A Singer 401
A Pfaff 1221
A Lady Kenmore 89
All of these are machines desired by some collectors. All three of these were in very good cosmetic condition and perfect operating condition. They need to be great if you want a good price.
|Pfaff 1221 with cam stack and "integrated dual feed": a built in walking foot|
For the Pfaff and the Kenmore I had an original manual and a complete set of the original attachments. For the Singer I put together a complete set of attachments and cams and a reproduction manual. For all of them I then added as many additional goodies as I could find--more specialty presser feet, Greist hemmer sets, buttonholers, bobbins, a selection of needle sizes, etc. I buy this stuff all the time very inexpensively at thrift shops, so I always have a good supply.
My goal is to give the buyer as complete a package as possible. The Singer 401 is slant shank, and the Pfaff and Kenmore 89 are both high shank, so you can't just run to Walmart or Joann's for attachments. Adding as many extras as possible saves the buyer a ton of money. I put the goodies in an attractive little box, too.
For the Pfaff and Kenmore I scanned the manual and printed it out at 8.5 x 11" size, which makes the illustrations much easier to read. I used both of these machines as my go-to machines at some point, so I had done this for myself.
|Lady Kenmore 89, made by Gritzner in West Germany|
I begin with the price that I could reasonably expect to get on eBay. You can search for completed listings for the model you are selling. But a better approach is to set up a search and look every day, or at least weekly, add them to your watch list and see what they go for. You need a good knowledge base to come up with a realistic price.
|The classic Singer 401, considered by many to be the best machine Singer ever made|
But that's the eBay price, not the CraigsList price. eBay is a national market and you will get a higher price if thousands of people are looking. So I knock $100 off of the eBay price (only $50 off during the Christmas season). That might sound like a big reduction, but eBay and PayPal both charge fees and CraigsList doesn't. With local CraigsList buyers you don't have to ship it. And with CraigsList you can sell the cabinet with it. Any vintage machine collector quickly becomes swamped with cabinets.
In the CraigsList ad I say "asking $xxx" and I don't say "or best offer". Most people ask if I would take less. My answer is yes, but only $50 less.
I write an ad that describes the machine and all of its features and attachments in EXHAUSTIVE detail. Good photos are a must too. I write the longest, most detailed CraigsList ads I have ever seen. I give advice about what to look for ("Always check the cam stack on a vintage machine through a complete rotation, looking for cracks. This cam stack is flawless"). I reveal the slightest flaws such as tiny chips to the paint job.
You see, I am looking for the ONE knowledgeable person who knows what she is looking for. The extremely detailed ad tells her what she needs to know. And all three times I found her. And she was delighted with the machine and the price. And I was delighted to find a good home for it. Not to mention making a bit of money.
And a bit is all I got. In each case if you factored in the time I spent in cleaning and repairing the machines, I made about minimum wage. But bringing vintage machines back to life is what I do for fun, so I got paid minimum wage for some vintage fun.
It's only the high-end collectible machines that I expect to make a bit of money on. Most of the people I meet personally just want a simple zig-zagger, and I sell those to friends, friends of daughters, friends of friends, and people who become friends in the process.
I include a manual if I have one, at the minimum a threading guide even if I have to create one from a photo. I only include the attachments that I think the buyer will want, usually just an adjustable zipper foot. Too many attachments can be intimidating. What the heck are they? What the heck am I supposed to be doing with them?
These non-high-end machines I sell for the exact amount of money that I have invested in them and don't add anything for my labor.
After all, the mission statement of DragonPoodle Studio is:
Saving History From The Scrapyard, One Sewing Machine At A Time.
Saving, not hoarding. I want EVERYONE who sews to have a wonderful vintage machine.