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.