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

  1. #1
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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
    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
    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.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  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!

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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
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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.

  11. #11
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    I have lived in this community for 3 years and have bought 3 FW's, a 185, a Rocketeer, 3 301's, a few Touch and Sew's, 2 6000 Vikings, a penguin walking foot, and tons of other attachments. I have seen many, many more machines that I didn't buy. There is a lot of fun in the hunt. I check Craigslist, garage/estate sales, occasionally thrift stores, Thrifty Nickel, and the daily newspaper ads. I won't pay much, because I don't need anything more, but I still like to look and then buy if I spot a good deal.

    Dayle

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    Wow Daylesewblessed - West Texas seems to be a great place to buy vintage machines! I live in Houston, and I don't see THAT much, and craigslist machines can get pretty expensive - sometimes you'll see old treadles selling for $850!

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    The machines I have found at estate sales were just lucky finds. The thrill is in the hunt! A couple of months ago, a brother and sister advertised an estate sale of their mom's patterns, notions and fabrics. What I found was jaw-dropping! There were well over a thousand patterns neatly sorted by styles (dresses, vests, coats, totes, costumes, etc). I left with an overflowing extra-large laundry basket stuffed with Moda and Thimbleberry fabrics for $20. Final count was over 60 yards!! I found new metallic threads, serger cones, needles, etc., etc. For me, that day was better than Christmas!

  14. #14
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    I go to flea markets, thrift stores, and antique shops maybe 2-3 times a month. I have purchased a treadle at a flea market in almost pristine condition for $130 and a 1936 FW in pristine condition for $220 at an antique shop. Good prices, but not exactly that "wow" bargain.
    After about 5 years of collecting vintage machines, I finally ran into a great deal at an antique store. I was able to purchase a 1929 Singer 101 in great condition in a beautiful Singer model 40 walnut cabinet. The price tag said $35, which I couldn't believe, but when I went to pay for it there was some sort of discount and brought the price down to $27.16! My DH cleaned, lubed, and oiled it and it runs like a dream.
    Three weeks later, a dear friend saw the cabinet and said "I have a cabinet just like that in my garage. I think there is a sewing machine in it. If you want it you can have it." It turned out to be a 15-91 in a cherry (I think) model 40 cabinet! It needs the wiring from the cabinet to the foot pedal replaced, but what a gift!
    Hang in there, your treasure will show up when you least expect it. In the meantime, enjoy the hunt!
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie C View Post
    The machines I have found at estate sales were just lucky finds. The thrill is in the hunt! A couple of months ago, a brother and sister advertised an estate sale of their mom's patterns.... For me, that day was better than Christmas!
    I've told my children, if something happens to me, they need to let my sister and my best friend go through everything first...at least they'll know what to do with it.

    I LOVE those kinds of sales. I was at one, not long ago, and was amazed and kinda sad that they were selling all of her quilts. These were AMAZING quilts. I bought boxes of fabric, pre-cut for a quilt, patterns, templates, notions and one piece of fabric, at least 8 yards long. Less than $20

  16. #16
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Went to a yard sale today. The lady wasn't selling her machines but let me drool over two. One was a Wilcox & Gibbs in an awesome cabinet plus she had the original manual and some attachments and the other was a Singer, she didn't let me see that one, in a nice cabinet plus she had several family quilts displayed. One was a crazy quilt made by her great grandmother and her grandmother. Neither of her daughters sew and she says eventually she might sell her machines. I gave her my phone # just in case.
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  17. #17
    Senior Member w7sue's Avatar
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    I bought a White Rotary machine in a beautiful cabinet - machine was neat too - no decals - all the decorations were cast - have only seen one other like it - paid $40! I would probably have paid more for it since it was LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT - it needs a rubber wheelie thingi for it to run quietly - on the hunt!

    I paid $125 for a FW at a yard sale a few years back and $250 for a FW that my husband's cousin found for me in California - she shipped it to me around Christmas and it got delivered to the wrong address - thank goodness the lady was honest and my phone number was on the label - she called me and apologized because her kids had already opened it thinking it was Christmas presents! We both had a good laugh when I picked up my machine.

    I go to garage sales and estate sales and always keep an eye on the online places like craigslist and shopgoodwill.com - you never know when you will score a bargain.

  18. #18
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    Estate sales are great, I've gotten numerous machines for 10-20 dollars including a 306, 301, and the first Kenmore ever sold...it's SO much fun, and I like to act as if I'm taking it off their hands....lol

  19. #19
    Junior Member NewbieToQuilting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellietow View Post
    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.

    ****

    I've been looking nearly every weekend for just over a year and finally found one! Well, actually, my hubby found a 201 for me today!!! He texted me a pic and asked if I wanted it. "OF COURSE!" It's in pretty filthy and the cabinet needs some work, but it's going to be a great machine I think.

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