Advice with a Castle Front Needed

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marktol
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Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:20 pm
Location: Southampton

Advice with a Castle Front Needed

Post by marktol »

Hi All,

I have an opportunity to purchase a lovely looking Castle Front. I have a few questions about the machine.

It all looks original, but it only has a rolldown escalator - should be an easy replacement hopefully. It's running on a 1 shilling coin.

The machine has numbers not fruit which I've never seen before and it also has what appears to be a token payout that's been filled in.

Could someone advise on the authenticity of this machine? Were numbers a factory option and what would the blanked out token vendor do? Would it be a gold award and, if so, would it be compatible with the numbers if I were to try and reinstate it?
Castle font web.jpg

Any other thoughts on the machine would be great.

Cheers,
Mark
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treefrog
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Location: Suffolk

Re: Advice with a Castle Front Needed

Post by treefrog »

Are you sure this is a shilling? I know the badge says so, but the coin entry looks very large, maybe an old Penny. Also shilling would have been unusual for this machine.

The numbers for reels is very common and most British imports converted to penny on Mills and Jennings were changed to these.

The machine looks like it has a new base. Cannot see the rest of the case to see if sides have been replaced. The token vendor was common on these fancy half tops and existed on others like Bursting cherries and War Eagles. When converted to 1D? they would have been removed, as were Jackpots and escalator chops. For information these older bases on Mills machines and some others had two metal studs at the front and back - these were pins holding the base together. Later they used wood dowels down the sides, like on Hi Tops......

Any more piccies would help.
andydotp
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:35 pm

Re: Advice with a Castle Front Needed

Post by andydotp »

Splendid looking machine there marktol, grab it if you can.
I believe Mills themselves named your machine 'Blue Front'.
Castle Front was really only an Operators' nickname (as was War Eagle etc) for the Mystery Silent and Silent Bell respectively.
The Mystery moniker came about coz Mills upped the cherry pay-outs from 2/4 to 3/5 in a ploy to convince punters the machine was over-paying (clever and worked) and the award card depicted Question Marks against the combinations. Folk cottoned on pretty quickly and the rewards were then clearly stated.
The Silent Mystery also had a rectangular award card which was later rounded off on the Blue Front.
treefrog wrote:Any more piccies would help,
Definitely, please.
Many of the Mills half top machines were produced with the GA casting to the right of the JP but they weren't always fitted with the token dispenser.
As T=F said, other models too - Bursting Cherry & Brown Front yes, Roman Head - obviously, but never the War Eagle (to the best of my knowledge).
As for coinage, I suspect it may have originally been on US Nickel.
US50c/UK1d machines had the fish mouth coin entry, plus looking at the escalator surround trim it has that little 'leg' that pops out to the RH side but only the lower half. This was a factory variation - why I have no idea - that differentiated a 'plain' machine from one with attached side mint vendor. Your case should have a cast 'patch' over the vendor slot bottom right of RH side.
As for numbered reel strips, 'Totalisator' they're called and the vast majority of machines in Britain were set up that way.
There's a direct correlation to the fruit symbols so a piece of p*ss to switch them over if you're inclined.
All in all a nice piece.
As for date of manufacture, what's the serial number? It's stamped into the top front casting just right of the reel window. Probably 500,000 and something I guess.
Show us more...
Regs,
andydotp
marktol
Posts: 400
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:20 pm
Location: Southampton

Re: Advice with a Castle Front Needed

Post by marktol »

Hi Andy,

I've had a chat with TreeFrog about this, looking at the pictures looks like a replacement cabinet. It does have the token vendor at the back, but no trip mechanism. The escalator is an interesting one. I'm not sure how easy it would be to obtain an original to replace it to a full?

I've attached a few more pics, but I think I'm probably not going to go for it, with the cabinet not being original. Lovely machine to look at though, and if you could get the token payout working too would be great.

Picture 1302.jpg


Picture 1303.jpg


Picture 1304.jpg


Picture 1287.jpg

andydotp
Posts: 535
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:35 pm

Re: Advice with a Castle Front Needed

Post by andydotp »

That's why pics are vital.
Looking since you updated, I'd go as far as to say it isn't just a "new" cabinet - more an entire repro/revamp - whole-us bowl-us.
The too-tall handle and pristine mech parts are a dead giveaway!
You do well to pass on this one if authenticity is what you're after - aren't we all?
a.p

Oh, I think the orig. Mills Mystery payout was Orange/Bar/Lemon btw..
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treefrog
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Re: Advice with a Castle Front Needed

Post by treefrog »

Ah a Blue front, I had not seen many with the Oval awards, most are rectangle.

On the 1D front, I have more machines on 1D non-fishmouth than with the fish. E.g. a Half Top and Bursting Cherry. Having seen separate pictures, this is smaller than 1D.

The Mechanism looks right and the castings could be right as well. I had already suggested checking the serial number, as this should be clear. There are very clear MLB marking on the inside castings. Most repro's have none or a very weak part reference. I thought also the repro handles were much higher than the castings.... it could just be a replacement cabinet. Also, repro's would not bother with putting in a vendor.
andydotp
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Re: Advice with a Castle Front Needed

Post by andydotp »

All good and fair observations there T-F.
Difficult to tell from 12,000 miles away though, and being upside down :lol:
treefrog wrote:Ah a Blue front, I had not seen many with the Oval awards, most are rectangle.
The Blue Front was only ever issued with the oval award card and that was one of its points of distinction. All previous models were the Mystery Silent and Mystery Slient Golden, plus variants such as the Red Front, which had every bell & whistle: skill stops, GA, side vendor and future pay.
Then came the Handload JPs and Buckley re-vamped Black Fronts........
treefrog wrote:On the 1D front, I have more machines on 1D non-fishmouth than with the fish.
,
Interesting! thanks for enlightening me.
treefrog wrote:I thought also the repro handles were much higher than the castings
Spot on.
Also, now we have the pics, it does appear to be a 1D coin tube.
Contradicting my suggestion to "grab it", having discussed it as we have, I'd shy away personally.
Any-case, I have an original Nickel Mystery Silent Golden already. :D
a.
terry
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Location: Cheam, Surrey

Re: Advice with a Castle Front Needed

Post by terry »

Just put one of these up for sale in The Market. Interesting to compare the two machines.
marktol
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Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:20 pm
Location: Southampton

Re: Advice with a Castle Front Needed

Post by marktol »

Nice looking machine especially after a bit of TLC.

So you know the seller of the one I was offered was asking £500 if that helps with your pricing.!
terry
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 2:08 pm
Location: Cheam, Surrey

Re: Advice with a Castle Front Needed

Post by terry »

Thanks for the info Mark. I'm never too sure what to ask for bandits as the prices seem to vary massively. I've welcomed offers on it though. ATB, Terry.
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