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Thread: Finding something at an estate sale/thrift shop?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Finding something at an estate sale/thrift shop?

    I really enjoy reading about everyone's experiences with thrift shops, garage sales, estate sales, and how you find some great machines for low prices. My question is, how often do you go before you find something? Just wondering if some go "shop" for years before they find a great bargain.

  2. #2
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Sometimes, you don't find anything, sometimes you might see one or two and very rarely, it's raining good bargain machines. I have on occasion been able to buy 3 - 4 machines from one estate sale but that's also rare. I hope this helps.
    Chris
    Through Him who strengthens me, I can do all things - Paul

    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  3. #3
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    You never really know what you're going to find. The sales that advertise sewing machines, usually have them overpriced. Estate sales are usually better than garage sales. I think the really good deals are always the unexpected. I don't usually go to thrift stores expecting to find sewing machines, but the last time I went, I opened up what looked like an ugly plastic case and found a Singer inside.

    The first treadle machine I found was at an estate sale this summer. This woman had at least 5 sewing machines and I found myself wondering, "why would anyone need so many machines?" Now, I own 4 of her machines. I paid $5 for the treadle and the others were given to me after the sale ended and they hadn't sold.

    So, I don't go very often. And I don't go far out of my way to search either. Oh, and try looking on Craig's list. Look under odd spellings like "sowing". It's surprising what you'll find. I've gotten a couple machines for free, others less than $20. You have to be willing to look beyond the grime sometimes.

  4. #4
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Also try treadle, trendel and the like for combinations for treadle machines if that's what you're after. I am watching one on CL that I like and it has dropped from $100 to $55 but am waiting to see if it goes lower. I have also seen treadle machines advertised for $250 or better cuz they're old rare unique antiques according to the current owner.
    Chris
    Through Him who strengthens me, I can do all things - Paul

    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  5. #5
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    I go to a lot of garage sales (over 20 years since my daughter was a baby and needed a constant supply of clothes, toys and books). I NEVER expect to find something -- it's always the thrill of the chase! (although a neighbour once disparagingly described it as "kissing a lot of frogs before you find a prince"!) I have bought a 201K Singer for $11.50 on ebay -- 2 weeks before Christmas and obviously no-one else could be bothered at that time. So I guess my message is to enjoy the hunt and where it takes you -- you might end up with some new pot plants, a nice vase, a book you want to read-- and you might find a sewing machine that the owners didn't even bother to list.
    Happy hunting!

  6. #6
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I see machines all the time - usually needing some repair. Be sure you are willing to work or have one repaired.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  7. #7
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    I go to thrift shops, estate sales and garage sales regularly. I also watch CL. I don't always find anything. I stay close to home because I figure if I spend lots of gas I haven't saved anything, that being said I don't live out in the sticks, I live in a suburb of Charlotte.

  8. #8
    Junior Member neenee586's Avatar
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    It is all hit and miss. I've found nice old units for $5 at thrift stores, once got a very nice FW at a rummage sale for $100, and have been given sewing machines too. I always carry $100 on me so in case I stumble upon a good deal that I have the cash in hand. I do however think there are many peeps out there that want outrages prices (especially for treadles), hence I am not just hauling anything home, even for free. Keep in mind there are millions of vintage machines out there waiting for you!

  9. #9
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    I bought a centennial model 15-91 and a rocketeer at the last one I went to for $75 each-excellent condition and really nice cabinets, even if the one the rocketeer is in is blonde wood. I also got a nice 1907 27 treadle at an estate sale for $40. Really bought it for the cabinet, but the machine is so nice, I didn't change it out. Sometimes nothing--sometimes the jackpot!

  10. #10
    sap
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    I found 5 machines this summer at a thrift shop. All 5 were keepers, the National you can hardly hear it run.

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