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Old 10-27-2009, 11:29 PM
swampwiz swampwiz is offline
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Default Anybody gone through bankruptcy?

Soon I am going to be going through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Alas, the legislators in my state have not had the good judgement to exempt pins, so my 19 boys will be subject to be removed and sold by the trustee.

Anyway, as I understand it, the trustee is only interested in whatever funds could be generated by the sale of such personal items of the debtor, and is always is the mood to let the debtor buy back the items post bankruptcy. The question then becomes how much the pins would be worth at auction, then minus the costs of transporting them from my home or storage (which in my case would be hundreds of miles away) and paying the auctioneers fees, etc. As I doubt that the typical trustee has had any experience with liquidating a debtor's pin, I'd like to be able to present the trustee with an honest assessment of the expectation of the net amount that would be generated from selling my pins. Some good news in general is that regular household furnishings that would be sold for maybe $200 or so at a used furniture store are never taken by a trustee as they would not be worth the trouble. I am hoping that my pins are not considered to be worth the trouble as well. Of course, bankruptcy attorneys are not much help when it comes to this, as it is quite rare that someone with a pin goes bankrupt (usually the pinball owner thins his herd to avoid bankruptcy.)

My pins are generally the old electro-mechanicals, or some early digitals. Most are in very good cosmetic condition, but of course I'd like to tell the trustee that they are in "typical" condition. As for the working condition, well, my story becomes a bit complex. About half the machines were rescued out of my flooded house (after a few months of being in a home that was open to hot humid air) in November 2005 (i.e., Hurricane Katrina), and put into a regular storage garage. I have purchased the other half in the 2 years or so following, sometimes with me actually being able to play the machine to see that it would play substantially well, and in other cases, taking the sellers word for it, and putting them into storage as well. I have not been able to actually set up the machines and see if they work (and actually of the ones I had owned before the flooding, many of them had some quirks.) And as I will be buying a home immediately before filing bankruptcy, I would not be able to get the machines set up to see if they would still run after all the environment, travel and storage, although I may after the 30 days that would take place after the formal bankruptcy filing date when I would meet with the trustee.

I fully expect less than half to be properly playing without any fixing. Of course, I would not do any work to actually fix the machines if they would just be taken from me, and would leave them in their non-working state. But I would like to keep them, and would like to be able to present the trustee with evidence of how much could be expected in auction (for a working machine or not - I am not sure if an auctioneer would even bother putting the machine together and plugging it in - and I could always leave the machines in pieces to make it more difficult for the auctioneer, etc.)

I figure that the net return for a pin would be the typical auction price minus the auction commission minus the costs of moving and doing whatever setup would be required. If I could find out what the typical value and costs are for these parameters, I could present this to the trustee and just say that I will pay this amount times 19 just to keep the machines.

One good piece of data that I got was that a substantially working Jumping Jack only fetched $60 (http://tinyurl.com/yg78dcb). This is less than the $200 or so that furniture is usually not considered worth selling, and I figure that it has got to cost at least $50 for someone just to move my pin to an auction hall, and with the auctioneer's commission, the net proceeds would be zero. But this is the only data I could gather online. I would appreciate if anyone had any advice or experience concerning this.
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