I have a chance to pick up a Singer 401a with supposedly a lot of attachments. The machine was left to the current owner at the passing of his grandmother very recently. I have seen pictures of it and the 3 drawer cabinet it is in and all looks to be in good shape. The grandmother was the original owner. As I said it looks to be in very good shape. I question is I have to travel about an hour away to see it so any advice and what would be a fair price for the machine?
Thanks for any help!
The 401 is a relatively common machine so some market research should turn up a current market value. IMO it is worth doing some follow up on it. Find out how recently grandma used it if you can.
Check my quidelines post in my sig for an approach to the machine. If it was me.... I'd probably make the drive once I got the research part of it done.
I can't tell you what a good price would be for it now but I picked up my 401A in the cabinet maybe 12 years ago in central Indiana for a $100. As far as I was concerned I stole the darned thing!!!
The machine had been in a house that had a fire, machine and cabinet were undamaged but stank of smoke originally. Fortunately I was getting it from the best ever machine repair tech I've ever met. It came out of his cleaning/inspection shop running like a top and it's continued to run that way ever since including several years where I used it for earning my living!
It's a workhorse and IMO it's worth every penny of whatever you have to pay for it!!
And if it comes with a buttonhole attachment that fits the slant shank, I've got first dibs on it....:D (you'll never need it for sewing hammock gear!)
I bought my 403a (and pretty much every accessory for it) a few months ago for $115 on ebay. I thought that was a pretty stellar price considering all the attachments (specifically a monogrammer...which I likely won't use but sells for ~$40 on ebay) as well as it was just a lot cheaper in general.
I've very happy with mine and the machines are nearly identical. Price/value is up to you but if I recall correctly, the cheapest I'd seen one go for was around $150 before I got mine (haggled a bit to get them to drop the price for me).
The asking price was 100.00. He has had it for sale for about three weeks and still has it, but again it is listed as a 1958 singer 401a machine. I think if you are a novice and are looking for a machine for that price there are quite a few listed that are near new. Yes they are crap but again near new. The machine is in a mountain community abour 45-60 minutes away which doesn't help the seller any. I'm guessing I can get it for close to 60-75. He sent me quite a few pictures and it seem to be in very good shape. A tune-up by the commercial guy in town runs 50-60, he maintains most of the commercial machines in town. So even with a tune-up maybe 140.00 in it.
Sounds like a good deal if you can get it for that price and there aren't any parts that require replacement (definitely make sure you test it out first).
If you're pretty handy, or just curious like I am, then you can probably service it yourself. I found a service manual online and could point you to it if you wanted.
I'd never opened a sewing machine up before but with a bit of patience got mine cleaned, serviced and lubricated in about 2 hours. However, when I do it the next time it shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes. The downside of doing this yourself is that you don't know what normal wear looks like vs worn parts...then again it's a gear driven machine so there aren't any belts to replace either.
...just something to keep in mine if you wanted to try and save yourself a couple bucks and if your DIY fix isn't tamed by just making gear :laugh:
crap but near new vs workhorse made to last
seems like a no brainer to me. Near new crap is still crap. What are you going to do with it? Make gear? jump on it. Garment sewing... not so much but still a good machine and will probably do for most application. Fashion garment sewing? pass on it and get a really good (and very pricey) new top of the line home machine.
That's my observation.
A no brainer for sure a 401a for less than $200 is a steal. Singer and most singer nuts feel the 401a was the best machine singer ever made all steel drive gears and direct drive motor no belts. This machine also has a ton of built in stitches you probably wont ever use unless your wife finds out about them. I only wish I was closer always seem to be a lot of good machines out west and upper east coast. Look on ebay I don't think you can go wrong and its a very easy machine to use.