Monday, January 26, 2009

Value of an Old Sewing Machine

One of the most common questions asked of sewing machine enthusiasts is, "What is my old sewing machine worth?"

Vintage sewing machines are valued much like vintage automobiles. Just saying you have an 1891 Singer sewing machine is not enough to establish the value. Several other factors must be considered:

- Condition: Is it a rusty hulk, or shiny, showroom shape?

- Model: Each manufacturer made several machines for different pocketbooks, just as with autos, the luxury models usually retain their value better than the utility models.

- Configuration: How many drawers does the treadle cabinet have? Counting the center drawer, it could be 3, 5, or 7 drawers. Is there any fancy carving on the cabinet, or is it pretty plain? Often, the treadle cabinet is worth more than the machine itself!

- Has it been electrified by removing it from the treadle cabinet and adding a motor and foot control, or is it in its original configuration?

- Accessories: Does the machine have its instruction manual and full complement of accessories that came with it? Are there any additional accessories that were purchased later?
Then there are other issues that can affect the selling price of a vintage sewing machine:

- Location: If you live in an upscale U.S. neighborhood, probably very few buyers will be interested in an average condition old sewing machine. If you live in an area with a large number of lower income families, they might want an old, reliable sewing machine to actually sew on.

- Furniture value: If your machine is in a nice wood cabinet, some may be interested in it purely for its decorative value. Others will shy away because they don't have room for a cabinet or it does not match their d├ęcor. Some buyers will only want a portable model they can stash away in a closet when not in use.

- Shipping: If you are only willing to sell locally, your market will be limited. If your machine is small enough to ship, listing it on Ebay might bring a quicker sale and higher price.
Speaking of Ebay, that is probably the best place to research prices for old sewing machines. Look for machines of the same model and age, in the same condition. Note the accessories that come with it and see how closely your item matches the Ebay item.

Ed

53 comments:

Jazmomi said...

I have a Necchi sewing machine that belonged to my grandmother. She had it for 10 years before she gave it to my mom when I was born. My mom just passed it on to me. It is 63 years old. Works perfectly. Would like to find out how much it is worth, even though I would never part with it.

CNC Machines said...

Hi excellent post

Ed Lamoureux said...

The best indicator of value, in my opinion is ebay completed listings. Scan them and pick the machines that are closest to your grandmother's and you will know what a willing buyer paid a willing seller.

Checking today, I see a BU sold for $75, another for $65. Also, one sold for $162.50 but was immediately relisted. There are several possible reasons for that, all of which remove that particular item from my calculations.

Ed

Anonymous said...

We have a singer 306k which belonged to my grandmother. It still runs well and is in very good condition, am also wondering how much would it be worth?

Ed Lamoureux said...

I don't see any 306 or 319 Singers in Ebay active or completed listings, so I can only guess. They enjoyed a spike of popularity a few years ago and would sell in the $75 range but with discretionary purchases down and shipping costs up, I would not expect a 306 to sell for more than $25 to $45. I have offered to give away my 306s with no takers.

prima said...

hi i've been looking to buy a sewing machine. i was just gunna buy a new walmart kind but i started researching and most people said that their older sewing machines work better. when i started looking up more vintage machines, i found quite a few. however, i'm not sure what i'm actually looking for. some look as though they're not even electronic! i really don't know much about vintage machines or even modern machines for that matter. i've been working with a vx-970 brother electronic which looks fairly modern compared to the vintage singers that have appealed to me. could you tell me how big of a change it is from my brother to a 1929 Singer Electric or a Singer 99 K?
sorry for all the questions!

Anonymous said...

I have an older Singer model 29 K2 sewing machine. Industrial, I believe mainly for sewing leather shoes/heavy leather. Google searching gives me too broad of a price range ($200-$2000). Was wondering if you may have an idea of what it could be worth.
Regards Joe

Ed Lamoureux said...

Based on my observations, I would say in the $300-$500 range. The only one I find in ebay completed listings sold for $355.99 and one offered for a $475 starting bid expired with no taker. They were selling for $400-$600 before the economy went sour. I paid $25 for my 29-4 at a local auction because I started the bidding at $25 expecting it to go for $100-$200. No one else bid, I might have been able to get it for $5 if I hadn't jumped the gun. - Ed

Misty said...

I have a 1951 Admiral DeLuxe made in Japan. It is electric with 2 owners manuals including original sales price. It is in perfect condition and includes the carrying case that is in very good condition as well. As far as I know it works fine too. I am wondering what a good estimate would be on the value. I realize you can't tell me an exact price without seeing it but I'm just looking at a good starting price to sell it. I can't find any that has sold on eBay so I have nothing to compare it to. Thanks

Ed Lamoureux said...

The Japanese exported millions of sewing machines to the U.S. in the decade after WWII. For the most part, they were of good quality and sew well. Unfortunately, there are still so many around that value is held down. I would expect a Japanese straight stitch machine of that vintage to sell for $10-$25. I have marked them at $5 at some yard sales with no takers. Ed

Anonymous said...

I have a 1929 singer. The treadle cabinet has 7 drawers, and is in very good shape. the machine itself is in excellent condition, shiny black and gold with the sphinx decorated on the base. Would anyone know the value of one of these machines?

Anonymous said...

i dont know a lot about sewing machines but i have an 1891 singer that has a motor and a light with footpedal. the motors is pulled by a rubber chord thing.is in a carrying box but sadly the paper decor cover is falling off. how much can i sell this for.

Anonymous said...

I have an 1891 motorized singer sewing machine. It is in fair condition and does stillo run. Can I get some idea what I could sell it for?

Anonymous said...

I just left a post about my 1891 singer sewing machine its also supposed to be one of the ones they used for demostration at thr Ohio State Fair

Anonymous said...

i have a g. c. walters of philadelphia
cast iron sewing machine with a april 1873 date. no cabinet. is it any good? any value?

Anonymous said...

I am looking for an approximate date of production on a Standard Sewing Machine Company treadle machine with several patent dates between 1887 and 1896. It is in a coffin top cabinet with keys for the top and side drawers. Works good and has attachments (look like they have never been used) and original operating instructions. The Cabinet shows some signs of wear and tear but considering the age it could be a lot worse. I realize the value on this type of machine would be what I am willing to pay for it but I would be interested to find out what anyone else would consider paying for this type of machine. Standard Sewing Machine Company was bought out by Osann in 1931 so the date of manufacturer is prior to that time. Osann was later bought out by Singer.

ch3rry said...

I've got an old singer, old as in at least 40s. I also have a zigzag foot that fits it but dont quite understand how to use it. I can zigzag but the tension isn't right. the japanese-english instructions say something about this that I can't understand. any ideas?

Bruce said...

I just came across a Franklin Long Shuttle sewing machine sold by Sears. It is model 117.52 from circa 1939. It seems mechanically sound, has the original drive belt and is in pretty good shape. The cabinet is a bit worn but OK. It also has the original owners manual as well as an assortment of needles and bobbins. Any idea what it might be worth?
Thanks.

debra said...

i have three old machines mid 50s to mid 60s i am guessing a new home model#270 J-A2.two tone green.a morse model#78479. and a sew mormodel#970 31213.can anyone tell me anything about them. they are in great shape to of them never used and some nice accesories.please help they my be for sale some day just want to know more about them.




















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Anonymous said...

I have a Singer machine serial no. 2334504 which is dated to 1876. Wondering is this machine something special or run of the mill. It looks really good still, people love it.
dribnid at yahoo.com

Lorenparker said...

Hi, I have a Singer Sewing Machine serial #AD269608 dated 1930. It has 3 drawers on each side of the treadle cabinet, plain with no designs. I have checked on Ebay and found a few, but none like mine. I'm sure it is not worth much, but I am curious if it's worth anything. Thanks, Loren

Ed Lamoureux said...

No way I could even make a guess without seeing the machine in person. -Ed

Anonymous said...

I have my late grandmother's Signature Sewing Machine, Montgomery Ward, Model # UHT J285B, in a cabinet/desk with 2 drawers. It is in good appearance and I know she used regularly. Can you tell me what the value would be if I were to advertise it?

Anonymous said...

I have a sewing machine with Leader written on the side, and the stamp has W. Whittet Dundee on it. I have no idea about sewing machines and I cant seem to find any information on this model. I can't say if it is working, I was given it for free from a closing down art college.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous of 4/26/2012 3:53 PM, I think I can help you with your query on the 'Leader' sewing machine. William Whittet was my great-great grandfather and he manufactured and sold sewing machines in Dundee, Scotland. I can help with further information such as dates, and exact location of manufacture. I would love to see a photo of the machine too if possible! Please contact me at: weelinz10@hotmail.com Look forward to hearing from you.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I am helping clear my grandparents place and we came across a cream/brown Necchi Model 522, Made in Taiwan, 110-120V-60Hz-1A-Motor 80W-Lamp 15 W Max.
I have been un-able to find any information about it, it is in good condition, housed in a wooden cabinet.
Could you give me some information about how much it might be worth?
Thank you for your help

george bastida said...

i have a sewing machine 1940 theres no label but is very very old..it is belongs to my great great grand father..eve heard to my grandmother that theres a mixtures platinum in our sewing machine..

ive gonna sell this

Anonymous said...

We have aquired a Lada sewing machine with serial numbers, made in Czechoslovakia complete with wooden case, manual and toolkit inside base, possible 1930's? We have searched the internet but have found nothing to assist us with possible worth and history. It was rebadged as a Victor Mila for Myer department store in Melbourne, Australia as well. Can anyone help?

pamela gutierrez said...

Has anyone heard of a Hyeth sewing machine? Can't find anything on them

Kathy Barnes said...

I have a Domestic model 513 machine in mahogany cabinate, no drawers. Wondering value?

Anonymous said...

I have a 1929 singer sewing machine and table with 4 side closets and 1 long front. It was my grand mother's

Anonymous said...

I have a bu necchi sewing machine. It was passed down from my grandmother to my mother and now me.i am 50. It is built into a cabinet and colds in. I was wondering how much it was worth?

Confused4VintageBro said...

Hi, excellent blog you have here! I've been reading it for a few hours now and have learned a lot.

A friend of mine has a Brother Deluxe Super Streamliner. I have seen only a few listings on EBay for $89 & $99. However, the machine I would be purchasing has NOT been kept in the original case, the belt is broken, the motor is loose, there's no accessories or manual, and another friend of mine had a chance to take a look at it in person. They also informed me that there was some rust and corrosion on it. Even though I was planning on taking it in for service, I do not want to pay an arm and a leg in order to use it. Some of the rust is in the bobbin housing.

I'm aware of how much presser feet etc will run me, as I use (new) brother machines now. What I'm curious about is... My friend is asking $70/$80 from me for the machine in this condition. After reading your posts on prices, conditions, and the mass market Japan models, do feel this is a fair asking price? And what is your opinion on the rust?

My friend is contacting me daily about this purchase! Any input would be greatly appreciated. I will continue to look for some information. Thank you so much.

Unfortunately my cell phone isn't letting me copy/paste the eBay listing, but you should be able to find it by searching Google with: "Brother vintage precision japan" The first eBay listing should provide the Streamliner and some pictures if needed. The one online looks dirtier, but complete with manual, accessories, and case... No rust. I'm quite confused on what to pay :(

Sincerely, Confused4VintageBro

Confused4VintageBro said...

Hi Ed, I have been doing SO much more research on the Brother Streamliner I commented on earlier. I believe its Model 260, straight stitch only. The photos the seller has sent me match this model online. I can also email photos if needed. All of the prices I come across are still in the $90 range. Except for one listing by a goodwill for $22. I notice you said a good price range for machines in the 50's, made in japan, straight stitch, go for $5-$25. Does this include industrial machines? Maybe I think its industrial and its not.. Oh brother! I think I've been reading too much! Hopefully I can delay the seller until I decide on a reasonable price. Its just money right? Lol. (And much frustration.. Ugh)

-Confused4VintageBro

Anonymous said...

I have a 1939 treadel in good condition and was trying to get a ball park figure on what it is worth

Ed Lamoureux said...

Brother Streamliner - is NOT an industrial machine. Considering it is straight stitch only, I wouldn't pay more than $20. Japanese machines are very common and no one wants a straight stitcher. -Ed

debbie laird said...

I have a sewing machine that says F.W.Cunz in the wrought iron on the stand and Mosella on the cover with an emblem that says Paris 1900 on the actual machine. Is there anyway to research the actual manufacture date and the value of this machine?

Anonymous said...

We just purchased an old standard sewing machine. It is very ornate and came with lots of accessories and a manual that is printed on wax paper. We do not see a model number, and the only date we have found so far is 96. We are guessing that may be 1896 due it looks. It has 4 drawers and legs of detailed cast iron. What do you estimate the value could be? It is pretty beat up.

Anonymous said...

i have a prncess sewing machine i dont know if it worth anything n/578 no 537 serial 76640

Anonymous said...

I have recently became an owner of an Admiral Deluxe sewing machine with a Model number of 1952 and serial number of C70645. I would be most appreciative of any specifics about the machine including age and value.

Dana said...

My aunt has a Franklin Sewing Machine in its cabinet but the cabinet is not in good shape. The maching is NOT electric. We believe it is a 1920 or 1930 model. How much is this worth? Thank you

Tracey Cornwall said...

I have a 1873 Singer Treadle machine. The serial number is 988225. It is in good shape. How much is is worth?

Ed Lamoureux said...

Somewhere between $5 and $400, maybe more, maybe less. There is no way of appraising a sewing machine without seeing it in person. -Ed

Anonymous said...

I have a singer electric machine my moter gave me when I was a little girl it only says great britan on it it is electric and small made for children I got it in the 1960s so its about 45 yrs old have never seen one like it it works and was wondering if it was worth anything my email address is scheeeregina@yahoo.com thank you regina scheele

Ed Lamoureux said...

Regina, I tried to email you rather than posting your comment with an email address but after trying three different combinations of your email address, yahoo informs me that you do not have an account so I guess there's no harm in publishing your comment.

Anyway, if you send a clear photo of your machine to my oldsewingmachines address at gmail, I will try to provide some information. especially important is the area around the stitch length lever or knob. -Ed

mandey said...

i have a singer model 513, serial number JF 151404, very good condition, still in the hide-away table/desk with chair (chair has hidden space under its seat cushion) (desk and chair in excellent condition), have the original manual, plugged it in a seems to run very good when i push on the pedal, havent threaded it to test the stitching yet. about how much do you think it would be worth?

B Wrigley said...

I've got a 1954 singer not sure thats its ever been used it has all accessories and manuals as well as carrying case .....what is something like this worth?

Angie said...

I have a 1914 Singer 66-1 Redeye with 6 drawer cabinet with treadle in poor to fair condition. (Rust on metal, decals look great, cabinet and treadle in good shape) Been in the family all these years used regularly until the last 60 years. From what I am seeing in not worth much but would hate to just trash. Any ideas where to publish to sell to collectors or to be parted?

Anonymous said...

I have a singer sewing machine with the serial number starting with the letter K. I checked this and apparently it's 1902. Blue/green colour and electric. It is in mint condition, could anyone please let me know roughly how much they are worth. It also has needles, thread etc. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Local craigslist

Ed Lamoureux said...

Anonymous, I saw a similar machine (Singer 66 in fair to poor condition) sell for $55 at a local auction last night. You might try an auction house in your area. Auction buyers have an opportunity to view the items before bidding and know that any sale is as-is-where-is so any sale is final. -Ed

Jacky Malden said...

I have a Merina M21E treadle machine. Box comes with key and has manual, is in working order. There is none on ebay any ideas how much this is worth?

Jolene said...

Hi ...
I have a Necchi Type 525 sewing machine (made in Italy) it was my grandmother's .. Would you be able to tell me how and where is the best place to post for sale? Also .. Could you tell me how much it's worth? I can send you pics if needed... Thanks in advance