Find the value of your antique sewing machine

That sewing machine has been part of your parents’ home forever. But you don’t use it anymore, your offspring doesn’t want it, and no one of your acquaintance does either. It seems to be antique – it sure looks old, at any rate – and the thought crosses your mind: It might be worth something! Happily, determining value is something our Savvy Specialists have all sewn up.

HOW TO FIND THE VALUE OF YOUR ANTIQUE SEWING MACHINE

With sewing machines, as with any collectible, rarity is a major influence on value, and age is a factor that impacts on rarity. The first practical sewing machine was invented in 1851; the closer to that date a given machine was made, the more it will likely be worth, whether the manufacturer is obscure or renowned. Machines from the 20th century were manufactured in the millions, and many are still around, which impacts their value. Even so, a model that represents a milestone in industry history or a machine that was owned by a celebrity rates highly.

Just because a machine is old does not make valuable, though. Usually, it needs to have some detail that attracts the collector: design, a unique color, innovative gears, etc. Some aficionados focus on decoration, some on technology, others on a certain manufacturer. In the United States, Singer is odds-on most-often collected brand.

But sewing machines are not just collectible objects – they’re utilitarian ones as well. Plenty of people still sew, and they are perfectly happy – in fact, sometimes even prefer – to use an older machine (“they just don’t make ‘em like they used to…”). Nearly all machines could be useful to someone somewhere for parts, if nothing else. Sometimes the parts will bring much more than the whole, in fact.

The more intact the machine, the better; it should be in its original cabinet. Having the original manual and accessories often adds to its worth.


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MAXIMIZE THE VALUE OF YOUR SEWING MACHINE

Condition can have a dramatic effect on a machine’s value. Keep the exterior dusted and clean. Don’t try to make an old machine look new, except for removing rust, which can spread and eat away at a piece.  Keep the interior oiled from time to time: Most machines have oil holes, each of which should receive one drop. Wipe off any excess. That’s usually enough to keep a machine in working order; but if it’s not, let a pro fix it.

Do not stand the machine  in strong sunlight; the woodwork, if it has any, will fade.

If it has to be stored, it must be protected from damp and dust. Some collectors recommend a black polythene sack.

Always lift a sewing machine using two hands and taking a firm hold of the base. Never use the overhanging arm as a handle, because a) it invariably rubs off more decoration, and b) The handle may only be there to lift the lid and not the machine as well – as people have discovered at some cost to their toes.

HOW TO FIND A SEWING MACHINE’S VALUE

It always helps to give us a sewing machine’s serial number and model name or number, along with close-ups of logos, decorative details, any other markings and, of course, pictures of the piece itself. Once we've identified the sewing machine’s manufacturer, age, model, and condition, our Savvy Specialists complete a Quick Appraisal which includes research, stories and special features about your piece. We can also tell you more about the specific model, including a valuation analysis that includes what similar sewing machines have sold for.

SELL SEWING MACHINES ONLINE

StuffSavvy can match you with Online Partners to get you the most value for the sewing machine you'd like to sell. This is a good option once you know the value you want to sell the item for.

FIND PLACES TO SELL USED SEWING MACHINES NEAR ME

StuffSavvy can also match you with local consignment shops, dealers and auction houses. This is the best option if you want to work with additional Specialists to maximize the resale value of your sewing machine.