What are the current dollar values of Antique Machinist tools?
Close
Login to Your Account
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 38
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Kansas City, Mo.
    Posts
    6,644
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    395
    Likes (Received)
    2227

    Default What are the current dollar values of Antique Machinist tools?

    I am working on an inventory of my collection which is a major task that I have been putting off for decades. Amazingly I kept records of my purchases going back nearly 40 years.

    I’m curious what you all think these historic pieces are worth today? I’m not talking about just average old stuff but rare (only a few known to exist), historic (like the earliest micrometer or vernier caliper) or just plain cool looking some strange patented surface gage that never became popular.

    The market place for these things has always been driven by a handful of collectors who will pay $100s or even $1000s for a single piece. What is the market today? My collecting has gone in different directions the past bunch of years so I don’t follow it much like I used to.

    I’m interested more as curiosity, not because I plan on selling. Arrangements have been made for the collection with museums. To me the cost of the items has never been the driving factor in buying them. I often say I buy on average, some days I pay way too much, somedays I get things cheap. In the end I have a very complete collection. Surprisingly most I bought really cheap because years ago no one knew what this stuff was, like an 1877 B & S 1” mic for $10.

    What brought this up was I just recorded about 70 surface gages, I did a check on eBay both current and past sales and of the 70 only 6 of the most common ones showed up. This stuff has always been pretty scarce, now it seems nearly impossible to find. But when it is found, does it bring in high dollars? I see every now and then good micrometers do very well, how about other tools?

    Look forward to your thoughts.

  2. Likes SalemRule liked this post
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Reddington, N.J., U.S.A.
    Posts
    3,664
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    688
    Likes (Received)
    454

    Default

    Hard to use FleaBay as a Barometer for value as they have reduced the sold history to 90 days.
    A rare item might only appear.....rarely.

  4. Likes SalemRule liked this post
  5. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    People's Republic
    Posts
    6,084
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    723
    Likes (Received)
    3755

    Default

    My frame of reference

    a rusty 54 studebaker is worth scrap price
    A restored 54 studebaker is worth 20-50 grand
    A rusty 54 studebaker owned by Marilyn Monroe is worth a million bucks

    The point being, is that if the tool has not inherent importance, real or perceived, it is pretty worthless.
    100 year old mics were pretty much commodity items.
    Important measuring instruments, first of a type, or important for some other reason, like Marilyns 6 inch dial caliper, might be worth money

    Otherwise they are just fun things to have.

  6. Likes Maltesehunter liked this post
  7. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lambertville, MI USA
    Posts
    3,026
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1724
    Likes (Received)
    1513

    Default

    I suspect that like most antiques the prices on antique tools are falling because there aren't younger collectors coming along to replace the ones that are dying off. In both my personal experience in selling off an estate full of antiques and reading on the subject people under forty don't collect anything. That group would rather spend their disposable income on doing things. IE travel dining out the sort of thing they can do with their friends. There more interested in memories than objects.

  8. Likes donie liked this post
  9. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Missoula Mt
    Posts
    1,399
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    62
    Likes (Received)
    676

    Default

    You missed the bus, kids now days dont want anything to do with work, letalone grand dads tools, should have sold 20 years ago...Phil

  10. Likes rustytool, MetalCarnage, kustomizer liked this post
  11. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Kansas City, Mo.
    Posts
    6,644
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    395
    Likes (Received)
    2227

    Default

    Thanks everyone. btw Phil, did not miss the boat because I am not selling.

    Yes I have read a lot about the younger folks lack of interest in owning stuff. Funny about antiques, went to an auction this past weekend, lots of nautical stuff, I got way out bid on everything I wanted. All of it was in the $1000s. Other stuff was strong too, except furniture. Fun part was, auction was outside in a big tent. I had a parking place at the back and could bid from my car, they attached our bidding card to a flyswater.

  12. Likes HNRK-FAB, SalemRule liked this post
  13. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Madera county california usa
    Posts
    2,724
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    21
    Likes (Received)
    720

    Default

    Have am pickers come by and do a show...

    Now in video and much over value...

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  14. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Princeton, NJ USA
    Posts
    1,939
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1748
    Likes (Received)
    488

    Default

    Funny because if someone asked me this question I would refer them to you!

  15. Likes cyanidekid liked this post
  16. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lambertville, MI USA
    Posts
    3,026
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1724
    Likes (Received)
    1513

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rivett608 View Post
    auction was outside in a big tent. I had a parking place at the back and could bid from my car, they attached our bidding card to a flyswatter.
    Was this tent big enough for the cars to be inside? I would assume you had a catalog and they had some sort of a sound system?

  17. Likes rivett608 liked this post
  18. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Texas
    Posts
    2,919
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2653
    Likes (Received)
    1357

    Default

    From what I've seen, there's still a lot of younger people who enjoy antiques and collectibles of that nature, but for too many of them, very little thought goes into the future of the stuff.

    Many will buy an old bicycle or an old tool because of it's perceived history and uniqueness... but really they want the "patina," because next they mount it on a board to put in the den, and then toss it out in 5 years when the trends change. Even if they sell it or pass it on to someone, rarely does the information about it's past go with it. The antique market is huge right now, but it's also very destructive. Values have been greatly skewed by what is trending or what someone saw someone else do in the antique shop window. Because a things actual rarity or actual historical significance is of no consequence in the equation, common things are left to rust while uncommon things get chopped up for someones Steampunk outfit.

    An example would be the classic car market. It used to be that you could shop around a find a good project at a decent price and restore it within a budget. Now, any good projects that happen to fall out of a barn get cut up into "rat-rods," and the rust-bucket that's been in a field waiting for grandpa to die so it can go on the market, gets over-priced to the point that the rich artsy people are the only ones who can afford it because they aren't going to put any more money into them once they're cut up and sold as lawn art for a profit. I've read a lot of topics over on the Jalopy Journal of guys who have taken 1930's wreaks out of river beds that were seconds away from vanishing into rusty dust, and they stubbornly put the work into bringing them back. Most of those guys have become superior metal smiths and do amazing things, but it's out of necessity! Those cars aren't getting any more plentiful.

    IMO many machine tools and measuring tools that are saved now are not going to gain any collector value in our life-time. The next owners life-time is still more likely, but that possibility can vanish a lot quicker.

    All this stuff really is just "stuff," but IMO our history is too easy to be re-written these days. It greatly helps to have tactile reminders of the lessons we've already learned.

  19. Likes dundeeshopnut, ratbldr427 liked this post
  20. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    305
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    202
    Likes (Received)
    251

    Default

    There is no doubt that the newer generations are lacking interest in a lot of this old stuff,however I do believe there will always be plenty of young fellas with a love for collecting old iron..the world has a lot of people and growing by the minute. If I had to guess it will probably fade away and then get more popular again over time... I’m actually amazed at how many young guys are in to blacksmithing and forging these days... The market for old tools and iron will fluctuate as will the interest .

  21. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    L'Orignal, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    2,377
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2538
    Likes (Received)
    1033

    Default

    While I can't add anything about the value of old tools and it is easy to generalize about young people ,I know there are a few young people who with some help and encouragement may be around to keep a few of the old tools and machines around in the future.
    I know when I was young and starting out and over the last many years in addition to my father I had several mentors who helped and encouraged me.
    Here is a link to an article about one young fellow that was featured in my local paper a few month's ago.
    Model A restoration project a labor of love for Vankleek Hill's Clay MacWhirter - The Review Newspaper
    Jim

  22. Likes HNRK-FAB, M.B. Naegle, rivett608 liked this post
  23. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Louisville, KY, USA
    Posts
    1,149
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    221
    Likes (Received)
    297

    Default

    The value of historically important objects is weird. Collectors' tend to value things based on unfulfilled desire or reputation. So, somehow ing like my South Bend Heavy Ten has several times the value of my Sheldon even though they're functionally identical because people know the South Bend name. It's even harder to value historical significance, if you get the collector or institution that has to have a particular object for whatever reason, the price can be quite high, but if you're trying to sell it in the open market and the three people in the world who would kill for your item aren't interested at the moment then it's worth little more than scrap.

    My Neracar motorcycle is rare, different, and technologically significant, but it's also the cheapest 95 year old American motorcycle you can buy because very few people care about its innovations.

    For insurance purposes, I'd probably take the sum of the purchase prices and adjust for inflation. Just like you average out paying too much for some pieces and getting a bargain on others, you can average the inflation from the middle of your collecting period.

    Y'all are getting way too worked up about kids these days. You are forgetting that a lot of us bought this stuff cheap 20-30 years ago because no one wanted it. My shop has literal piles of blacksmith tools that were bought cheap because no one wanted them in the fifties and sixties.

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

  24. Likes Jim Christie, sandiapaul, rivett608 liked this post
  25. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Texas
    Posts
    7
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    46
    Likes (Received)
    8

    Default

    I agree Jim. My day job is in education and while it's easy to lump a younger generation into those that "don't like work and don't collect" some of the burden fall on us to lead the way. You never know what interest you will spark, even far down the road, by a quick demonstration.

    Some students like the CNC but can also be receptive to a hacksaw..

    Best, -Kyle

  26. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Alabama
    Posts
    87
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    30
    Likes (Received)
    45

    Default

    You old codgers better pump the brakes on the youth hating! I'm 34 and just getting started with this stuff...i'm also not afraid of work or "figuring it out."

  27. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Texas
    Posts
    2,919
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2653
    Likes (Received)
    1357

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FJsapper View Post
    You old codgers better pump the brakes on the youth hating! I'm 34 and just getting started with this stuff...i'm also not afraid of work or "figuring it out."
    Well I'm 32, but I've high standards

  28. Likes rivett608, ratbldr427 liked this post
  29. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Missoula Mt
    Posts
    1,399
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    62
    Likes (Received)
    676

    Default

    So you are 1 in 1000 that not on drugs and wants to learn a trade.. I mean this... my hat is off to you, now you get the other 999 in line would you please and save the country...Phil

  30. Likes reggie_obe liked this post
  31. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    New York
    Posts
    2,157
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1742
    Likes (Received)
    1060

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by M.B. Naegle View Post
    From what I've seen, there's still a lot of younger people who enjoy antiques and collectibles of that nature, but for too many of them, very little thought goes into the future of the stuff.

    Values have been greatly skewed by what is trending or what someone saw someone else do in the antique shop window. .
    you say you are 32, but refer to the "antique shop window", few under 35 even knows what an antique shop is, they only know what they saw on "cable" back when that still existed. anyone under 25 only knows what they have seen on Facebook and instagram, and no one under 15 knows anything that's not on TikTok.

  32. Likes M.B. Naegle liked this post
  33. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    L'Orignal, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    2,377
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2538
    Likes (Received)
    1033

    Default

    Sorry if I am running this thread too far off topic.
    I think older tools take on more value to younger people when they are associated with happy times and great experiences and great friends
    Here are a couple of other links that feature young people at work and interested in vintage equipment even if they are a little off topic for this forum
    http://www.pierregillard.com/article...EVACHER_EN.pdf
    Pierre Gillard who was one of his instructors and also part of the DC3 project posted the story on his blog.
    Passion Aviation
    If you haven't seen them before you can see more links about the Plane Savers DC3 project mentioned in the article that I posted in post 5 & 6 of this thread where young people played a large part in the story mentored by so many people with years of experience.
    Douglas Aircraft-------------1938
    This young fellow from the U.K. is certainly getting some great encouragement.
    The Skymaster project is not just... - Save the Skymaster
    It may not play too well if you aren't logged in to Facebook or perhaps it's just my slow internet connection .
    Home - Save The Skymaster!

    Jim

  34. Likes M.B. Naegle, HNRK-FAB liked this post
  35. #20
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2,547
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    65
    Likes (Received)
    667

    Default

    I have been scrounging for gems all my life. I see the guys in my local metalworking club getting older and older and sometimes I wonder if there isn't going to be some tipping point where suddenly the value of these former collectibles goes to zero, and the last owner loses out.

  36. Likes SIP6A, reggie_obe liked this post

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •