Come last sunday, it was once again time for hubby’s annual trip to the Beaudesert automotive swap meet…..Normally the thought of automotive swap meets makes me shudder!  The endless rows of car parts scattered around on the ground and on make shift tables…..and the HOURS it takes for hubby to wade through it all! Acres and acres of sprawling stuff I label as JUNK!…..ANY excuse for me to be busy that day so I haven’t time to go with him? LOLLL…..BUT….after the FUN I actually had last year, at the automotive swap meet that wasn’t ONLY automotive, I found myself actually looking forward to it!

The HARD part for ME was that we had to get up before the crack of dawn to make the 2 hour+ drive to arrive there bright and early, before the GOODIES are all scooped up by other eager bargain hunters! I am definately NOT an early morning rise type of person so I need a bit of coaxing to get up THAT early! LOL…..BUT….the good part was, we left MINUS the teenagers! YAY….A day of not having to listen to “Are we there yet”……”Are we leaving yet”……”I am Hungry”……blah blah blah! I am sure those of you with kids know the feeling! LOLLL Anyway….that’s a whole other story……

We actually DID arrive earlier this year (Most likely because I actually WANTED to go, so I wasn’t dawdling around getting myself up and dressed and into the car! LOL). People were still setting up their stalls…..which was a good opportunity to make an initial quick trip around to look for anything that might grab ones eyes!

As we are both setting out to spot different things, we don’t stick together BUT….thank goodness for mobile phones so we can easily keep each other posted (Or more to the point, I can call him to LUG anything I might find, back to the car! LOL)

Well…..I really hadn’t gone very far when I spotted a familiar looking shaped black item…..YES….a sewing machine!…..BUT as I got closer there was someone handing over some CASH…..Suddenly my jaw dropped….had I missed out on a super bargain just by a few seconds??

BUT….. on closer inspection over the happy buyers shoulder, I noticed the machine was NOT a Singer machine afterall BUT rather some other machine trying hard look like one! I had long made up my mind to only collect Singers, otherwise I would need to sell up and buy a bigger home to accomodate my collection! LOL So my jaw returned to it’s usual position!

After about 5 minutes of brisk walking and passing several very SAD and rusty sewing machines, all priced at more than what I have spent on vintage machines to date, I came to a stall with a lady still unloading her goodies….AH YES……she was lugging a SINGER machine out of her van and onto the ground……I waited patiently, browsing her other wares (Afterall, I didn’t want to appear too eager! LOL) until she took the lid of the machine and had it displayed properly. I made my way over to it and discovered a very nice looking machine in suprisingly good nick too! From my earlier research into the machines, I recognised that it was definately an older machine than I already had in my collection. BUT…..the price tag was a just little too high for my budget despite probably being a fair price! I was about to walk off when the lady knocked $5 off the price…..a little interested, I ummed a little and then offered her another $5 less and low and behold, the machine was MINE! Now you see, it does pay to bargain a little! LOLLL

The machine came complete with case, case KEY and attachments. Sometimes the boxes of attachments are worth just as much as the machines although this one is a little tatty BUT thank goodness the attachments are nice and shiny! Just don’t ask me what they actually DO! LOLL The wiring also looks to have been replaced and updated and I was assured she sewed perfectly…..and there was even a little sample stitching to show what she can do!

99k Singer Sewing Machine

My Vintage 99k Singer Sewing Machine

When I got home, some quick research revealed it is a 1938 99k! WooHoo!

Anyway, a quick phone call to hubby and soon the machine was safely tucked away in the back of our car……so back to the stalls I went! Another 5 minutes passed along with NOTHING interesting to look at, when I spotted a rather SAD machine laying on the ground. The wooden base was all but gone….It was SO rotten that all that remained were brittle layers of ply held together only by DUST and GRIME! YUK….BUT…….the machine itelf really caught my eye! Under all that dust (Wouldn’t you think they would at least brush the dust off??) I could see that the machine was in REALLY REALLY good nick….The decals were all but perfect and the paint was shining even through the dust! A closer inspection and I discovered that there wasn’t even a speck of rust to be seen on any of the metal bits above the delapidated box! At only $10….THIS machine, dirt and all, was coming home with ME! Mind you, the very SECOND I got home I got rid of the base BUT I left the DUST intact for some ‘before and after’ photos!

99k Vintage Singer sewing Machine

Another 99k Singer! (BEFORE cleaning!)

When I removed what remained of the base, I found a little surface rust underneath BUT nothing that can’t be removed with a little elbow grease! A quick internet search and I discovered it was a 1960 99k…. The same model as the other one, only newer….BUT still older than ME! LOLLL

On resuming my travels around the swap meet, I was quite satisfied and wasn’t expecting to take anything further home with me BUT….. just as I was starting to get mighty BORED, I spotted a familiar looking wooden shaped Bentwood box. So I asked the fellow nearby if I could take a peek at what is inside…..curiosity getting the better of me! His reply made me even more curious….He couldn’t show me because HE had long lost the KEY!

He himself had NO idea what the machine was or the condition it was in! He proceeded to attempt to open the case with a pocket screwdriver BUT to no avail. He picked the box up, gave it a little shake and said “It’s in there, (No kidding? LOL) You can have it for $25!”

HA! Now I might be a little dim at times BUT I was NOT going to pay $25 for something I had NO clue as to what it was or the condition it was in! I just shook my head…..His next comment was “Oh you can have it for $15” I replied politely “No thanks” and was about to walk off when he said “$5…..go on take it….Think of it as a lucky dip! What can you get for $5 these days?”

Hmmmmm….he had a point, didn’t he? LOL He seemed genuine enough and of course, I being the nosy parker that I am, I was simply dying to know what actually was inside! LOLLLL So…..he had himself a deal!

My Lucky Dip Singer Sewing Machine!

My lucky Dip Case……Just What IS inside???

Luckily the key from my earlier buy, fitted the case perfectly! A twist and a wriggle of the case lid and……. Taaaadaaaaa

Vintage singer sewing Machine 201k 1954

THIS is what’s inside! A 1954 201K Singer!

WOOHOO! Now all that is left for me to do is give all 3 machines a really GOOD CLEAN up! So stay tuned for some “After” photo shots! 🙂

How about YOU? Do you like bargain hunting at swap meets, garage sales, car boot markets and yard sales??

Happy sewing AND bargain hunting!

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  1. Hey Christine, how are you? Long time. I actually have one of those machines in a box. It was my great grandmothers and I learnt to sew on it when I was 7. Still in the wooden base and cover, and with a key. Once I get a “studio”, I want to display it.
    Hope you are doing well. Working on any new purse patterns? Cant’ wait.
    Take care and thanks for sharing

  2. TypePad HTML Email
    Hi Sue, Great to hear from you! Busy and well, thanks! LOL Yes… just putting the finishing touches to a pattern now…..should be off to the testers tomorrow or even late today! So not far off now! What I like about these old machines is that they are so solid and you can almost always get them working properly again! I hope when I get my studio setup, I can put them to good use! I learnt on my mums only Singer treadle…..we still have it BUT it was stored in a garden shed for years so is in a very sad state unfortunately! 

  3. I can’t wait to see how they clean up too! LOL I will put them on display as soon as I move into my studio……but thats still a few months down the track yet! :0

  4. My goodness you are lucky. I’d have paid $50 just for that case. I keep looking for an old singer but I just can’t afford the $$$$ (usually $350) around here.

  5. WOW! That is expensive!!! Only ones in absolute MINT condition are that expensive around here! Most of them are less than $100 and I have seen a lot in REALLY nice condition less than $100! Some of the treadles are more expensive if they have a really nice table with them BUT the table has to be REALLY nice to fetch a lot. Mind you, if you go to a dealer they are more expensive….they are always cheaper if you look for ones for sale privately! Pity shipping is so expensive or I would send one over to you! It would cost more than the machine though! LOLLLL

  6. I have the singer 1954 model black with gold lettering in a work desk with dtawer. it was appraised at $525 and am trying to sell it. any ideas

  7. Hi Cory,
    Sorry….no not really! I don’t sell them myself…..just keep an eye out for bargains to add to my collection! |It might depend also on your location as to the best way to sell it! Good luck!

    I like the Olivia bag best.
    I hope this is the right place to comment. I followed the directions in your blog: “1) Leave a comment in the comment section below, letting me know WHICH pattern is your favourite!”
    If this is the wrong spot, please let me know where I should enter. Thanks!

  9. Hi Christine
    I love your bargain vintage Singers! I picked one up myself last year, and it’s a 1937 99k. You can check the serial numbers on the singer site to find out how old they are and where they were made. Mine was made in Clydebank, Scotland, where there used to be a big Singer factory.
    Here’s a link to mine, if you want to take a look at it. I was very lucky as it came with lots of little extras.

  10. A delightful yarn. I also collect vintage sewing machines and now focus on Singers. What a find. The 201 is my favourite (I have 3!) and as I like to treadle I actually took the motor off one and replaced in one of my treadle cabinets! It’s addictive. Thankfully I live on a farm and have an old school portable as my sewing studio 🙂 I started collecting as a mental health strategy as I love bringing them back to life. Seems we have two things in common … love of vintage sewing machines and bags! Thanks for your great creations.

  11. It’s great to hear from you! Yes it is very addictive! I used to dread going with hubby to his swap meets but have now come to look forward to them because I almost always seem to come across at least one sewing machine on offer! 🙂

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