Pipe Dream

General vintage slot machine related topics.
roger
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:43 pm

Pipe Dream

Post by roger »

I have always searched for the "Holy Grail" although I've been less than successful. Applying this obsesssion to my
coin-op collection, I was constantly on the prowl for one-of-a-kind bargains.
When I first read about the Matthewson Yacht Race in the Forum I just knew I had to have one (in my price range)
WHAT A PIPE DREAM :HaHa: :HaHa:

There has not been anything posted about the Yacht Race for a long time.
Perhaps Mr. P. or some member has some current information.
Are there any other detailed pictures out there which you would care to share ???
I would be especially interested in viewing the INARDS.

And for a special treat, I would give an eye tooth just to see a video of this machine in an operating mode.
The written description wets one's appetite to actually view the machine in operation. ROGER
sweetmeats
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:33 am

Re: Pipe Dream

Post by sweetmeats »

I am afraid this a dream that can never be realised for the following reason - only one of these exists and is now in a collection in New York. This used to be owned by the late Bob Klepner, and was originally part of a consignment sold to Australia circa 1903 by Rollands, the only machines he ever sold as far as is known. All the remainder of these machines were operated in England, mostly on piers.

In about 1912 they were ALL converted to shooting games in three different styles. These conversions were done on site. Obviously trying to operate a machine containing water which would evaporate was not very practical. Also I have spoken people who played this machine when Bob owned it who say it was hard to win and each game took far too long to complete. I have some pictures of the machine taken when Bob owned it. I will post later (I need my son's help!).

My pipe dream machine would be the Holy Grail machine - the Palmer's Cycle Racer. I have seen this machine on postcards on several piers and tea gardens and hotels and other locations. I am not aware that any survive, but maybe??? *See The Undiscovered - Site Admin.
sweetmeats
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:33 am

Re: Pipe Dream

Post by sweetmeats »

Son now home so pictures now added.
Mermaid 120210720_18484333.jpg


Mermaid 120210720_19045553.jpg


Mermaid 120210720_18434696.jpg

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gameswat
Posts: 1998
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:17 am
Location: perth, australia

Re: Pipe Dream

Post by gameswat »

The game was soooooo slow! Bob and I played for over 3 or 4 mins easily and gave up half way through the game due to arm fatigue! It really takes some skill to constantly keep the wind direction arrow that sticks out above each globe pointing into your tiny little cloth sail. And all the time madly pumping the lever with other hand to keep the bellows working. Of course because his machine didn't get played that often it might also be the case the mech was getting gummed up and that could also partly account for the yachts moving so slowly? We talked about it though and he said it was always a terribly slow game. And there was also certainly some wear and tear to the mechs that didn't help anything.

Sweetmeats you mentioned the fact these were converted on location. But having seen most of the conversion models and worked on several I find that totally impossible to believe! This wasn't something simple like a "slide out - slide in" deal......but a complicated job that would have taken days to complete correctly. Back when video games were often revamped with plug in circuit boards using generic universal harnesses in the 1980's we converted hundreds and not once did we even imagine trying to do so on location, and these were at least 100 times more easy than what they did. In fact I never even heard of an Aussie operator doing so. There were just always many issues you didn't imagine that popped up. I'm sure they likely converted one or two Yacht Races at a time and then swapped each for an unconverted example.
sweetmeats
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:33 am

Re: Pipe Dream

Post by sweetmeats »

I agree that gameswat's suggestion that each machine was worked on "off site" and then swapped over on location is much more likely.
roger
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:43 pm

Re: Pipe Dream

Post by roger »

Thanks to Bob's friends we now have the inside dope on the Matthewson Yacht Race.
Firstly, thanks to sweetmeats for the pictures. It was comforting to hear that he needed his son's help in order to post them on the Forum. I was beginning to think I was the only one left from the dark ages.
Gameswat's first hand account of the operation of the machine explains why it must have been an operator's nightmare. :shock:

From all the posts on the Forum I could not determine who sold the Yacht Race to Bob. Perhaps Bob's friends can also clear up some of my other questions.
Where was the sale held and why was it such a closely held secret? Was there any scuttlebut among members of the Forum of the impending sale? Did the Yacht Race have a great depth of interest and what was the selling price?
What were the other items in the sale?

Seems like I'll have to wait for the present owner to pass on so as to achieve my "Pipe Dream"... Since I am 95 this may be pushing my luck... !!DIG!! ROGER
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moonriver
Posts: 711
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:56 am

Re: Pipe Dream

Post by moonriver »

At your age Roger I imagine you've seen and done everything worth doing.
There is however still time for you to liquidate your assets, sell the house and car and make a cash offer large enough that it can't be refused. Don't worry about paying over the odds, it's only money and you can't take it with you.
You can then always be remembered down the local bar as 'that guy that sold everything at 95 and bought a Yacht Race'.
I'm sure your family will be supportive.
roger
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:43 pm

Re: Pipe Dream

Post by roger »

Thanks moonriver for your advice....I just showed your posting to my kids and it put them in panic mode. :!: :shock:

Seems like they have already spent the money............ROGER
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gameswat
Posts: 1998
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:17 am
Location: perth, australia

Re: Pipe Dream

Post by gameswat »

Roger, Bob tells the story here about how the Yacht Race was discovered and it's life before he purchased it. Discovery and Dispersal of the Holden Collection in Adelaide, Australia.
And more about all the Matthewson machines here: Matthewson (Automatic Sports Co.) games

I don't think Bob ever got around to explaining how he purchased the machine on this site. It was before I'd met him, in the mid 1980s. It came to auction and he wanted it very badly. So badly he'd already arranged a possible second mortgage on his house to pay for it, and he then needed! But he ended up bidding against the Australian Powerhouse Museum, which would compare to the Smithsonian in the USA. Eventually he went above his limit and then finally had to make himself stop, but the museum bid one more time which I think landed at a round figure, Bob was heartbroken not be the high bidder, but then his wife Bev knowing how much he coveted the thing stuck her hand up on his behalf, and she's quite tiny, the Powerhouse must have already hit their limit at the round number, and she won the machine for him! He said the crowd cheered her incredible victory. @&@ I seem to remember he told me it was a world record price at the time for an arcade machine.

As for Bob eventually selling in 2004, he had no intention of ever letting it go. Until David Copperfield found out about it and made a huge offer, as Bob said to me later, a life changing amount for a retiree! It was by far the world record for any coin-op then, though actually quite low compared to these days. But having said that, when he did the deal the exchange rate was 50 cents AUD = $1 USD dollar, which made the US dollar offer double the amount in Aust dollars! And amazingly after making the deal on the phone that Monday, the money arrived in his bank on the Friday, and believe it or not on that same day our dollar dropped to it's all time low of 48cents Aud = $1 USD, which made him quite a few more thousands!! If he'd told me of the offer before he sold the machine I'd have talked him into upping the price, as his wife tried to make him do. But Bob had never collected most of them for the monetary value so I guess that was the least of his thinking. In fact I was the first person outside of his family that he told a good six months after the fact. He'd been sworn to secrecy about the deal as Copperfield until that time had been hoovering up the best machines for peanuts and did not want it known. When the machine arrived David rang Bob to tell him it was so much better than he'd imagined from the photos and by far the star of his collection. I think the only thing Copperfield did was to replace the fairly modern backing mirror with a patinated antique original.
Last edited by gameswat on Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
sweetmeats
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:33 am

Re: Pipe Dream

Post by sweetmeats »

I can tell you how David Copperfield came to know about and buy the yacht racer. A friend of mine at the time who was a professional photographer who lived in Deal had a daughter who was a magician working in Vegas. While visiting her she was approached by David to introduce him to her father who she had said was interested in penny machines and knew of two Mattherson shooters in Deal. David is not a well liked person by many people and so he did not want the "free meal" offered but his daughter explained as a magician working in Vegas this would not be helpful to her career. The meal took place and after being quizzed most the evening about the machines my friend said words to the effect of, "surely someone with your money would want an original machine not a conversion!" Somewhat taken aback, David asked what he meant. He than went on to explain the comment to which David asked if any were known. My friend before moving to England used to live in Australia and had been friends with Bob so agreed to contact him and offer to put him in touch with David. The agreed sale quickly followed. Bob also told me that it was a life changing sum he could not refuse. He subsequently sold most of his collection, mainly to the States, although I bought his Indian head mutoscope. I think he reasoned having parted with "the jewel in the crown" the others could go. I understand he got absolute top dollar for them, most going to a collector from the west coast. I saw most of these when I visited him and where I met gameswat who was helping restore his collection at the time.
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