors adds a lot of enjoyment. Attending national and regional conventions, entertaining collectors in my venue and traveling to distant lands adds enjoyment, knowledge and contacts. In the last several years, we’ve attended functions in London, and all over the U.S.- from New York to Phoenix to Princeton to Seattle to South Dakota, San Francisco, Atlanta, Georgia, North Carolina and on. While I am primarily known as a collector of 1900- 1960’s penny arcade coin-op machines, mechanical advertising window displays, Baranger Motions, and automatic music devices (e.g. Dave Ramey Banjo Orchestra and 1920 Wurlitzer LX), I also like Polk figure slot machines, neons and elegant devices.
If anyone has an unusual tales of the hunt to share, I’d love to hear from you. If you’ve squirreled away a cool old coin-op cigar machines or multi-motion automaton or built your own Baranger Motions collection, I’d love to compare notes. Once in a while cool trades can be made or I’m ready to sell, or visa-versa. If I’ve learned anything, timing is everything.