antique sewing machine 1860 Patent Williams & Orvis Sewing Machine Larry & Carole Meeker
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Antique Dealers & Brokers

Purveyors and Dealers of Americana  /  Patented & Mechanical Antiques

Antique Sewing Machine
Information Page

On this page I will discuss the types of "antique" sewing machines we do not buy, sell, or deal in, and the reasons why.  Please read this page before contacting me about your sewing machine.

A good rule of thumb for determining the desirability of any early sewing machine is its serial #.  Any early sewing machine (pre 1870) by any maker with a serial # of 5,000 or less would be desirable.  Antique sewing machines with lower serial numbers by more obscure makers would be even better. 

Any sewing machine with a serial # above 50,000 would be considered "Late" and relatively common.  In other words, your Wheeler & Wilson, Howe, Wilcox & Gibbs, White, Singer, and most other machines with a serial number in the 6 or 7 digit range is what I am referring to. The machine may date from 1890, but it would still be considered "late" and in most cases common. 

Machines like this do have value, but we do not deal in them, and they are usually sold as decorative pieces rather than to collectors of sewing machines.  They are going to be worth whatever you can sell them for.  They do not have a set collector-based value.  On a bad day at a bad auction such machines sell for under $100.  Some designer might be able to charge their client $500 or more.  Dealers tend to ask similar amounts hoping an eager buyer will come along.  Bottom line for selling such machines is how good a salesperson are you along with the questions of how much is your time and energy worth?

Still curious, read on.

It is important to understand that it is not just the name which determines the desirability or value of antique sewing machines.  It is a combination of factors, including the name, age, style, how many were manufactured, and condition, all taken together that determine the desirability and value. The simple fact that your sewing machine is old does not mean it is desirable or valuable.

Antique sewing machines with high serial #'s are in general not rare, desirable or valuable.  These machines can come with a host of different names, and most were made by the three major sewing machine makers and then sold to and distributed by companies like Sears, Montgomery Wards or other large regional distributers across the country back in the late 1800's / early 1900's.

Just below are two pictures of typical looking later treadle sewing Treadle Sewing Machine 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 1880's or later.   They were sold for $10-$20 back then, and nearly every household had one or more.  Much like cars and other consumer items that are sold today, Sears wanted to sell a new one to the modern seamstresses / housewife every year or two. They would constantly change the name or cosmetic look of their sewing machines to try and accomplish that.

Regional distributors, like Sears, Wards, Simmons Hardware, etc. would pick whatever name suited them or their goals for that year.  Hence machines are found with names like Household, treadle sewing machineFavorite, Remington, Winchester, Domestic, Minnesota, Alliance, Victory, Free, and a host of others can be found on the same design machine. 

Companies like Sears or Montgomery Wards and other regional distributors would also use famous peoples' names in an effort to promote their machines.  You can find machines with names like Washington, Lincoln, Franklin, Edison, Westinghouse, Remington, and others on machines that are pretty much exactly the same. At other times they picked Patriotic names like Victory, Defiance, or whatever.  It is called marketing.  Bottom line, the large sewing machine makers sold their same standard machines to different distributers to be sold as any given firms house brands with whatever name that distributer chose or wanted.

To see earlier, rare, and more desirable sewing machines simply go to my sales page or view the past sales archives linked on the right to get an idea of what collectible antique sewing machines look like. 

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 and are a good salesperson.

treadle sewing machineI have seen appraisals for and price tags on common treadle sewing machines like the ones pictured here as high as $4,000.  I have also seen them sell at auction for as low as $10. Most end up selling for $100 or less.  Many are donated to Hospice or Goodwill and a tax write-off taken.

Their true value is in the eye of the beholder and / or buyer.  Basically these later typical treadle sewing machines are worth what a willing buyer will pay for them. In the past these sewing machines were often torn apart for the stands or drawers and sold for more as parts and the pieces of furniture created than they would fetch as whole sewing machines.  

The 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 to, 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 While there be sure to look through completed sales and not just dealers current asking prices.  There is oftentimes a world of difference.

I guarantee comparable or similar sewing machines have been listed there in the past 30 days. The fact that most typical "antique" sewing machines are sitting there with no bids and are listed for sale over and over speaks volumes as to their demand, desirability and value.  It also has a lot to do with the cost of shipping and the amount shipping will add to the cost. 

The point is, if you have a later more common machine like I have been talking about, you should be thinking about selling it locally.

If you are not really trying to sell it, and just want a value, look in your local antique shops where there are likely similar machines, and you can tell yourself that yours is worth about the same as long as you do not ask the shop owner or dealer what he will give you for yours.

If after reading this you are still unsure about your sewing machine send me one picture and an indication that you read this page and I will give you my opinion, just do not be offended if I say it is not for me and refer you back to this page for the reason.

Later Full Size Electric Sewing Machines

We are NOT interested in typical looking electric sewing machines that date from after 1880 EXCEPT the Singer Model 221 or 222 Featherweights. 

To find the value for other later electric sewing machines simply go to eBay and run a few searches there. vintage sewing machineIf your electric sewing machine is not listed and you can not find any info with a Google search, assume it is because it is so common and commands such a low value that no one bothers to write about them, or to list them.  Do not assume that it is rare, desirable or valuable.  For example Vintage Electric Sewing Machines made in Japan after WWII hold near zero resale value and most sellers do not even bother trying to list them. 

If you have a Singer featherweight 221 or 222 sewing machine that you would like to sell please click this link to see my information page:  Singer Featherweights.


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

We want to Help you Sell Your quality Antiques

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 antiques and collectibles we have previously sold and are always interested in helping you sell please visit our Past Sales Archive Pages.  Links to those pages are on the right.

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

Thank you!!
Larry & Carole

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Larry & Carole Meeker