We agreed upon a price (I think it was around $500.00) and before I could load the games, he took me for a tour of his house. We went upstairs and he showed me the games that replaced these. There were two large televisions, side by side. Each one had a NES, Super NES and Sega Genesis with the CD hooked up. On the right and left were large bookshelves filled with games for the systems. As was the case downstairs, all the games were in duplicate. There must have been four hundred games on each book shelf, with a total of 800 plus games. I looked around at the guy's very modest house and realized he was spending all his money on video games. I was floored when I started thinking how much money he spent and and how he could have saved if he taught the boys how to share. I gave him a business card and told him to call me when he decided to move up to the next generation of game systems.
While there were no extremely rare games, the bulk and condition more than made up for it. It did fill up the back seat and trunk of my car and made me glad the trip was not too far as I could barely see out the back window of the car. The last thing I wanted to do is try to explain to a police office why I had a car full of video games.
Everything But The Games
I will start with one that I collected and for a moment there, had a large collection of. That is arcade marquees. Also known as headers, these pieces of arcade memorabilia are among the rarest and least expensive collectibles. The arcade machines were made in very limited quantities with the more popular games in the tens of thousands and some games in the hundreds. While some games like Pac-Man had sales of 400,000 or more cabinets, it is the more the exception than the norm. Take a game like Q*Bert, a very popular arcade game. Think it sold a ton of cabinets and you would be wrong. While alot of arcade cabinets were made (over 25,000), you can see how limited the marquees are. Take a game like Zookeeper and you have around 3,000 cabinets sold. Now you are seeing a very rare piece of memorabilia. Not only were few made, but how many were destroyed? Not every arcade machine that died was stripped for parts. Many were thrown away whole.
There are a few problems with collecting marquees. The first one is the cost of having them shipped. Sure, you can win a marquee on ebay for $10.00 or less, but it can cost that much or more to have it shipped to you. They are heavy (some are made of heavy glass) and bulky. They require odd sized boxes and lots of bubble wrap to arrive unbroken. So expect to add $10.00 or more to your cost for shipping. And if you get a strange marquee like Dragon's Lair or Space Ace, you may be paying quite a bit more.
The second problem is displaying them. You can prop them up against a wall or put them above a doorway, but expect them to fall and they can not only break, but hurt you. With some imagination and a trip to the hardware store, you can come up with some good display ideas. Just be prepared to put holes in the wall.
One of the best things about the marquees is the artwork. While some only have text, the majority have good to great artwork. Some of my favorites are Crazy Climber, Jungle King and Centipede.
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