Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: BelAir Bantam Sewing Machine ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: BelAir Bantam Sewing Machine
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: dglitz-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 12 Aug 2003 07:48 PDT
Expires: 11 Sep 2003 07:48 PDT
Question ID: 242883
This machine is in a red aligator-like case and appears to have been
made in the 50's. It was made in Japan, but the motor was made in Usa,
I need to know the value, and if it is a looked for collectible.
Subject: Re: BelAir Bantam Sewing Machine
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 12 Aug 2003 08:53 PDT
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
Hi dglitz~

Sewing machines are not generally considered collectible unless they
are from the 19th century (and sometimes the very early 20th century).

BelAir Bantams imitated the look of turn of the century Singer
machines. Going by your description, it sounds like your machine is
made from aluminum, and was manufactured in Japan in about 1950. It
was designed to be lightweight and portable, but was never a terribly
expensive machine. (Which doesn't mean that it doesn't sew nicely.)

In discussing values of sewing machines, the International Sewing
Machine Collectors Society offers this advice:

"Condition of the possible only from a hands-on
appraisal. [Checking} will give you some idea of the vast
difference in the condition of so-called "perfect", "mint", "as-new"
etc machines. Only with a hands-on viewing would an expert be able to
know of any missing parts, replaced parts and the added value of any
accessories, box, paperwork etc. These factors can affect the "value"
by many hundreds of percent.

Circumstances. When I do an official appraisal I need to know whether
the person needs an estimate of what the machine will bring in a local
auction, or at, in a specialist auction, or at an ISMACS
auction, or in a local newspaper advertisement, or to another
collector, or to a museum, or to a dealer. or a price for insurance
purposes (these are usually pretty unrealistic)

Location. Where you are will play a huge part in the perceived value
of your machine.

Market trends. Sales of super rare models are usually between
collectors and the information is often available to a limited few.
Results of auctions are public domain but outside of the ISMACS events
are usually so erratic as to be of little value in assessing results
of future sales.

Human frailty. Sadly many folk don't really want to know the "value",
they want confirmation that their machine is exceedingly rare and is
worth a king's ransom. Tell someone that their recent yard-sale find
was made in its hundreds of thousands and is worth less than $100 and
you invite a stream of abusive e-mail. Believe me, this has happened
many times.

Why you want to know. If you have just bought the machine its value is
obviously what you paid for it. If you want to sell it, only you know
what price you would be happy to take. If you intend to keep it, the
"value" is academic anyway." ("Frequently Asked Questions," ISMCS, )

ISMCS also recommends reading "How Much is My Machine Worth," by D.A.

If the machine is in good working condition, you can sometimes find a
sewer who prefers vintage machines. I wouldn't except to get a great
deal out of it...almost certainly under $75. There is only one BelAir
Bantam on eBay right now; it has two bids, closes in 9 hours (as I
type this), and is at $25; it appears to be a slightly different model
than what you describe, but is still a good gauge:

BelAir Bantam on eBay:

Hope this helps!

Search Strategy:
Researcher's personal knowledge of sewing machines

eBay search for BelAir Bantam

"BelAir Bantam" 

collectible sewing machine
dglitz-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars
I am an antique dealer and found it insulting to hear that I wanted to
hear  my machine was worth a "kings ransom". I only wanted to know
what I could expect to sell it for at a show. If "I knew what I paid
for it, I should know what I would be happy to sell for" were true I
wouln't be using google to research things. The rest of the
information was what I basically already had, but I did find out it
was worth under $75.00.  Thank You, Sue Glave

Subject: Re: BelAir Bantam Sewing Machine
From: pinkfreud-ga on 12 Aug 2003 15:17 PDT

I do hope you noticed that the remarks that offended you were NOT made
by your Researcher, but were portions of material that was quoted from
the International Sewing Machine Collectors Society. Kriswrite-ga is a
knowledgeable and very courteous Researcher, and I am certain that in
posting these excerpts she had no intention of insulting you.

Best regards,
pinkfreud-ga, Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: BelAir Bantam Sewing Machine
From: dglitz-ga on 12 Aug 2003 18:12 PDT
I'm sorry, I did not notice that the answer was part of a quote.
Subject: Re: BelAir Bantam Sewing Machine
From: kriswrite-ga on 13 Aug 2003 08:29 PDT

It was certainly not my intention to insult you, and I regret that you
came away with that impression. I simply felt that the Society offered
some good general advice for the layman, which was why I included the

My humblest apologies,
Subject: Re: BelAir Bantam Sewing Machine
From: dglitz-ga on 13 Aug 2003 14:27 PDT
Like I said in the above, I am sorry,  I thought the quote had ended
and that was your comments. Thanks, Sue

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy