When walking around a Pachinko parlor, you will see many dedicated players with thousands of balls stacked in trays beside them. What is the monetary value of each of these balls, you might think? Well, a Pachinko ball worth can be 4 yen, which rises to 4.32 yen after taxes.
However, recently some Pachinko parlors started offering balls for around 0.5 yen and 2 yen, so customers can enjoy playing for longer.
Buying Pachinko Balls
Want to buy balls for your pachinko machine? You don’t have to look far. eBay, Amazon, and thousands of other online stores list pachinko balls. They seem to be targeted at US and Canadian players — where most collectors and enthusiasts live.
Genuine pachinko balls come in batches of 1000. You must cough up less than $150 to get one batch at eBay. The tricky part is verifying the seller and ensuring that the balls are indeed real. Most of these balls are vintage machines. If you are looking to buy balls for your pachinko in Japan, just visit dedicated shops. Online shops are far cheaper and convenient if you plan to buy in bulk.
Worth of Balls at Pachinko Parlors in Japan
If you visit a pachinko parlor in Japan, you will find many players with buckets of balls. A lot of pachinko parlors in busy cities rent them out at ¥4 per ball. If you buy a small bucket of 100 balls, you can get a discount. Traditionally, each metallic pachinko ball can cost up to ¥10 to rent at the counter.
Exchanging Won Balls at the Pachinko Counter
Unlike casinos, pachinko parlors in Japan operate quite like forex bureaus. They rent out pachinko balls at ¥9-¥10 and buy them back at ¥4-¥5. It is a double sting – you can lose balls while playing pachinko. At the same time, the balls you rent out lose value when you have them.
Are Pachinko Machines Valuable?
Yes, pachinko machines can be incredibly valuable. Appraisers look at the pachinko’s age, year of manufacture, and whether it is modern or vintage. The condition and playfield features will affect the worth of the pachinko machine.
Today, you can buy both new and vintage pachinkos. If you are looking for high worth, go for vintage pachinko. They are highly regarded and valuable among collectors and players. You can spruce up the value of your property by adding vintage pachinko machines as décor or collectibles.
As for pricing, most pachinkos go for between $20 and $100. These are mid-range pachinkos. Rare and highly-sought-after pachinko machines can fetch more than $1,000. The average price for vintage machines is $350-$500.
Factors that Influence the Worth of Pachinko Machines
1. Condition of the Machine
The condition of the machine plays a big role in the value. Is the machine clean or dirty? You may get less price for a dirty machine because cleaning it takes a lot of time and the dirty machine also means that mechanical parts and levers may not move properly, or balls may not flow smoothly through the playfield.
Also, check whether the chrome on the front is shiny or rusty. Rust on the front is not attractive, and on the metal parts of the machine cause it not to function as intended. Is it still working?
The most valuable vintage pachinkos can still accept balls and work decades after being stored.
Operationality is a massive factor in pricing the pachinko. Most buyers don’t want to purchase something that needs tons of repairs.
A pachinko that is not operational can be repaired if you know what you’re doing. Excessive damage on a pachinko that doesn’t work in anything more than a stature. It is only good for disassembling parts. The bad news is that parts that aren’t working are valueless.
An operational machine is a key factor in the value. That’s because most buyers do not want to buy something to work on. Non-working machines can be fixed, but the repairs can cost much higher. Severely damaged machines are parts machines, and most buyers may buy them for the parts to get a working machine.
The playfield of a pachinko should be great-looking. However, there could be some cosmetic issues like the dark cloud shapes around some pins or pockets. Check whether the plastic laminate of the playfield is peeling off or intact. The machine with peeling laminate will soon be unplayable.
The majority of pachinkos have a primary feature – it could be one or more spinners, pay pockets, and tulips. The value of the machine may be determined by the many combinations of these attractive features. Does the main attraction move, light up, or have a theme?
How many tulips will glow as a ball goes through them? The more desirable the centerpiece feature, the more valuable the machine. What do the tulips and pay pockets do? How many attractive features are there?
Some pay pockets may open flowers, but the majority will just give you a jackpot. Tulips will open and close when balls pass through them. A special tulip may even open other tulips. Is there a side pocket on the field that opens and closes?
How Do You Date a Pachinko Machine?
Dating a Pachinko machine is not easy. The first thing to know is that there are no model years for pachinko machines. When a machine was ready for production, the manufacturers produced it and continued to produce them until sales declined. A Pachinko machine may be initially produced in 1973. Here is a method to help you date the Pachinko machine.
The first method to date a Pachinko machine is the expiration tags. The tags are affixed to the playfield with glue, a small nail, or a staple. These are certification stamps with the date that the Japanese Gaming Authority would affix when the machine was installed in the parlors. The date on the sticker is usually a year later than the date of manufacture because that was the period when various models were sold and certified.
Some machines have rectangular and circular tags showing the year the machine was certified. You may find the numbers 52 and 7 in small font on a sticker. The 52 is not 1952, but the Shōwa year 52. You need to convert this to find the actual year of manufacture. Add 1925 to the number, for instance here, 1925 + 52 = 1977, so the tag indicates 1977. That means the machine was likely manufactured in 1976 because 1977 is when it was to be removed from the parlor.
How Much Are Pachinko Balls Worth?
Pachinko machine uses small 11 mm diameter steel balls which are rented by the parlor owner to the players. Also, the players can purchase the balls at each machine using cash or prepaid cards. The pachinko balls can be worth anywhere from 4 yen up to 100 yen depending on the machine.
Pachinko game is quite addictive as it lets you win rewards in the form of balls to keep playing. People who are addicted to the game spend thousands every day and are not much bothered about the cost of the balls. Those tiny little steel balls juggling around the playfield can be worth 0.5 yen each. But when playing the game, you need hundreds of them, so they cost around 4 yen without taxes.
Is Plinko based on Pachinko?
Many people believe that the Plinko game is based on Pachinko, but it is not. Both these games are quite different from each other.
Pachinko is a Japanese game, a version of pinball with slots. This game gained popularity in the 1940s and today, Japan has more than 12,000 Pachinko parlors. To start playing the game, players need small metal balls that can be either purchased from the owner or insert cash/prepaid cards into the machine to obtain balls.
The lever helps you launch the balls in the machine and the balls jump around the playfield and some may land into the bonus areas. You get a chance to win more balls.
On the other hand, Plinko is a popular pricing game. In this game, the player gets a round flat disc, a Plinko chip. The player can earn up to 4 more chips using small prizes. The prizes are presented one at a time, each bearing a two-digit price with one incorrect digit. The player must decide which digit is correct to win another Plinko chip and the small prize.
The player then lays the earned chips flat at the top of the Plinko board.
The board has a field of pegs, with each row offset from the previous one. At the bottom of the board, there are nine slots with the values $100, $500, $1,000, $0, $10,000. The player aims for the prize and lines up the chips from where it can slide through the maze and land in the slot to win.
Can you exchange pachinko balls for money?
No, you cannot exchange pachinko balls for money at a pachinko parlor. That is against the gambling laws of Japan. The staff at the counter won’t give you cash money – instead, you will exchange the balls for prizes like candies.
How much are old pachinko machines worth?
Old pachinko machines are valued based on the age and condition. The appraiser may also consider the year and name of the manufacturer. If the vintage machine has fancy playfield features, they could skyrocket its worth.
Most old pachinko machines from the 1970s-80s are worth over $1,000. The rare ones can jump to $25,000.
How much is a pachinko ball worth in Japan?
A pachinko ball is worth 4 yen in Japan.