July 21, 2008
Collection of jukeboxes, pinball machines auctioned
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Stephen Joseph of Cortland Auction Service auctions a collection of vintage jukeboxes, pinball machines and records Saturday at the Homer Fire Department’s community building. The items belonged to an 80-year-old repairman and were in his possession for 50 years.
HOMER — Jukebox and pinball machine aficionados at the Homer Fire Department’s Community Building Saturday morning made out well, bidding on vintage machines and parts for low prices at an auction.
About 20 people attended the specialized auction, which was held by Cortland Auction Service, a Homer-based company that started up about six months ago.
Auctions focused on old jukebox and pinball machines are not very common, said Pawling resident Taren Cummings, 64, taking place about once a year in the Northeast.
Part of the reason is people are not as interested in them anymore, he said.
“It’s a dying hobby,” Cummings said. “My kids could care less about jukeboxes.”
Nonetheless, the people that are interested in the hobby are often very passionate about it, he said.
Cummings, a former state trooper who has about 80 jukeboxes at home, successfully bid on an AMI jukebox from 1988 and some glass and other jukebox parts for repairs.
“I spent $188, big deal,” said Cummings, who had driven up to Homer on Friday to check out the auction’s contents.
He said he intends to sell the jukebox for a higher price after restoring it to its original condition.
Dozens of jukeboxes and pinball machines, thousands of records, and hundreds of thousands of jukebox and pinball parts were for sale Saturday. Almost everything sold, but for relatively low prices.
Cortland Auction Service Owner Stephen Joseph, of Homer, said after the auction he was pretty sure he made money on the auction, though he still had to do that math.
All of the items for sale Saturday belonged to an 80-year-old Rochester man who spent his life collecting and repairing jukeboxes and pinball machines.
Since the man was getting too old to continue his repairs, he decided to sell his items to Joseph, who he had met through Rochester auctioneer David Scata.
Joseph had never conducted a specialized auction before, but decided it would be a fun opportunity.
Over the last three months Joseph made between eight and nine trips to Rochester in a truck to bring items to Homer. “It was rough going back and forth,” he said.
He kept the items in storage units on Route 13 and in an empty house he owns in Homer. He advertised the auction on the Internet and in an auction publication that is distributed throughout the country.
While that did not work in bringing many people to the auction, Port Clinton, Pa., resident Scott “Scooter” Nester, 49, who traveled to Homer with his friend John Patterson, 64, of York, Pa., did not have a problem with it.
Nester had expected a 1959 Bally pinball machine with a target shooting and baseball theme would sell for between $300 and $400, but his $75 bid was the winning bid.
“I didn’t expect to take it home,” said Nester, who intends to fix up the machine and keep it.
Another successful bidder was Scranton-area resident Brian Wasenda, 48, who took away six 1950s jukeboxes and jukebox parts for about $300.
While he acknowledged fewer and fewer people seem to be interested in jukeboxes nowadays, he still believed that after repairs his company could resell the jukeboxes for a good price at some point.
“Like everything else, there’s peaks and valleys,” he said of the market.
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