Of A
Mechanical Nature

Watson Patent Sewing Machine

Larry and Carole Meeker

Purveyors of & Dealers in
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Antique & Vintage Sewing Machine
 Information Page
Including Value Information

A short discussion
concerning sewing machine values and the types of sewing machines
we do, and do not,
buy, sell or deal in. 


Common Full Size Antique Sewing Machines

Antique Sewing Machines with recognizable names from early inventors or companies like Wilcox and Gibbs, Wheeler and Wilson, Howe, and Singer may or may not be desirable.  It is all in the details!!

It is important to understand that it is not just the name or age
which determines the desirability or value of antique sewing machines.  It is a combination of factors, including the vintage, age, style, the perceived desirability / demand, and most importantly the condition, all taken together, that determine the desirability and value of any machine, early or late. 

Gault 1857 Patent Ne Plus Ultra Sewing MachineA good rule of thumb for determining the desirability of any early sewing machine (pre-1900) is its serial number.  Any early sewing machine, by any maker, with a serial # of 500 or less would be desirable and considered pretty rare.  Lower serial numbers by more obscure makers would be even better.  At the left is an example of a sewing machine with a serial # of # 21, and it dates from the mid 1850's.  Note how different it looks from later machines.  To see many other examples of early machines with sale values go to my Past Sales Archives on our sister website

Any sewing machine with a serial # above 50,000 would be considered "Late" and relatively common. It could be worth a good sum of money, or not!!  In other words, your Wheeler & Wilson #9, White,  Singer, Domestic, Wilcox & Gibbs, etc sewing machine, or any other sewing machine with a serial number in the 6 or 7 digit range, is considered late and relatively common. The machine may date from 1890, and have some value, but it would almost always be as a decorator item and not as a collectible with a steady demand from sewing machine collectors.  In other words, common / later sewing machines are worth whatever you can sell them for.  That might be $1000.00 or more, but more likely $50.00 or less.  It boils down to how good a salesperson are you, and what or who your customer base is .

The simple fact that your sewing machine is old does not mean it is desirable or valuable.  

bsew1.jpg (14842 bytes)Just below are two pictures of typical looking treadle sewing  machines. Note the standard looking shape or form of the main body or head on these machines. Sewing machines like this typically date from the 1870's and up until the 1930's or later.  Names such as the Standard, Jones, White, Domestic, New Home, Princess, Franklin,  Household, Free, Westinghouse, Remington, Greybar, Minnesota, Singer Models #12, 99, or 66.and many others are examples of later machines that are generally not in great demand, thus not very desirable or valuable. 

These later sewing machines can come with a host of different names, and in general were made by the three major makers.  They were sold to and distributed by companies like Sears, Montgomery Wards or other large distributers across the country back in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  Typical treadle sewing machines like these were sold for $10.00-$20.00 and the sales approach was that every house needed one.  Not just one, but a new and different one every couple years.  It was like cars today.  Sewing machine makers were not happy selling you one that would last a lifetime, they wanted to sell you a new one every couple of years with a different name, or different look even if it was the exact same machine.  What that means is that there were millions and millions sold, and many are still around.  Literally every household had one if not more. 

The main distributors of this style of machine would pick or choose whatever name suited them or their goals for that year.  Hence names like Household, bsew4.jpg (25409 bytes)Favorite, Remington, Winchester, Domestic, Minnesota, Alliance, Victory, etc.  Large companies like Sears or Montgomery Wards and other large regional distributors would also use famous peoples names in an effort to promote their sewing machines any given year.  And so you can also find machines with names like Washington, Lincoln, Franklin, Edison, and others on machines that are pretty much exactly the same. At other times they picked Patriotic names like Victory, or Defiance, Alliance, or whatever. This was typical right after WWI, or the Spanish American War.  The large sewing machine makers sold their standard machines to different distributers / companies to be sold as that firm's house brands---with whatever name that distributer wanted. 

There is NO extra value or importance in a NAME you do not recognize on a LATER machine.  That you can find no published information on what looks to be, and is a later sewing machine, with what seems to you to be an unusual name does not mean it is rare and valuable, it means it is so unimportant that nobody has ever bothered to write or publish anything about it. 

Free Appraisal / Valuation Information
for Later Vintage Sewing Machines

These later treadle sewing machines do have a value, and it could be substantial if you have a good buyer. 

I have seen appraisals for, and price tags on, common treadle sewing machines like the ones pictured and named above as high as $4,000.  I have also seen them sell at auction for as low as $10.  Their true value is in the eye of the beholder, be that the buyer or seller.  In most cases the true value of later common sewing machines is closer to the bottom than the top.

In the past these sewing machines were often torn apart for the stands or drawers and then sold for more as parts or as pieces of furniture than they would fetch as a whole sewing machine.  Bottom line,  these later typical treadle sewing machines are worth what a willing buyer will pay for them given the situation and condition. I have seen and heard of decorators (great salespeople) selling these later machines to rich clients for thousands of dollars.  Good luck being able to repeat that using eBay or Craigslist. Or by contacting me.

treadle sewing machineA basic rule of thumb is:  If it looks like your sewing machine, or if you remember your Mom using it, or nowadays even if your Grandma bought it, or it has a serial # with 6 or more numbers, it will probably hold little interest or value to serious or advanced sewing machine collectors.

To see the wide range of current values for these sorts of sewing machines simply go to eBay and type the name of your sewing machine in the Search window provided.  If there is nothing similar there this week, try again next week, or try searching "antique sewing machine" or "vintage sewing machine" or "treadle sewing machine".treadle sewing machine head  The values for machines that look alike, and look like they are from the same era, are worth pretty much the same.  Changes in the number of drawers, or other cosmetic changes in a cabinet are not going to greatly change the value of an otherwise common machine. 

I guarantee comparable or similar sewing machines to yours are listed on eBay now. The fact that most typical "antique" sewing machines are sitting there with no bids speaks volumes as to their demand and desirability, or lack of.  It also has a lot to do with the cost of shipping and the amount shipping will add to the cost. So if you have one for sale you should consider that as well and probably be thinking locally because your potential buyers will surely balk at a $200 shipping cost for an machine they would not pay $100 for.

Or look in your local antique shop, where there is likely a similar one.  They will not want to buy it, even for 1/2 price, but you can tell yourself that yours is worth about the same as long as you do not ask the shop dealer what he will give you for yours.

If after reading this you are still unsure about your sewing machine's value, send me one picture, indicating that you did read and understand this page, and I will give you my opinion.  If it is early and something I am interested in I will contact you and see if we can work something out.  If you obviously did not read and understand what I have said on this page and ask me the value of, or information about, a later worthless sewing machine,  I will simply delete your email or respond with something like thanks but this is not a machine for us, or something that we buy, sell, or deal in.

If you think your sewing machine is valuable you should be willing to pay a reasonable amount for a paid appraisal.  I can do this for you, but you run the risk of me saying "I think it's junk."  Or you can get a current long-term market relevant results from Worthpoint  For a nomimal sum you can search their database of a couple hundred million search results, and you pay nothing until you see they actually have results for your machine.

If you understand and accept what I have said here, and need to find a place to get rid of your common sewing machine, there is eBay, CraigsList, or a good option is donate it to your church group that helps third world countries, taking a write-off on your taxes.   Or donate it to Goodwill , Hospice, or some other worthy group.  As a last resort put it gently by the curb.  Somebody will want it.   Problem solved!

Later Full Size Electric Sewing Machines

We are NOT interested in buying, and never deal in, later typical looking electric sewing machines.  This includes all Electric Sewing machines that date from after 1900 except the Singer vintage sewing machineModel 221 or 222 Featherweights.  To find the value for other later electric sewing machines by other makers simply go to eBay and run a few searches there. There will be hundreds of similar looking machines listed there.

If your electric sewing machine is not listed there DO NOT assume it is rare or desirable. The likely explanation is that it is so common and commands such a low value that no one bothers to list them and nobody cares.  Same thing if your machine name does not come up in a Google search with any information.  For example vintage electric sewing machines made in Japan after WWII hold zero resale value to anyone, and most knowledgeable sellers do not even bother trying to list them.  Simple fact.

About Antique Sewing Machines
We Do Buy, Sell, & Deal In
& Are Interested In Helping You With

To learn about, and see many antique sewing machines we do buy, sell, and deal in please visit our sister website  and visit the sewing related pages you will find there.  At that site there are past sales archives, and general info about many good sewing machines, both full size and toy sewing machines. 

You can view our current inventory of sewing machines offered for sale by following the links found in the left hand column of this website.  Thanks & enjoy.

* * * * We Sell Antiques! * * * *

We want to Help you Sell Your quality Antique Sewing Machines

If you have a single antique, or a collection of antiques to sell please contact us at giving us your PHONE NUMBER  and other contact info and we will get back to you ASAP.

To view examples of the types of antiques and collectibles we have previously sold and are always interested in helping you sell please visit our Past Sales Archive Pages at our sister website

Please see our FAQ page, the Appraisal / Selling Page and the Selling Your Collection Pages for further info.


Larry & Carole

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Larry & Carole Meeker