The Sewing Machine Blue Book: Used Machines Depreciation

When it comes to used machines, it is usually what the market will bear when it comes to pricing used machines. Sentimental value may mean something to you but it does little to encourage buyers to spend more than the sewing machine is actually worth.

It seems that there used to be a blue book, like cars have, that priced used sewing machines. This blue book helped gave everyone a standard value for different sewing machines. Sadly, this book has disappeared. Used sewing machines have value but eBay is not the best place to find it.

To learn more about the value of used sewing machines just continue to read our article. It helps find the right sources for you to use to get an idea of what your used sewing machine is worth. Rarely you get maintenance fees reimbursed.

How Much is a Used Sewing Machine?


You are going to hate the answer. This is a depends question because there are so many factors involved when determining the price of the used sewing machine. Here is a shortlist of those factors:

  • The sewing machine’s age.
  • The condition the sewing machine is in.
  • How many many sewing machines of your particular model were made.

There may be other factors as well like how many accessories still come with the machine if the parts were made of metal or plastic and so on. What you are going to need besides meeting those top conditions is the serial number

On a Singer sewing machine, you can find the serial number in a variety of places depending on the model and if it is a manual, electric or a treadle combination. For Singer models, here are the locations:

  • 1. Treadle and or hand wheel - the serial numbers are up to 8 digits long and can be found on the throat plate or the bed of the machine.
  • 2. Treadle and or electric - on the right-hand side of the machine and the serial number has 2 letters followed by 6 numbers.
  • 3. Electric - 2 letters followed by 6 numbers and it is found on the bottom of the machine.
  • 4. 1960’s on up - serial number is on the front or the side of the machine depending on the model.

Then you might get more money for your used sewing machine if it is an easy to use model that is perfect for beginners. But the key to finding value is knowing what your potential buyer will pay for the sewing machine. Just be careful that your buyer does not low ball you and steal it for a very low sum.

It is hard to put a price on any used sewing machine model but a lot will have to do with the brand as well. Bernina’s may have more value used than other brands due to the quality of craftsmanship

The Different Types of Value

Before we go any further, a few words should be said on the different types of value that help place a monetary amount on a used sewing machine. Just because it is an antique doesn’t mean it is worth a lot of money.

You have to be careful not to fall into that trap and get visions of luxury in your mind. Even antiques will be sold at the price a buyer is willing to pay for it and that price may be determined by one or more of the following values:

  • Sentimental value - this is where the machine was given to you by your husband, mother, favorite aunt or has been passed down from mother to daughter for generations. This type of value encourages you to set the price high but does nothing for the buyer.
  • Utilitarian value - if the sewing machine works, then it may have value to a person who knows how to sew and loves doing it.
  • Decorative value - the sewing machine looks good and its design will complement the interior design of a home, room, museum or office, and so on. They are only going to use the machine to make their space look better.
  • Historical value - in other words, the machine’s place in history and if it marks a milestone in sewing machine development, etc.
  • Collector’s value - how much extra value will your sewing machine add to their current collection of sewing machines.
  • Parts value - the buyer only wants the sewing machine for spare parts to keep their sewing machine running.

Again and not to sound redundant, your sewing machine no matter its age and place in history is only worth what your potential buyer will pay for it.

How to Calculate the Blue Book Value of a Machine

One of the reasons you need to know the value of your used sewing machine is for insurance coverage. Insurance companies will not pay more for an item unless its value is verifiable and insured properly

Here are some options to help you determine the value of your used sewing machine:

  • 1. Get the serial number and model number from your sewing machine and if the brand name is still in existence contact a dealer to see if they can help determine a price.
  • 2. Take the sewing machine to an antique store to give you an appraisal of the value.
  • ​3. Find an independent appraiser who can come to your home and examine the machine. They will give you an estimate of its worth.
  • ​4. Go online and look at the different websites that help you calculate the value of your used machine. is one such place but it doe snot work with sewing machines.
  • ​5. Go to E Bay and check the prices placed on similar or the same model of machine that you own. Check the condition of their machines against yours.
  • 6. Ask a sewing repair shop what the value of your machine would be

Keep in mind that the old sewing machine blue book went out of publication when the publisher passed away. No one seems to have picked up his mantle and carried on his work.

Depreciation calculations and blue books for other machines will only give you an idea and may not be really accurate for sewing machines.

Sewing Machine Depreciation Rate

Part of the depreciation rate is the brand of the sewing machine. If the brand name manufacturer is not one of the top 5 nor has a good reputation then you can expect your machine to depreciate very quickly.

But there is a calculation you can follow to get an idea of the depreciation rate for your sewing machine:

  • 1. Add the cost and all fees together.
  • 2. Figure out how long the machine will last- the average is 5 years at present but can be longer for some machines.
  • ​3. Now guess your selling price when the lifespan is over.
  • ​4. Next, subtract line 3’s figure from line 1’s figure and that is your depreciable base.
  • ​5. When that is done, divide the result from #4 by the figure in #2 and that is your annual depreciation amount.
  • 6. Finally, multiply the result from #5’s calculation by the number of years you have used the machine and that result should be your depreciation value.

Singer Sewing Machine Blue Book Value


Ever since Mr. Singer invented his sewing machine, the company has produced millions of them. What this means is that finding a blue book value for a particular Singer sewing machine is not going to be easy.

One thing we can say is that the criteria mentioned earlier in this article will apply to the Singer sewing machines no matter their age and century they were made in. Then the different values that are attached to sewing machines, in general, will also apply to the Singer models you want to be appraised.

Keep in mind your sentimental value will be greater than the machine’s actual value. Here are some thoughts by a collector who likes Singer sewing machines. These points are the criteria he uses to place his value on the Singer sewing machine:

  • the features included are more valuable than the country where the sewing machine was made.
  • the machine has to be rare.
  • the mechanical design means more to him than the cabinet.

Every collector will have a different set of criteria concerning what appeals to them. Those individual criterion influence the value the person places on your old Singer sewing machine.

This website may help you find the value of your Singer sewing machine. This website may also be of some help to you. It says that old Singers range in value between $50 and $500.

Finally, this website will give you information from a collector’s point of view.

Our Sewing Machine Blue Book


While you need to be cautious when using ebay as a standard for sewing machine value, that website can give you an idea of what your used sewing machine is worth. Keep in mind that the price you pay doesn't include the shipping and handling costs.

Here are some prices for different top brand name sewing machines to get you started in finding a value for your machine. There is no particular order and we cannot list all the prices we find:

1. Bernina- Model 1230- $870

Model 830- $875

Model 811- $219

Model 831- $375

Model 1130- $500

2. Singer- Vintage featherweight 221- $190

Industrial 31K32- $450

Model 237- $50

Model 503A- $169

Model 6235 - $30

3. Brother-Model Ha2- B149- $129

Model 1211A- $142

Model 1351- $75

Model 451- $135

Model AF200 (Frozen)- $500

4. Janome- Vintage Japan- $588

Model L-392- $200

Model 532 J-A30- $149

Model Craft 7000- $450

Model 2003p- $82

5. Juki- Model LK-1900A- $3,250

We found only 1 Juki listed at E Bay which will give you an idea of their value to eBay buyers.

We cannot create a bone fide blue book at this time as there are too many variables involved in creating one. Suffice it to say that you can get an idea of what your sewing machine is worth by the numbers listed above and checking with different sewing machine outlets, antique shops, and even eBay.

Who Buys Used Sewing Machines?


You would be surprised at who buys used sewing machines. The list is as long as the many different sewing machines companies making them. The thing is you never know who will buy your sewing machine when you place an ad, sell it at a garage or yard sale or take it to an auction.

Here is a shortlist of potential buyers:

  • Boyfriends - they care about their girlfriend’s hobbies and dreams and want to help them achieve their goals.
  • Husbands - the same reasons apply here.
  • Women who like to sew - they always have an eye out for a good sewing machine that will last them a long time.
  • Parents - when they want to get their daughters involved in a hobby or encourage their desire to learn how to sew.
  • Repair shops - they need parts for older and even newer machines, or to sell to help their revenue.
  • Antique dealers - the same reasons apply here as repair shops plus they like to preserve older machines.
  • Museums - they like to add to their collections, preserve history, and maybe need extra parts
  • Collector’s - they simply like owning unique sewing machines for whatever reason they have.

The thing about collectors, antique shop owners, and repairmen is that they will say your machine is worth less than it really is. That is because they want to make a profit off your machine.

When it comes to pricing they are not the most honest people around.

Where to Buy Used Sewing Machines

This is also a long list and here are some of the places or people you can go to in order to find a good used sewing machine. Make sure you know how to haggle so you can get the best deal for you like the collectors, etc., try to get for themselves:

  • Friends & relatives - they may have a used machine they do not use anymore and want to get rid of it.
  • Classified ads - always a good place to find a used sewing machine and one that may be undervalued.
  • Repair shops, antique stores, dealers - they may have machines n hand that people brought in for repair, etc., but never came back or never paid their bill.
  • eBay, Craigslist, and other websites - they will have a large selection of used machines but be careful the sellers may know the value and price their machine high.

Some Tips on Finding the Retail Value of Used Sewing Machines

Finding the retail value of your machine or one you want to purchase is important. That effort helps keep you from overpaying for a used sewing machine that may break down right after you buy it.

Here are those tips:

  • 1. Go to an antique dealer and see how much they quote you. Then double that figure.
  • 2. Find a similar machine at an antique, repair, or other shop and note its price. Reduce the price by half for every 3 months it has sat in the shop on sale.
  • 3. Check E Bay and similar places for similar machines and note their price.
  • 4. Learn the history of your machine and you may be able to boost the price due to its historical value.
  • 5. Do some research over the internet, read auction reports and other sales to see what you should price your machine at.

How to Buy a Used Sewing Machine

Buying used is always risky, even friends and relatives can cheat you so check the machine out first before you hand over your cash.

  • 1. Buy from someone you know - but make sure you think about how it will affect your friendship if the machine doesn’t work and they won’t return your money.
  • 2. Thrift stores, yard sales, etc. - these are sold in as-is condition which means that if you do not want to do repair work, thoroughly check out the machine first.
  • 3. Buy from a repair shop - make sure it is a reputable store, see if you get a warranty, never buy as-is and check the return policy.

Some Final Words

The value of a used sewing machine depends on the value you place on it and your potential buyer places on it. The two are rarely the same. There is no real blue book to give you an idea of the price you should sell your machine for but the above information should help you do it.

Used sewing machines are like used cars - it is what the buyer wants to pay for it that determines its value.

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