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Antique & Vintage Sewing Machine
ARE EXAMPLES OF THE STYLE OF VINTAGE SEWING MACHINES
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!!
A 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 www.AntiqBuyer.com .
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.
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, 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.
/ Valuation Information
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
A 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". 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.
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 Model 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.
To learn about, and see many antique sewing machines we do buy, sell, and deal in please visit our sister website www.AntiqBuyer.com 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
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
Sales Archive Pages at our sister website
Larry & Carole