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 machine...is possible only from a hands-on
appraisal. [Checking eBay.com} 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 www.ebay.com, 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
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!
Researcher's personal knowledge of sewing machines
eBay search for BelAir Bantam
collectible sewing machine