Saturday, July 17, 2010

Toy n Joy

When I was little, the trip to the local grocery store or K-Mart wasn't complete without a stop at the bank of vending machines near the front door. It was a rare occasion that my mother gave me a dime or quarter for the encapsulated treasures or gigantic gumballs, but that never stopped me from staring slackjawed at the possibilities. Later, when I had an allowance, I collected gumball machine prizes. Trolls (similar to the Dammit trolls, but smaller) and superballs are a couple I recall getting weekly.

Those memories came flooding back to me this morning. On my usual garage sale route, I found that the house I had bought the electronic games from was having another sale. I figured I'd stop in and see if there was anything I had missed or if the prices had been slashed.

Stepping inside, I immediately saw this to my right:

and this:



and this:


They were all labeled $10. As I was looking them over for the one in best condition, contemplating the price, one of the hosts of the garage sale came by and said I could have them all for $15. I was pretty sure I could sell at least one of them on eBay and get my money back, so I told him I'd take them.

At home, I was surprised how well they cleaned up; they had been extremely dusty. I noticed one of the machines still had some prizes inside, so after positioning them into the drop slots, I put in a dime and claimed my prize -- 2 $1000 bills! Alas, instead of Grover Cleveland, they sported a deer head. A clear tipoff they're not legal tender. The vending machine in the first picture is in very good shape and I would imagine it was in the middle of the bank. The second one is a little rougher and has some paint wear. I couldn't find any manufacturer's marks on the last one. It also appears to have been repainted.

Only the red and blue unmarked vending machine had a key, so I opened it up. Inside was a 1965 penny which is probably about right for the era. I thought it was a mistake that there was a penny inside, but after trying, I found it was indeed a penny vending machine. From the inner workings, it appears to have vended loose peanuts or candy -- the kind you'd get a handful of.

The seller had told me the other two didn't have keys, but he thought the locks could be opened with a screw driver. I tried one and sure enough, the lock turned and I was able to remove the front plate. I was happy to find a bunch of vending prizes in a bag inside the machine:


I also noticed on the inside of the coin mechanism:


I wonder if I could still take them up on their offer?

The other vending machine's lock is functional, so the screw driver failed to open it. I wonder how much it would cost to have a key cut for it...

The 2 Toy n Joy vending machines are both dime vend and made for toy capsules. As you can see, they are made by the L. M. Becker & Co in Appleton, Wisconsin. They are still in business and they are still selling the Toy n Joy vendors and stock. Looking over their inventory there's not much I could buy to make a profit from a dime a piece. I may order some capsules though and fill them with the prizes that came with the machines and whatever else I can find -- I think I still have some of those trolls...

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