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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Mills late 30s Bursting Cherry


Roger, Hi, I have been actively involved in repairing vintage timepieces for 30+ years. When I was at the various Antique shows buying/selling I always was fascinated by the antique slots. It was only a matter of time before one followed me home. It was an impulse buy which usually works out terribly but I think this worked out well. I visually checked the mechanism with photos from a website that compared a reproduction to a genuine unit and it does appear to be genuine Mills Bursting cherry quarter slot with a s/n that dates it to the late 30s. I purchased a number of the Mills repair reprints to help familiarize myself with the mechanism. I did have a question regarding the function of the 'check detector lever' and the 'check detector operating arm'. What exactly was the function and how it interacted with the entire mechanism? My unit was missing the check detector lever but then I read in the Mills repair guide that it was better to remove it for home use?On several online sites I also noted that the lever had been removed from some mechanisms? Anyway thanks for your time and help...Robert

Hi Robert,

Sorry but my computer is broken and I am waiting for a part to come today to fix it. Right now I am using a very old-old-old lap top so I can't even see the screen on and it does a lot of weird things, it but lets see how it goes here. Very good question and a very nice machine! In the early days some states did not allow a machine to pay out in real coins. The could payout in tokens but not in real coins. So they made machines that could separate the real coins from the tokens or checks as they are sometimes called. This involved several parts and not just the check detector lever. So on later machines like yours you will still have this lever but most likely all the other parts are not there. The tokens or checks as there called are a coin of the same size but has a large hole in the center of each one. As a real coin or a token is played this token lever will move in to since the coin. If it is a token in play the lever will pass through the hole and see that it is a token, so it will allow the coin to pass and move on down to the coin tube and be deposited into the coin tube for a future payout, it the token lever hit a real coin with no hole in it, it would direct that coin for movement right to the cash box thus removing it from future play, so it would never be used for a future payout. Thus you could use real coins or tokens for play but the machine would only pay you in tokens and never in real coins. Why is this token lever still on later machines is a good question, I would guess it was easy not to change the design of the coin escalator and just leaving it on did not interfere with anything, and also if someone needed to order parts or a new coin escalator for a token machine the replacement part would fit that machine as it would fit the later machines also. If you see a long metal coin shoot with several small holes in it, going down the backside of your jackpot which would most likely not be on yours, this is some of the hardware so the real coins to be directed right to the cash-box, and there was another shoot I think that was attached to the top casting and going to the coin escalator which would allow the real coin to be removed from play and it would run down through these shoots to end up in the coin box and the tokens would be routed the normal way they are on later machines to remain in play. If you would like to send photos of you machine so I could tell you if you had any of the other token equipment I would be happy to look them over for you, and you could email them to: You are wise to really do your home work on this war eagle, as they are copied more then the rest out there but from what you tell me, I believe you have a good original one also. So, your a clock guy? Ever hear of a Wizard Clock, a mantel clock that is really a disguised trade stimulator that takes nickels and pays out trade tokens and still keeps good time? I have one, very cool old item.

Thank You

Rodger Knutson

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Rodger Knutson


I am an expert on old coin operated machines, slot machines, trade stimulator's, jukeboxes, old arcade machines, etc. I have been identifying these for people who respond to my web site listed below, for a few years now. In almost all cases I am able to tell them about their old coin operated machines, the year, the value, and other general information about their machines. I do not know much about soda vending machines, coin banks, or scales, but I will try to help you with these if I can. Please email photo's to: My web site is at:


I bought my first slot machine, a .50 Cent Mills Black Cherry in 1969 and have been hooked from that time, I still have that Slot machine! Before that I found a open barrel full of old scraped jukebox wall boxes behind a restaurant, I wanted them all but never took a one of them. Anything that took a coin drove me nuts!

C.O.C.A. and other slot and coin operated machine groups, associations, groups, and clubs.

Many, the Coinslot magazine, always juken, Coin Slot Journal, Slot Box Collector, and others that I don’t remember at this time.

Graduated from Ballard High School in 1969, went to Edison Technical Collage for a couple of years taking welding and metal fabrication, tig, mig, heliarc, also arc and gas welding and fabrication. Then Apprenticed under a slot machine technician who worked in the slot machine industry Reno Nevada, and set up bar poker progressive machines in the casino's, and repaired machine and did the repairs on slot machine circuit boards there. He also was involved in the 2 hand dealer's market and bought and sold machines at the casinos auctions for the secondary market, which includes selling used machine overseas. I learned a ton from this man; he always had the correct answers and took the time to teach me the business. My interest and knowledge in other and older coin operated machine is for the most part, self-taught. It's been my passion from back in 1968 and before, my thirst for knowledge about these machines has kept me more interested over the years, and keeps me searching for more information even today. I have meet and talked to book authors on these machines, attended hundreds of coin operated shows and auctions, and I stay with that to this very day.

Awards and Honors
Take a look at my allexperts rating, and my guest book, links to these are at Also you can check my 100 percent rating on ebay, as I have been there with ebay from their day one, I am user coinslots at ebay. My other awards come from the very people that I deal with, I always make them happy, no matter what it takes, but they always are happy anyway as the countless thank you letters testify to me, so I know I am doing right, and the best I can. I have found so many hard to find parts for people, I hunt them down and don't stop until I find what is needed to get that customers machine running again and back to life, that is my main goal.

Past/Present Clients
Client privacy prevents this answer, as some are VIP and famous and I will not betray the trust.

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