Singer Featherweight 221 Condition Guide
We reproduce below his chart, with notes and additions pertinent to our trade in Featherweights. We buy, sell, refurbish, recondition and repaint Model 221, 222 and 301 machines everyday.
Graham Forsdyke's chart is now universally used to determine sewing machine condition, so that when machines are described among collectors, we can all have a better idea of the state of the items, than good, very good or poor. This scale takes no notice of mechanical condition. If something is broken or missing this should be stated, not hidden behind a number. This system seems to have worked well over the past 20 years and we recommend it to members.
Hip Stitch recommends against any sort of repainting to machines in the top tier. We are happy to represent such machines on a consignment basis. Depending on the machine in question, we will waive our percentage based commission for a flat fee.
9. As 10 but with the small, odd scratch or wear mark evident to very close inspection.
8. Very good used condition. All paint good; all metalwork bright. What the average antique dealer would call "perfect".
Depending on rarity of machine and sentimental value, repainting of machines in the second tier is to be considered on a case by case basis. For Singer Featherweight 221 and 222 machines as well as 301s, check the handwheel for nicks in the paint, and the decals where fabric would be feed through the machine. These are the most obvious wear points.
6. As in 7 but more wear to paint and some surface rust to the bright work.
4. Poor condition, chipped enamel, rusty metalwork but acceptable for a collection if a rare machine.
3. In need of restoration but a reasonable job for a dedicated enthusiast.
2. Total restoration needed to paintwork and bright metal. It's a brave collector that takes it on.
Graham also says, regarding machine value:
- The super rare will always appreciate whatever the condition.
- The super common will appreciate provided the condition is good.
- The super common in poor condition will never appreciate.
- Poor restoration markedly reduces the value of any item.