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There once was a time when mere pocket change could buy you an entire afternoon of entertainment. By simply dropping a penny, nickel or quarter into the slot of a coin-operated machine, turn-of-the-century fun seekers could have their fortunes told, watch primitive motion pictures, listen to rhapsodic tunes from a mechanical band, or try their luck at gambling devices or games of chance.

slot machine

Circa-1904 Caille Bros. 5-cent Roulette floor-model slot machine with seven coin slots. Fresh to the market. Purchased from The Las Vegas Club in 1970s: estimate $200,000-$300,000.

Once found at saloons, hotel lobbies and oceanfront boardwalks all across America, antique coin-op machines are now sought-after collectors’ items – quaint reminders of an era when radio, television and video games were still mysteries of the future.

Mystic Swami

‘Mystic Swami’ fortune teller, ca.1954, When coin is inserted, animated Swami’s head and eyes lower, hands move over crystal ball and fortune card drops: estimate $15,000-$20,000.

Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania, has catered to pennywise collectors of mechanical music, gambling and vending machines since they opened their doors in 1997. Their next big coin-ops specialty sale, which also includes antique advertising, soda fountain and beverage collectibles, is set for November 3-5 and features more than 1,600 lots. 

You can still bring along your pocket change to test the machines, but it might take a wallet full of Benjamins to bring home some of the beauties you see here. For more information call 877-968-8880 or visit www.MorphyAuctions.com.

Upright slot machine

Mills Novelty Co., musical upright slot machine with eight-way coin head, made between 1900-1902: estimate $12,000-$24,000.

upright slot machine

Pre-Caille 5-cent ‘Puck’ floor wheel upright slot machine: estimate $12,000-$20,000.

Steinle’s Automatic Wonder Sandusky Clock

Steinle’s Automatic Wonder Sandusky Clock, turn of the 20th century. Five themes: the races of man, the four periods of life, angels, patriotism, and religion. Height: 117 inches. In need of restoration. Estimate $20,000-$40,000.

Circa-1942 Wurlitzer ‘Victory’ jukebox with beautiful Art Deco styling. Three slots for nickel, dime or quarter. Estimate $4,000-$8,000.

Circa-1942 Wurlitzer ‘Victory’ jukebox with beautiful Art Deco styling. Three slots for nickel, dime or quarter. Estimate $4,000-$8,000.

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