The joy of Ebay #1


Mentioning bobbings and neddles in that last post has reminded me to share with you a couple of other little gems which I spotted recently on Ebay.

First off, a listing with a bog-standard 1930’s Singer 99 described as a “vintage sewing machine which is very heavy because it is made from thick black plastic with gold details.” Oh yes, that vintage plastic is so much heavier than this cheap plastic you get nowadays.  And did you know that a magnet doesn’t stick to modern plastic like it does to this good old stuff?

Better still though was a listing which stopped me in my tracks.  Never before had I seen a sewing machine on Ebay with a starting price of £300 and a Buy It Now price of £500.  So what, you wonder, was up for auction?  Some ancient machine, perhaps one with a faded sticky label underneath upon which is written “I made this one myself” and below that the signature of Isaac Singer himself?  Some never-before-seen prototype from the Singer factory in Podolsk?  A pristine example of the very rare steam-powered Model 13 from 1911 complete with the original gusset-grauncher and other attachments?

Ermmm … no.  What it said in the description was “sewing machine and table circa 1903”, followed by details of its condition and serial number.  That was below a picture of a common-or-garden Singer 185 on the usual table (what I’m fairly sure is called a “combination table”).

Now, I find it difficult to understand how anybody might think that a modern-looking machine like a 185 could have been made in 1903, but I find many other things difficult to understand too.  So, being a helpful sort of a bloke, I sent the seller a message which just said “You might like to know that the machine in your picture was first made in 1958 and the table is also 1950’s”.  This prompted a reply to the effect that the seller had looked up the serial number on the Singer site and it was definitely 1903, so there.

Fair enough.  I left it at that, but I did notice that the listing re-appeared in due course with a start price of £20, a Buy It Now of £100 and the description changed to “circa 1950’s”.  Not surprisingly, it still didn’t sell.

It’s interesting how many Singer sewing machines you see listed on Ebay which were made in 1903.  Except they weren’t made in 1903. If you go to the Singer site and look up serial numbers with a K prefix, it does indeed say 1903.  But, as is obvious to most people, that means a machine serial number starting with a K.  It doesn’t mean a motor serial number starting with a K, which practically all UK ones do and always have …


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