Is there a market for old sewing machines?

There is definitely a market for old sewing machines. There are basically two ways to sell an old sewing machine. The first allows sellers to determine a price and sell directly to clients. Secondly, there are places that let clients determine the value of the sewing machine.

The first way to sell your sewing machine is to determine the value, set the price, and put it for sale. These market platforms can be physical places such as sewing shops, antique stores, and pawn shops, or online platforms like Etsy, Ruby Lane and Craigslist.

The other way to sell your vintage sewing machine is via an auction. Here, you get to determine your reserve price then let potential buyers do their thing. These markets can be physical auctions, as well as online sites like eBay and Catawiki, that are popular for selling antiques and vintage sewing machines.

Many buyers are interested in old and vintage sewing machines, so there’s definitely a market for them. Some people prefer to buy a second-hand machine because it can be a more affordable option, while others love the aesthetic of a vintage sewing machine.

Let’s start with the basics.

Antique, vintage or retro?

Before attempting to sell your sewing machine, you need to consider what you are selling first. Old sewing machines can be antiques, vintage or retrograde. Antique means it has been around for at least a hundred years, vintage for forty years, while retro for twenty years.

Secondly, you will need to determine the brand and model number of the sewing machine. All this will help you know its probable value.

Value: How much is it worth?

A physical check of your machine will help you determine the brand and model number. The model number is on the sides or bed of the sewing machine. The serial number is on the base, side, or underneath the sewing machine in most cases.

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Checking the model and the serial number of the sewing machine on the International Sewing Machine Collector’s Society (ISMACS) site will help you determine its age.

Afterward, do research and see what similar models are worth online on sites like Etsy, Ruby Lane, or professional antique dealers.

Remember, the value will be different for different buyers. Buyers with a sentimental attachment to old sewing machines will probably value them much higher than a pawnshop that will simply consider if it’s in good enough condition to resell.

Get your sewing machine in peak condition

Old sewing machines are just that, old. Having survived decades of use and time-lapse, they will not be in their previous new mint condition. Scratches, rust, worn-out paint jobs, chipped enamel, missing parts, and a need for restoration will bring down your perceived value.

Therefore, you might need to first do a restoration job on the sewing machine. It can be challenging to find out how to repair and older machine with limited online resources about it. Fortunately, sewing enthusiast sites like the International Sewing Machine Collector’s Society (ISMACS) can assist you with this, or better yet, you can seek the services of a professional repair person.

As much as collectors are increasingly buying sewing machines for aesthetic value, functional sewing machines are even more valuable. If possible, ensure the sewing machine can still make the stitches once could.

Where to sell your older sewing machine

Now that we have covered the basics, it’s time to get your sewing machine on the market. Start by deciding if you want to determine your own price and sell directly to buyers, or if you’d rather let buyers determine the value of the sewing machine.

Physical shops

The first market for selling or buying an older sewing machine is a physical where you meet with the potential buyer. Local sewing shops or sewing machine repair shops can be a great start. They are in touch with sewing enthusiasts and can link you to potential buyers.

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They might also be interesting in buying the sewing machine themselves, especially repair shops salvaging for parts.

Antique dealers and pawnshops are also areas to look into. Although they are reselling, and you may not get as much as you want for your sewing machine.


Online sites like Etsy, Craigslist and Ruby Lane are great platforms to market old sewing machines. After doing research, you can quote your price. However, location matters a lot. Due to size and weight, old sewing machines can lead to high shipping costs that will affect your price.


Auctions are markets that let buyers determine the value of the sewing machine. Auction houses for old sewing machines are unusual. They are rare and may sell quickly, though you may not get your reserve price.

Nowadays, most auctions are online. Online sites like eBay and Catawiki are not only good auction platforms, but a great place to determine an old sewing machine’s value. You will still need to be wary of the shipping costs as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get the best price for my sewing machine?

First, you need to determine the value of your sewing machine. Identifying the brand and model will help in research. Researching similar models’ values from various sources will enable you to come up with a rough estimate.

Online sites such as Etsy, Ruby Lane, eBay, Craigslist and Catawiki, even International Sewing Machine Collector’s Society (ISMACS) can assist you with this.

Secondly, different markets have their pros and cons. Direct selling in physical markets leaves room for negotiations while online sites face shipping costs and commission charges. Auction reserve prices are not always successfully achieved.

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How do I sell an old sewing machine online?

First of all, you will need to get the basics out of the way. Have you done thorough research on the value? Is it in good condition? Pictures are worth a thousand words, therefore to take a lot of them.

Every online site has its requirements. Therefore, be honest when sharing information while setting up an account and posting the sewing machine.

Remember, there are fees to be paid once you make a sale. Most sites will provide information on how to go through the process and preferred payment channels.

Can age determine the value of an old sewing machine as well?

Yes, but not alone. Your sewing machine’s age, combined with its condition are crucial in knowing the sewing machine’s worth. Check the model and the serial number of the sewing machine on the International Sewing Machine Collector’s Society (ISMACS) site will help you determine its age.

As for the condition, this generally refers to the general outlook of the sewing machine. If the sewing machine still functions, then that is a huge bonus. This means you can sell at a higher value.

Find the right market for your sewing machine

Old is gold, they say. Old sewing machines, especially famous brands that are still in good condition, can fetch astronomical figures in the right markets. The keyword here is the right market.

Sewing enthusiasts with an understanding of old sewing machines tend to buy older machines for the sentimental and historical value they offer. It is about the brand model, feel, and what it could do, hand-cranked or treadle.

On the other hand, some are in the business of making money, meaning you might not make a lot from these markets. Therefore, act diligently, manage your expectations and be patient.

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