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Considering a Used Bernina

Cocopop | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Is a used Bernina 1260 a good machine? Does anyone know what it should costs? I looked at the new ones and really would like a Bernina but I also saw a used one. Any advice would be appreciated.  Thanks.



  1. starzoe | | #1

    If the used Bernina was at a dealer's shop it would have been reconditioned and most likely, a very good buy. You might even get a partial warranty. You will get ongoing support.

    If it was on eBay, buyer beware. You have no way of knowing the condition of the machine except the word of the seller.

    1. Cocopop | | #2

      Yes, you have a good point.  Dealer support is a lifesaver. I broke my lower looper on  a fairly new serger and the dealer took care of it promptly.  Buying on e-bay without trying out the machine would be risky and they are expensive.  Thanks.

  2. woodruff | | #3

    I love old Berninas, and recently acquired an 830e to add to my stable (I already had a 730 and 930e). The 830e I got from ebay, and had no problem at all. I had done my research, knew about how much it should cost, and just watched for a seller with a very high customer satisfaction rating--and one who supplied lots of detailed photos. She was terrific about answering my questions, packed the machine beautifully for fairly-priced shipping, and I could not be more pleased with my purchase.

    1. Cocopop | | #4

      Thanks, Woodruff. Some of the sellers on ebay have lots of good ratings and every now and then a new one will pop up that has never sold anything before.  I haven't bought much there but some of the items are very expensive to buy sight unseen.  How do I find out how much is a fair price?

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #5

        Hi Cocopop!
        Older Bernina machines have a very good reputation, and the 730 through 930 models are the best ones Bernina has ever made. They even have collector clubs. They are considered the workhorses of the model lines. I do not know much about the models with numbers above those. I own a mechanical 930 myself, and know that it is still worth what I paid for it new, approx $1,200 CDN. A new or reconditioned Bernina rheostat (footpedal) will cost me almost that if I can find one to replace the one that I just had fixed. The parts for those particular models are no longer being made, so are getting hard to find, IN SOME AREAS. Later models, the story may be different. I would look into what the collectors have to say about that. There are several different clubs, mostly in Britain. I have found several sources in Australia as well, so you might have better luck. Prices on machines seem to vary a lot, with older reconditioned machines starting at $400 CDN and going up. Like I said, the 730 through 930 models are highly sought after, and run much higher. Do not know if this info was any help at all. Good to hear from you. Hope all is well. Cathy

        1. Cocopop | | #6

          Hi Threadkoe,

          This has been very helpful information. I will inquire around about the older models.  Sewing machine parts for the older models are probably hard to find like you said. That said, a reconditioned machine from a dealer may be the way to go.  The dealer here where I live doesnt have any used machines at this time.  All is well with me. I have to focus on having enough to do since I am retired. Sewing is my main outlet.

      2. woodruff | | #7

        The likelihood of finding a used one locally is small, as you know, so the way I researched prices was to go to ebay and type bernina 830 (the 'e' part was optional) into the search box. Then I made that one of my 'favorite' searches, so that I'd be emailed whenever somebody was selling one. Since I wasn't in a hurry, I gradually accumulated a range of prices for machines in various conditions, and when a nice one was listed for what I thought was fair, I struck like a snake.

        1. Cocopop | | #8

          Wow.  Good information.  As you can tell, I'm new at this!  Thanks. Cocopop

  3. Ckbklady | | #9


    I don't know about the specific model, but I can echo the other posters by cheering for my 1973 "Bernina 730 Record" - I have a number of vintage electrics, but it is by far my favorite. It's solidly built like a Volkswagen and has never given me a lick of trouble. Its motor is heavy and able to do whatever I ask it to do.

    My impression is that Bernina doesn't make garbage, even at their entry-level. If I had no machines and wanted one, a used Bernina would be my first choice.

    Let us know what you decide!

    :) Ckbklady

    1. Cocopop | | #10

      I saw a Bernina 1260 sell on ebay today for $1100.  I was surprised how the bidding went up to that.  I guess people have a lot of confidence in ebay sellers.  Kind of scary to me.  Anyway, this gives me a ballpark figure of what they are costing these days.  Cocopop

      1. Ckbklady | | #12


        Oooh, yikes. Don't let eBay neccesarily be your price point indicator - what you saw was ONE person ultimately willing to pay whatever someone else drove the price up to. That doesn't mean that the machine should have gone for that much, but kudos to the seller. Bidding hysteria does not dictate value.

        I suggest you balance it out by taking a look at your local Craigslist online. You'll see machines priced by sellers but not generally in a loosey-goosey, "let the buyers fight over it & drive the price up" way. Craigslist is lower-key and usually is a better value as you can sometimes haggle the seller DOWN, not UP. Even if the Craiglist seller believes that the eBay price is the actual value and charges accordingly, few people who are simply shopping around online and aren't wrapped up in the heat of bidding will pay it. I've seen overpriced machines sit and sit on Craigslist until the seller reduced them to their truer price. I encourage you to check it out.

        For electrical items you'll want to test before you buy - you can usually get permission to use an electrical wall outlet in a food court of a shopping mall (nice safe public place for you and the seller) if you stop for coffee there after to celebrate your bargain.

        Good luck!

        :) Ckbklady

        Edited to add: Be sure to call your local Bernina dealer to get an idea of rates for service visits and repairs for a used machine. Getting a kindred spirit is a nice bonus if you can get it. I have a local dealer who wanted me to bring my used 730 for "show & tell" even though it had no mechanical needs.

        Edited 9/27/2009 12:10 pm by Ckbklady

        1. Cocopop | | #13

          Hi Ckbklady,

          Thanks Lots for such good information. I guess some people do get caught up in the last minute hysteria to "win" on Ebay.  I was wondering how they decide what their max bid would be and if people decide to win at any cost and then have buyers remorse.  I almost want to look around my house and see if there is anything I can sell on ebay (LOL)!  I am going to start checking Craigslist to get an idea of whats going for sale in my area as you suggested.  Thanks Lots, Cocopop

          1. Ckbklady | | #14


            I think it's door #2 - one person decides to win at any cost (and what a high cost!). In bidding wars, all logic and budgeting go out the window. The winner may indeed be regretting that win and may have spent far more than he or she (or anyone else) planned to. Ouch!

            It's great to be a seller on eBay (more so ten years ago when everyone was freer with their cash) but it really IS "caveat emptor" ("buyer beware")!

            Do let us know here what you end up buying!

            :) Ckbklady


          2. woodruff | | #15

            Bidding hysteria is something that can bag the less-experienced. Several Bernina 830e machines virtually the same as the one I won came and went, with bidders driving the price up into the stratosphere. I had been studying the situation long enough to know what a good average price would be for what I wanted. So I just waited for a situation when 'my' machine was for sale and the bidding stayed right in the proper ballpark. It seldom pays to be rushed on these things, because the same item WILL almost always show up on another auction.

          3. Ckbklady | | #16

            Hear, hear. There's always another machine coming down the pipe, and ya only need one.

            830s come up frequently on my area Craigslist. I got my 730 as a "triple trade" - I, as Lady A, gave a machine to Lady B, who gave a machine to Lady C (who gave me the 730). We all got the machines we wanted and it cost nothing. It's good to be pals with sewers!

            :) Ckbklady

          4. Cocopop | | #17

            Thanks to all of you. I'll let you know what I decide.  I've already eliminated ebay!  The Berninas are very expensive. I spoke to a dealer today and he told me that a lot of them are made in Thailand.   Cocopop

          5. woodruff | | #18

            "a lot of them are made in Thailand.." Perhaps for some lower-priced newer models, but not for anything labeled 730, 830, or 930.

  4. Cityoflostsouls | | #11

    I have a Bernina 165 and a Bernina 830 (My second 830-I needed to sell my first one) and I had an 811 which I had gone over and gave it to my daughter.  She loves it.  It's been my experience that Berninas last forever but they are expensive.  Parts are still available through a dealer.  The 811 is the cabinet only model of the 830.  If you buy from a dealer-new or used-you should have no problems as you can get parts and repairs if it were needed. 

  5. lou19 | | #19

    I have a bernina 1020. It is 20+ years old. solidly built and rarely gives me a problem. I sew wedding dresses and need a machine I can rely on.

    My sewing machine repair man has been able to fix any problems and get spare parts. Earlier this year one of the 3 plastic fixings that are screwed on to the metal extension table broke. I was anle to get a replacement part for a few pounds. Table as good as new.

    The old mechanical Berninas are fantastic.

    I sometimes think about buying a new machine......but I look at them at then go home to my trusty old 1020.

    If buying a second hand machine, ask how often it was used and reason for sale.


    1. Cocopop | | #20

      Thanks for the info. A lady in one of my classes uses a 1030 and loves it. I've seen it in action and it is wonderful. Cocopop

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