The Chicagoland Coin-Op Show, held November 13-15 in St. Charles, Illinois was one of the best to date.
What I love most about this show is the sheer quantity and variety of awesome items that show up. As the name implies that you'll find vintage coin-op items such as pinball machines, slot machines, gumball machines, and jukeboxes will show up. In reality, just about anything cool, odd, or unusual will show up. My favorite items are the old neon signs and vintage advertising.
This show is really two shows in one: the Friday parking lot show, and then the Saturday/Sunday show inside.
On Friday, dealers begin to open their trailers and vehicles up to unload their inventory very early in the morning. By 4:30 AM the parking lot is hopping with many dealers and collectors alike. This part of the day is high energy as new trailers are constantly opening up as the morning progresses. You also have to be prepared to step-up on items you like, as there are likely many other buyers right behind you. If you don't decide to buy immediately, there's a good chance it will be snapped up by someone else.
Once the sun rises, dealers begin to move inside the building to set up their booth. There are tons of items that never appeared outside, that begin to show up inside! So it's time to start running again to see new items as the pop up.
I've been going to the Coin-Op show for a number of years, and have been a dealer at the show since about 2010. I started out by selling "outside only" on Friday, and eventually upped my game to have a space inside over the rest of the weekend. Today, I easily full two booths, and could fill many more!
The next show will be held April 1-3rd (April 1st is Dealer Preview Day, General Public April 2nd-3rd). Be sure to come on out and shop!
Below are a couple of views of my outdoor booth at the show! Some of the items are still available in my store.
The "Drugs" Neon sign is a very nice porcelain example, and one I picked up from another dealer at the show. It's currently at the neon shop getting a new can, and glass made for it. It should look spectacular.
The "Radio" Neon sign is a double sided painted neon sign that I picked up around 5:30 AM at the show. I was picking up another sign from another dealer and when I spotted this in his booth a deal was quickly made. I wanted to be the one to bring this sign back to life, but another dealer really wanted it for a customer of his. This sign is already on its way back to life and to a new home in a Florida restaurant.