Sewing Machine Research
ISMACS International
International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society

Condition Chart

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.

10 Just like the day it left the factory. Not a scratch or mark upon it. I think I have ever seen only two machines in this category.
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".
7 Good condition but rubbing of paint evident and some nickel plating worn.
6 As in 7 but more wear to paint and some surface rust to the bright work.
5 The average, hard-used, ill-cared-for machine looking for someone to love it.
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.
1 Spare parts only and these would be in need of extensive restoration.

This system seems to have worked well over the past 20 years and we recommend it to members.

Graham also says, regarding machine value:

1) The super rare will always appreciate whatever the condition.
2) The super common will appreciate provided the condition is good.
3) The super common in poor condition will never appreciate.
4) Poor restoration markedly reduces the value of any item.