Williams (& United) Shuffle Alley were similar but changed a bit over the years. They began in 1948 and production continued through the 80's.
Here is the rub on Shuffle Alleys. The early versions were electro mechanical. Even one in pristine condition rarely sells for much over $600. (of course this doesn't stop hordes of people with unrealistic asking prices trying there best to sell them at super inflated prices)
Generally speaking, you can find shuffle alleys in working condition for less than $500.
The later versions (solid state) are worth a bit more, but I still believe demand is soft once pricing gets over $800. (again, there is much unrealistic pricing going on) These are not particularly in high demand and they certainly are not hard to find.
I have seen the branded beer bottles as pins. They are rare indeed. But, it all gets back to the economics of a shuffle alley. Is one willing to hoark up $200 for a set of kool beer bottle pins to dress up a machine of which they laid out $300?
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A friend of mine purchased a Williams Alley Cats this past weekend. He mentioned there is some damage to the playfield where the puck was slammed down. From what I can tell, Williams used the same design on all Shuffle Alleys (although I could be mistaken, i'm a pin guy, not a shuffle alley guy).
Are there playfields out there for these things (NOS, Repro, Used)? Are all of the williams interchangable from one machine to another? What is a reasonable price we can expect to pay?
Also, on a side note, I saw an ebay auction that had what appeared to be Williams branded beer bottles for the pins. Has anyone seen these before? Were they offered as a kit, and if so, are they still out there anywhere for sale?
Thanks for any pointers!