how to date a mills slot machine

Dating a Mills slot machine can be a challenging task, as these machines were produced over several decades, and specific date markings are not always present. However, you can use various methods and clues to estimate the age of a Mills slot machine:

  1. Machine Model and Features: Mills slot machines went through different design changes over the years. Examine the machine’s model and features, such as the type of mechanism, reel design, payout method, and overall appearance. Research the history of Mills slot machines to identify when certain design elements were in use.
  2. Serial Number: Check for a serial number on the machine. Mills slot machines often have a serial number stamped or engraved on a metal plate, usually on the side or inside the machine. Serial numbers can be valuable for identifying the manufacturing date if you can find reference guides that correlate serial numbers to production years.
  3. Patent Dates: Look for patent dates on the machine. Mills often included patent information on the casting or other parts of the machine. These patent dates can provide a clue about the earliest date the machine could have been manufactured.
  4. Manufacturer’s Markings: Inspect the machine for any maker’s markings, logos, or labels that can indicate the manufacturer or model. Mills typically marked their machines with the company name.
  5. Collectors’ Resources: There are collectors’ books, websites, and forums dedicated to vintage and antique slot machines, including Mills machines. These resources often contain information about the history of Mills, machine models, and manufacturing periods.
  6. Consult with Slot Machine Experts: Experts in vintage and antique slot machines, including collectors and appraisers, can provide insights based on their knowledge and experience. They may be able to estimate the machine’s age by examining specific features.
  7. Online Collectors’ Communities: Join online collectors’ communities and forums dedicated to vintage slot machines. Share pictures and descriptions of your Mills machine, and experienced collectors may offer insights into its age.
  8. Historical Records: Some historical records, catalogs, and advertisements from Mills Novelty Co. may still exist in public or private collections. These records can provide historical context and information about the company’s slot machines.

While dating a Mills slot machine may not always yield a precise date, the information you gather can help you estimate its age within a certain range. Additionally, the value of a Mills slot machine can vary based on factors like age, condition, rarity, and demand among collectors.

If you’re interested in selling or insuring your Mills slot machine, consider getting it appraised by a professional slot machine appraiser who specializes in vintage and antique machines. They can provide a more accurate assessment of its age and value.

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