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  • Refinishing/refurbishing vintage machines/cases

    Old 12-07-2016, 07:33 AM
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    Default Refinishing/refurbishing vintage machines/cases

    I'm watching a "vintage Singer" (no other info) on Goodwill's site. It's NOT a Featherweight, it's just a portable. The case shows a good bit of wear, as does the chrome on the throatplate.

    So, my question is, does it increase the value or decrease the value if I were to acquire this machine and refinish the case and/or refurbish/replace the chrome?

    I acquired a Featherweight last week, and now find myself bidding on other antique machines.
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    Old 12-07-2016, 08:06 AM
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    Troat plates are easily replaced (even with correct part number). It's not that easy to find one in perfect condition, but for some models there are brand new available. Refurbishing an original case is perhaps the best (no need to scavange another machine), but original cases turn up, even identical. An all original machine in superb condition is always a pluss and something a bit out of the ordinary, but a well restored machine is very nice too. Unless it's something very special the money value is not great either way. A newly rewired and service machine will always fetch a good price, but still it's nothing close to a brand new modern top model.
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    Old 12-07-2016, 08:50 AM
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    Sewing machine collectors do not seem to have that "in original condition" thing going on. I would not think average sewing machine buyers would care either. If it looks good, works well and fits in the budget, they will buy it.

    However, I've not seen any evidence that there is much money to be made on vintage domestic sewing machines. There are 1,000s if old sewing machines out there. Many are available in thrift stores, estate sales and garage sales at very low prices. If you really get into it, of course you can make some money. I think Miriam has made money at refurbing, but she has a house full of parts machines and is very knowledgeable. She sells parts, too. There aren't many Miriams, though. There is a local guy who posts lots of machines for sale on craigslist.com, so he must be making some money, or he wouldn't continue to do it.

    Collectors will usually wait for good deals, unless it is extremely desirable and rare. They usually do their own refurbs, as that is part of collecting.

    A warning, though. Once you get it cleaned up and working, you really don't want to let go of it for the price you can get for it. That's how I ended up with so many machines. I gave away my Singer 328 to someone I really like. I kind of regret it, though. I had no use for it, as I can only sew on one machine at at time and I have several more. It was a really clean, well running machine, though.

    Another thought - be sure to take your shipping charge into account on the shopgoodwill.com purchases. Shipping can be more than the selling price of the machine. There are also stories of very poorly packed machines bought on that site that arrived damaged.

    bkay
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    Old 12-07-2016, 10:44 AM
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    I think it would be more important to have a machine clean and in good working condition that unrestored, dirty and not working. Just my 2 cents, but then I like to use mine so I want them to be clean and working and don't spend much time or energy on the value of the machine to sell.
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    Old 12-08-2016, 03:25 AM
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    Right now with taking care of elderly parents in their home... I just refurbish vintage machines and have my husband who I never see stack them back home at my house in big piles. I don't live there... LOL... I don't sell any on CL right now either. And there isn't money in it anyway, consider it a labor of love... I do have a few parts machines in another big pile. I do have some parts I got from an old sewing machine guys stash. Sew classic is a good resource for parts. It is a wonder the floors haven't given out and the walls haven't caved in. I have no idea what or how many machines I have over there.... Well some idea. If I could stack them all on the roof, it would never blow off. If my parents out live me my two young grand children, Wilbur and Lovie will have to figure out what to do... My kids sure don't know... If I ever get moved back home, I'll have to do a giant yard sale or rent the coliseum...
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    Old 12-08-2016, 07:42 AM
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    Best advice I've ever heard about antiques (in general)- Buy what you can afford and because you love it. Do not consider them an investment because you never know what the future brings.

    As Miriam said this is a labor of love. It can be very easy to get in over your head if you buy everything that you see. Take time to figure out what you really love.
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    Old 12-08-2016, 09:53 AM
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    Originally Posted by pennycandy
    Best advice I've ever heard about antiques (in general)- Buy what you can afford and because you love it. Do not consider them an investment because you never know what the future brings.

    As Miriam said this is a labor of love. It can be very easy to get in over your head if you buy everything that you see. Take time to figure out what you really love.
    I totally agree with that. I have many antiques in my house and my husband and I do vintage/custom cars. While my 66 Mustang has appreciated considerably in the 20 years since I bought it, we've also put a fortune in it in restoration/modification costs. I don't consider my cars/antiques/vintage sewing machines as investments. They are things I love and things I want to have around me. Their value on the open market is somewhat irrelevant to me.
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    Old 12-08-2016, 11:00 AM
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    I, too, got quickly enamored with old sewing machines. I, too, got in over my head. I didn't spend that much money, so that's not an issue. What is an issue is that I have about 15 sewing machines (some with cabinets) that I either have to fix, sell or trash. I love the old machines, but I don't know how to fix them. I don't love them enough to spend the time to learn how to fix them. Right now, they are taking up space in my store room and my garage. I just got carried away after I bought my first Japanese machine for $15.00.

    bkay
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    Old 12-18-2016, 06:53 AM
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    Anyone have a Pfaff 1222E they want to sell? Also the 232?
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    Old 12-21-2016, 07:39 AM
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    Thanks everyone for your input.

    My thinking was not as much for buying/fixing/selling, as it was for just ensuring that if I make it pretty again, that it will sell better eventually. I'm not meaning for this to be like "flipping houses" kind of thing.

    My intent is that I buy something I really like, fix it up into something I really love, use it awhile (or for years and years) and then when I die, my kids/grandkids have something that is not just "antique" but actually works, is usable, and is pretty too!!

    I'm thinking seriously of taking a class to learn how to fix up the older machines, but not the newer computerized ones - those would be pretty much "manufacturer/dealer dependent" anyway.

    Again, thank you all for your input.
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