Colin shows his bottle!


This is a story about how I started my whisky collection. It was at the time that Asteroids from Atari was at the height of its popularity and I got a call late in the week from an operator called John Cooper from Burntisland in Scotland. He was opening a new arcade and was desperate to get his hands on an Asteroids game, for the weekend, but we were completely sold out.

“Go on, Colin,” he said. “I know you can get hold of one somewhere. And if you do, I will reward you with a really nice bottle of whisky.”

Well, I did a bit of phoning around and managed to get an Asteroids for John. At that time, there was a chap called Walter Renton who had a 45ft transporter lorry and he did a lot of work for the industry, delivering and picking up machines. It so happened he was heading to Scotland in time for the weekend, so he took the machine to Burntisland.

The next week Walter brought me a beautiful bottle of Royal Salute whisky with a silver top, from John, which came in it own bag. I have never seen one like it since, it was the first bottle in my collection.

After that, whenever I had a call from a Scottish operator, I would mention John and his wonderful bottle of whisky. The response was invariably the same – “John doesn’t know what whisky is. I will send you a proper bottle of whisky.” Melvyn Strand sent me a fantastic bottle from one of the Scottish islands, I recall. Soon, I had amassed over 30 amazing bottles of whisky.

You have got to remember that in those days, there was an arcade opening every week and everybody was making decent money! So, I started to collect more bottles by myself. I went to auctions and my collection grew. In my old house, Pauline, my wife, set up a special whisky room for me. It was featured in a magazine, and shortly afterwards someone tried to break in.

So now, we live in a smaller place and my collection is kept in secure storage. One of these days I know I have got to sell it but it does bring me wonderful memories of some of the characters and times of the past.

Does anyone else have an unusual collection related to the industry? Please send us your story


Comments (2)

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Hi Colin,
John Cooper was a Scotish showman who once seriouly dated my sister, Sylvia Burrows (nee Bailey), Regarding collections, I have a vast collection of jukebox memoriblia (see Nostalgia Alley-an interview with FreddyBailey on youtube) this is a 30 minute tv interview that I did two years ago. I also have the largest collection of coin machine brochures and flyers in the World, including all the Harry Levy pusher models.

Best regards to you as always.

Yourold friend


Freddy Bailey
20/07/2011, 13:58

I remember when the Isle of Man produced it’s own whisky in the 1980′s during the process all the colour was filtered out leaving it clear like Vodka & Gin, I asked Colin if he would like a bottle for his collection? He said it cannot be whisky if it is clear, because as someone who has collected whisky for years, whisky must have a colour.

So I next time I was at my in-laws at Margate I packed a bottle, he therefore now has clear a whisky in his collection,

I must buy a bottle to find out what it tastes like!!!
Ray Wells

Ray Wells
Isle of Man
20/07/2011, 14:06

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