In Memoriam: Bob Levy – Coin-op & slot machine expert, 66

Bob Levy, 1944-2011. Image courtesy of Morphy Auctions.

Bob Levy, 1944-2011. Image courtesy of Morphy Auctions.

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. – Robert “Bob” Levy, an internationally respected dealer and authority on antique coin-operated and gambling machines, died on Feb. 21, 2011. He was 66 years old.

Bob operated his long-established business, The Unique One, from a showroom in Pennsauken, N.J., as well as through a website he launched in 1997 called

Bob Levy was born in Philadelphia on Sept. 16, 1944. He graduated from Atlantic City High School in New Jersey, then went on to earn bachelor of arts degrees in both Business Management and Economics from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Following a career in sales in the wholesale tea and coffee trade, and subsequent to founding his business called “Coffee One,” Bob became enamored of antiques and started selling through co-ops and group shops in Smithville, Rancocas and Medford, N.J.

In 1989, an unexpected opportunity presented itself and changed the course of Levy’s career in antiques. “I had traveled to Arizona to look at an old Lincoln automobile I was thinking about buying, and happened to notice a slot machine in a pawn shop window. It was a 1964 Art Deco-style Harrah’s Club machine,” Bob Levy told Auction Central News editor Catherine Saunders-Watson in a 2009 interview. “I had never seen an antique slot machine before, but loved the look of it, so I bought it and shipped it home.

Shortly thereafter, Bob learned of an auction of pinballs, jukeboxes and slot machines that was to take place at a firehouse in Skippack, Pa. “I went and bought three slot machines and put them in my booth at the group shop,” he said in his interview. “That started me on the path to buying and collecting slot machines, and to become focused on just that one specialty.”

Known within the trade as “the slot machine guy,” Bob sold to customers throughout the United States as well as France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. He set up his slot machines at eight to 10 major antique shows per year and crossed the country many times in pursuit of rare examples.

In 2009, shortly after his 65th birthday, Bob began a professional association with Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pa., heading up a new department for coin-operated gambling machines and related devices. In his new role, which he relished, Bob sought out and managed consignments and handled the cataloging and sale of antique coin-operated machines auctioned through Morphy’s.

“It would be the exception rather than the rule to encounter a serious collector of gambling machines who had not either met or transacted business with Bob Levy,” said Dan Morphy, CEO of Morphy Auctions. “I knew Bob for over 20 years, and he was not only one of the most knowledgeable dealers in his specialty but also one of the nicest and most ethical individuals I ever met. He was a tremendous asset to our team, and we are shocked and saddened to learn of his death. He will be greatly missed by all of us.”

Bob Levy was the father of Lisa (Steve) Brodack and Sheri (Tony Freitas) Levy, PhD. He also had five grandchildren: Jonathan, Mallory, Max, Sara, and Sofia.

Beginning at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, relatives and friends of Bob Levy are invited to the Platt Memorial Chapels, 2001 Berlin Road, Cherry Hill, N.J., where funeral services will begin promptly at 9 a.m. Interment will follow at Riverside Cemetery Lodi, N.J. Shiva will be observed at the home of Lisa and Steve Brodack, and the family respectfully requests contributions in Bob’s memory be made to Congregation Beth El, 8000 Main Street, Voorhees, NJ 08043.

–Auction Central News Staff

#   #   #