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Automatic Sports Company machines

Postby badpenny » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:51 pm

Hi Tom Arcade and welcome to the forum.

Wowsers you've certainly come knocking with a bit of a gem.
I've never seen one .....
If anyone has one it wouldn't surprise me, but they've kept it quiet, so best of luck.
I found this on YouTube, and found it quite amusing. It looks like something from a Monty Python sketch.

ETA This one sounds like yours? If so the estimate was a bit wide of the mark wasn't it?

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Re: Automatic Sports Company Golf machine help needed

Postby coppinpr » Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:59 pm

Well here is a rarity. I've never seen one either! Closest I've been is the football variation we had for sale at the last Coventry auction. Finding parts and even advice might be hard for this one
http://www.mechanicalmemoriesmagazine.c ... 4588485945

We commented on the hand knitted jerseys on the football machine, well there they are again. What a machine!

The other machines made by Automatic Sports Co. were Yacht racer, Shooting Big Game, Marksman, Cricket, and a six man version of the football game. I think the last was Big Game in 1912.
cricket machine.jpg
The Cricket machine
cricket machine.jpg (6.64 KiB) Viewed 2126 times

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Re: Automatic Sports Company Golf machine help needed

Postby tom arcade » Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:30 pm

Thanks for the nice comments on the machine. It has a tremendous presence but a proper stand would make it even more of a standout. I know parts, stand, etc may be impossible to find but I have had some strange luck on some US machines so I figure it is worth asking.

Yes, the machine pictured on the you tube video is the one I bought. I had never seen the golf version before, but was aware of the football by ASC. Once I saw it available in the auction, I had a dilemma: who to ask about the machine and how much is it worth without tipping anyone off to the machine. The auction house mainly sells furniture, paintings,etc and this was the only coin operated machine they have sold. So I was hoping not many people saw it. The auction was only 4 hours from where I live but as luck would have it, I had a coin op trip scheduled - the annual COCA convention in California. I got set up for phone bidding and literally was bidding at the home of a collector who has a huge arcade in his home. I had to step outside as all the machines playing made it difficult to hear.

As far as the comment about exceeding the auctioneer estimate, I knew the machine had to be quite valuable. I did not want to ask in my initial post, but any information as to past sale prices of other machines by ASC (cricket, golf, football) would be appreciated. Any guesses as to how many survivors there are of these great machines would be welcome also?

The history of this machine is that it was found in the attic of golf country club in Michigan in the '70s. If you can believe this, no one wanted it and one woman said she would take it as her mom collected antiques. It has been with that family ever since.

Looking closer at the football machine, I see that the marquee states that your coin is returned when a goal is scored. The golf machine marquee states that the coin is returned when a ball goes in hole 3. I tried some steel balls and put in hole 3, but do not know how the coin would be returned. I see the coin return slot, but do not know how this would mechanically happen. Perhaps someone with a football machine could shed some light on this.\n Thanks in advance for any help and information on this machine.


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Re: Automatic Sports Company Golf machine help needed

Postby gameswat » Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:25 pm

Tom, once this was advertised online the whole world knew it was up for auction. I wasn't looking or in the market but was told well beforehand through the collector network. I mentioned to a local friend who decided to bid just in case it went reasonably due to the missing base and other issues, but quickly doubled his max. And a terrible exchange rate right now for Aussies to buy overseas. The big issue is re-casting that hollow base, which is a lot of work for an expert in foundry pattern making.

The original marquees for these machines were much smaller and ornate to match the cases. The tall cast marquees on both the Football and Golf machines with figures either side were much later additions, presumably by Rowland when he took over operating the machines in the 1920s or '30s. They always seem to contain the Rowland enamel instruction plates. I find the style of those marquee and lettering very modern when compared to the rest of the Victorian case.
mathewson 6 man football.jpg

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Re: Automatic Sports Company Golf machine help needed

Postby john t peterson » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:45 am


Welcome to the best site going for assistance on that great golf machine. I've not seen one before but the style of the game (shooting a ball into a hole and getting a coin back in reward) is identical to the "Cricket" by the same manufacturer. As a member of COCA, you have access to many knowledgeable members in the US. One in particular, an advanced collector in Pasadena, California (maybe you saw his collection?) has one or more of the Cricket games. He's quite approachable and if willing, could help you with the issues of the size of the balls necessary for play as well as the mechanism.

Good luck and keep us apprised!

And welcome aboard.

John Peterson
Fellow American collector of British whimsy !!USA!!

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Re: Automatic Sports Company Golf machine help needed

Postby bob » Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:09 am

I beg to differ with my compatriot Rory/Gameswat. Whilst the tall marquees for the Matthewson Football machines are a later addition, possibly by Rowlandson, I believe that the Golf machine had the tall marquee from the very start.
This is rather difficult to prove conclusively as there is no separate patent for the Golf machine as it is based on the football patent.However, I have never come across a Golf machine that did not have the tall marquee, either here in Australia or elsewhere. Similarly in my quite large collection of postcards showing coin op machines on location on British piers etc., all the Golf machines have the tall marquees in the very early 1900's, alongside the Matthewson Football machines with their smaller marquees.
I agree that the tall Football marquee does not have the style and charm of the original marquees but feel that Golf marquee does have some of the style and care that the original marquees on the Football machines have. There is also a tall marquee for the six man footballer that I have only ever seen one illustration of which does attempt a bit more style.
Interestingly the Golf marquee has two figures which I have also thought were based on the appearance of Matthewson himself and look very early 1900's in appearance and fashion unlike the tall Football marquees.
I will also attach an advertisement by Arnold and Sons for Matthewson Sports machines which comes from a Bolland scrapbook that John Gresham had. Braithwaite lists the Arnold machines as having appeared in 1922. I have never come across the Cricket or Football machines illustrated here which appear to be in wooden cabinets with different marquees again. Interestingly the Golf machine unlike the other two is in its original form with the tall marquee.
Has any reader here ever sighted any of these "Arnold/Matthewson" machines or found reference to them anywhere else?
Matthewson Golf Close Up.jpg
Matthewson Golf Close Up.jpg (26.23 KiB) Viewed 1827 times
Matthewson Football Match.jpg
Matthewson Football Match.jpg (25.03 KiB) Viewed 1827 times
Matthewson 3 Sports machines Arnold & Sons ad507.jpg
Matthewson Football Tall Marquee 1.jpg
Matthewson Football Tall Marquee 2.jpg
Last edited by bob on Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Automatic Sports Company Golf machine help needed

Postby gameswat » Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:53 am

Great info Bob! I agree the Golf has a much more integrated marquee and the other Football marquees you show in the old photo and advert are a better fit than the very modern looking example. But in phone conversation you stated a much later production date for the Golf than in most if not all the books, making it well and truly not a Victorian machine with a date of 1912 or so? Strange they didn't maker a unique golf themed case to match the game? I can believe a date like that for the Golf marquee but the Victorian frilly cases were looking dated even by then so could it be these Golf machines were revamped cases from an over-supply of Football machines? The same way they recycled Mermaid Yacht Race cases into pistol games? I've always found the pistols on top of a naked woman to be a strange mix for sure! The castle style bases they made for shooting games were a much better fit.

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