Once again, foreign buyers rubbed elbows with American collectors attending the huge semi-annual Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot Machine and Juke Box Show in St. Charles, Ill., Nov. 10-12.
As one dealer noted, however, this time the foreigners definitely had the advantage.
An oddball 1930s two-reel slot machine changed hands quickly for $4,200 at the November show.
“With the American dollar so weak right now against the euro,” said John Papa, a noted for high-end coin operated devices dealer, “they’re basically paying half price for everything.
“Overseas buyers were very eager to buy,” he added, “and for the first time the Canadians came in with an exchange advantage. Forever it’s been the other way around. Suddenly they’re in the driver’s seat.”
Three-year-old Adam Sheedy steps on a coin-operated scale offered at the November show.
One overseas buyer, Ben F. Franse, of Bennie’s Fifties, who traveled from the Netherlands, is a 30-year show veteran. He filled a 40-foot ship container with items purchased at the show. He said he “specializes in juke boxes,” but also was buying pinball machines, Coke machines and, “all kinds of Americana” for his shop and showroom. When the show ended, the goodies were shipped home, a trip estimated to take at least three weeks.
Weak dollar or not, American buyers also out and made their presence known on the trading floor.
Ben F. Franse (right) traveled to the show from the Netherlands check out coin op machines including this group of pinball machines offered by Mike Nogle of Great American Pinball, West Chicago, Ill.
Dealer B.J. Pawlaczk of AuGres, Mich., who specializes in high-ticket restored rare vintage boat motors, was all smiles when a Florida buyer walked into his booth and bought his entire display.
“Michael Dezer of Classic Motors in Miami flew to St. Charles in his private jet,” said Pawlaczk. “He said he would buy everything if I would deliver it to Florida – and I told him it would be my honor."
Sold tags were posted on all the restored outboard motors shown by B.J. Pawlaczk, AuGres, Michigan.
The deal included 16 restored motors and stands, a custom boat coffee table, advertising pieces and various other nautical items.
Lightning struck twice for Pawlaczk as he visited a nearby local Illinois collector and purchased an, “extremely rare Evinrude half-horse motorbike, complete with original paint, that looked almost like new.”
“It’s the only one I’ve ever seen complete,” he said when he brought it back to the show, “and it’s sure catching lot of looks.”
Shoppers could also take home a life-size hand carved wooden Indian, complete with slot machine installed in the torso, offered by Bob Delong of Johnsonburg, Penn. The Indian was priced at $6,995, with other figures such as a knight in armor and an Al Capone look-alike available at the same spot.
Sue Razoog and 10-year-old daughter Hayley check out the hand carved Indian slot machine priced $6,995 at the Chicagoland Show.
Another Ohio dealer, Paul Voska of Ferrysburg, attracted marble collectors with his Akro Agates marble set, complete with original box. The 54-marble set was said to be “mostly oxblood,” and included the carry pouch and a price tag of $5,000.
Pool player traffic stopped at the booth of Todd Dowdedite of Ortonville, Mich., where restored vintage slate bottom tables were featured. Two different models, circa 1880s-1900s, could be set up at home for $14,000 and $15,000.
The dealer said he “enjoyed the show” and added that he had, “about 60 more tables at his warehouse north of Detroit.”
Popcorn and Coca-Cola go together and they were both featured in coin-operated machines brought to the Show by Steve Mumma of West Des Moines, Iowa. An all original 5-foot-tall Vendo 44 Coke machine could cool soda at your place for $4,495, while a 6-foot-tall late 1930s restored Pop-O-Matic could make a fresh batch of popcorn for $5,000.
Dealer Mary Dulmag admires an all original Vendo 44 Coke Machine, priced $4,495, and brought to the show by Steve Mumma of West Des Moines, Iowa.
Collecting gumball and peanut machines is a family affair for Randy Razoog, wife Sue and daughter, 10-year-old Haley, who traveled from Grand Rapids, Mich., to buy and sell. They offered a 22-inch-tall Peerless penny-drop gumball machine combining gambling and vending action for $1,695 and a 1920s Grandbois gumball machine made in Kalamazoo for $295.
Among the thousands of shoppers that filled the isles, Kelly McIntosh and Alan McDougall traveled from Keyport, N.J — with a mission: They were seeking – and found – an outside housing or skin for their 1939 Coke vending machine.
The pair said the “14-hour drive was well worth it,” and added they were glad they paid the $50 per person entry fee for early buying on Friday, Nov. 9. Regular admission was $7 per person on Saturday and Sunday.
“Tuning up” a coin operated trade stimulator was part of the pre-show tasks performed by Al Louck of Oquawka, Ill.
The spring show will once again be held April 4-6 at Pheasant Run Resort 35 miles west of Chicago.
For more information, call 847-244-9263, or 815-353-1593. You can also go online to www.chicagolandshow.com.