Thread Number: 10040
The $1000 Kirby 508 ???????????????
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Post# 109208   9/25/2010 at 01:21 (3,771 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

I got this email tonight:

I was given your name by another menber. I have a kirby, about a 1948 (508) model. My parents brought it to california with them when they left the midwest. the only thing that was ever replaced were the belts, bags and electric cord. It never had to be repaired beyond what I had mentioned.As you see, It comes with the box of attachments,most of which were NEVER used. Most notably, the polisher. Im intersted in selling.. are you interested? If not, maybe you know of someone who would like to purchasse.. It was used every day from day until about eight years ago when my parents died. I just used it today and seems to work great... what do you think?

I replied:

What's your asking price for your Kirby? .... Where in California are you located? If you're near Los Angeles I could pick it up. Otherwise, shipping would be involved and would be pretty steep.

They wrote back:

Hi THanx for your interest in the Kirby. I emailed one of your peers on the website and he said around $1000.0 dollars. I dont know. Im reasonable. what do you think? I want to be fair to you and to me as well.

I replied:

Well, one of my "peers" has been smoking some wacky tobaccy. If you really think your Kirby is worth that much, then I suggest you list it on eBay and try your luck there.

They wrote back:

Tell me what you think? Feel like a roadtrip? San Diego isnt terribly far. Make me an offer, I like to think of myself as as being reasonable..

I replied:

Sorry, but someone has tragically misled you as to the value of your old Kirby, as nice as it is. I'm afraid we're not even in the same stadium, let alone in the same ballpark...

P.S.: This machine is not a 508 btw. While I can't see the serial number plate, going by the bag, trim, attachments and cartons, this is either a 511 or 512 (1951 or 1952 respectively).

And that was the last I heard from them.

I am reeeeeeeeeally curious to know who (if anyone!) told these people their not-508 is worth a thousand bucks!!

Following are the photos the seller sent me.

Post# 109209 , Reply# 1   9/25/2010 at 01:22 (3,771 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

Post# 109212 , Reply# 2   9/25/2010 at 01:24 (3,771 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

Post# 109213 , Reply# 3   9/25/2010 at 01:24 (3,771 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

Post# 109218 , Reply# 4   9/25/2010 at 03:12 (3,771 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

The machine and its tools are in nice shape-but again I don't think the vacuum is worth $1000!Maybe the seller should call his local Kirby dealer and apply this machine as a trade in to a new Kirby-He will get half off the new machines price!does the orig paperwork go with this machine?The 511 is the Kirby my folks bought from a DTD salesman-(Door knocking-van campaign)the year I was born-the 511 is a machine I am looking for-but of course won't pay $1000 for one.

Post# 109220 , Reply# 5   9/25/2010 at 05:31 (3,771 days old) by kirbymodel2c (Nottingham, England)        

kirbymodel2c's profile picture
Ummm Its nice but not worth $1000. He should put it on ebay.
He will prob get $100-$300 for it for a guess.


Post# 109222 , Reply# 6   9/25/2010 at 05:46 (3,771 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
I wonder

compactelectra's profile picture
If he was referring to me? I received the same email yesterday, but never responded. I will respond to these occasionally if they are nice and reasonable. If I responded to every email I received, I wouldn't have time for anything else. But no, he didn't hear it from me.


Post# 109225 , Reply# 7   9/25/2010 at 06:05 (3,771 days old) by kirbyclassiciii (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
I Was the One Who Guessed the Value

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture

It was I who thought that the value of this Kirby was about $1,000.

The person who sent me the mail, his name is Dave and his e-mail is:

Could anyone else here take a wild guess as to how much his Kirby would be worth for all that is included?


Post# 109230 , Reply# 8   9/25/2010 at 08:09 (3,771 days old) by luxg ()        

This is just another one of those cases where this machine is worth just whatever
someone is willing to pay for it. There may be someone out there who wants it badly enough to pay that much for it. The only way the seller is going to find out is to list it on ebay.


Post# 109241 , Reply# 9   9/25/2010 at 10:44 (3,771 days old) by joe22 ()        

it is a nice vac, hope it finds a home

Post# 109244 , Reply# 10   9/25/2010 at 10:52 (3,771 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

And that's exactly what I suggested to them that they do -- put it on eBay if they think my offer is an insult (read on).

Ben, I am wondering what makes you feel the machine is worth that much. I really am very curious to know.

I've never seen any old Kirby go for very much on eBay, except a rarer-than-rare Kirby Utility hand-vac that I =think= went for around $1000 a couple years ago, and that was only because a couple of collectors with big budgets got into a bidding war over it. I tend to agree with James that this 510 =could= go for a couple hundred dollars. But in today's economy, with a number of "significant" collectors not currently buying on eBay, I tend to doubt it would do even that much.

As we all know, the biggest draw on eBay is Hoovers. Not all that many people seem to want old Kirbys, and the few of us who do like them already have many of them.

Shipping would be a big issue -- Shipping it in a large-enough outer carton to protect everything would run around $80 or more.

Furthermore, there are a number of "issues" with their machine.

The original cord was replaced.

Apparently the flexible cloth hose is missing (I didn't see it in any of the photos).

Some of the attachments are missing.

The various cartons, while all there, are only in fair condition. The large box is pretty beat up.

They don't have the instruction manual or any of the other paperwork.

None of the photos show the handle grip, but if it's the original gray rubber grip, it's likely not in good condition as they nearly always deteriorate over the years.

They seem to think that having an unused floor polisher is a big deal, but as we all know, that is not unusual at all. I had dozens of them in perfect condition that I had to throw out when I moved (but I did save all the belt lifters).

Hooking up the attachments and polisher was complicated and confusing to many people, so a lot of folks, after trying a couple of times to set the machine up for them, gave up trying. I can't tell you how many old Kirbys I've seen over the year where the machine is pretty well beat up, but the attachments look like they weren't touched since the day they left the factory.

While I have a lot of Kirbys and don't need another one, I wouldn't mind having this one just for the bag, which does appear to be in very nice condition (although there's obviously no way to tell whether or not it has any issues, and I did ask them to send me more photos of it from all angles.)

I made them what I consider a reasonable offer for it, $100, given that I'm willing to drive down to San Diego to pick it up to avoid the shipping cost (although the gas may end up costing just as much).

Ben, with all due respect, I think your pulling such a large value out of your hat for this 510, will really no basis at all for such a high estimate, is going to do other collectors a big disservice. These people don't know that their Kirby isn't worth a thousand dollars, and when they put it on eBay and don't get that much for it, it will end up eventually going to Goodwill, or they'll use it for a "garage vac" and no collector will ever see it.

Post# 109245 , Reply# 11   9/25/2010 at 10:57 (3,771 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

P.S. I forgot to mention, the seller sent a photo of the serial number plate and it's a 510. So my guess of 511 or 512 wasn't far off since those three machines are nearly identical other than a few very minor details.

Post# 109249 , Reply# 12   9/25/2010 at 11:32 (3,771 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

Well, good news! The seller accepted my offer of a hundred dollars. He wrote, "Even to me. $1000.00 seemed very optimistic."

Now I just gotta find the hundred bucks.

I guess I could walk up and down Santa Monica Boulevard ... if I charge by the pound, I'll make a fortune! hahahaha

Post# 109267 , Reply# 13   9/25/2010 at 14:10 (3,771 days old) by kirbyclassiciii (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture
I hope that you can cough up $100 for that 510 soon. Sorry if I misjudged myself concerning the price of this unit or that it included everything (which you told me does not).


Post# 109274 , Reply# 14   9/25/2010 at 17:35 (3,770 days old) by dustin (Jackson, MI)        

dustin's profile picture
will they really take half off the price of a new kirby if you trade in a kirby? I wonder if they would give you a new kirby free if you trade in 2.......

Post# 109276 , Reply# 15   9/25/2010 at 18:14 (3,770 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

More likely, they would tell you what a huge favor they're doing you by taking away your old dust-belcher, saying they won't charge anything for the haul-away service.......!

Working in the garage today, getting things rearranged, sorted out... MY LORD, I still have a LOT of vacuum cleaners and I don't know WHAT I'm going to do with them. I ought to have my head examined for getting another Kirby, but from this one all I really want is the bag.

What can I say......... I think most of you do understand!

Post# 109314 , Reply# 16   9/26/2010 at 02:17 (3,770 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

I don't know if they do it anymore-but Kirby and TriStar gave the "half" off to former owners-in some cases even if they didn't trade in their old machine.One TriStar customer wanted to keep her old machine(I wanted it for my collection)but she was able to get the half price off.Sorry it doesn't work if you tray to trade in 2 old machines to get the new one free.And Kirby has sold prospects a second machine for half price.(upstairs vacuum)

Post# 109330 , Reply# 17   9/26/2010 at 10:06 (3,770 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

Hello boys and girls,

I was not able to get the guy's Kirby. So if anyone else wants it, feel free. He seems to be in kind of a hurry to sell it because he is moving, so you'll probably have to jump right on it if you want it.

It does appear to be in really nice condition; the bag looks excellent (it would be worth getting the machine just to get the bag), and he does have the cloth hose which is also in great shape. Plus there are all the boxes and stuff. It would be a nice find; I'm however having car trouble and can't get down there to get it.

His name is Dave and his email address is

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