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030 How Much Is My Whistle Worth?

SpotlightResearch > 030

Related questions:
What can I sell my whistle for??
How valuable is my whistle??
A friend told me many years ago, it is worth what it will sell for !! Bottom line, that is true and must be considered when trying to place a value. So, one MUST keep in mind that on any given week, a whistle might attract a buyer that will pay much more than one would ordinarily see at other times. On the other hand, perhaps we chose a time when everyone is on vacation that would be interested in your whistle.

The question is always based on actually selling it, don’t you think ?? Some just want to place a value and keep their whistle, but are curious. However, that becomes more subjective. How do you place a value on something that is NOT for sale ?? — perhaps by looking at similar whistles.

So, we will endeavor to go over some parameters from years of tracking and experience to help in placing some relative values on your whistles.

First to consider is what condition is your whistle in ??

Does it actually work ?? – if not it certainly drops the value a lot tremendously.
Is it complete ?? – missing parts usually can’t be found, and rarely reattached appropriately even if so. Repairs often times are unsightly too.

If it is ratty looking, dented, scratched, broken stained, even rarity is overshadowed. Many times one will find a great whistle, but it has a small dent. When ‘sold off’ seller comments like ”good condition considering its age” are fantasy wishes that the buyer will never accept. Sort of like buying a rare old car with a deep dent or scratch down the side that is unrepairable. Ruins the value. Especially since a small whistle would be too expensive to repair and even if done not a good ‘investment’.

Perhaps it has some steel parts and they are rusted. Can the rust be easily cleaned or are there deep pits ?? If the nickel plating has faded away, and revealed the brass underneath that can actually add to its value. If it was oxidized paint over dissimilar metals and now the steel and brass combinations of metals can be seen, again that can raise the value.

Yes, it is an antique item, but consider your whistle more like a coin and how coin collectors rate them. Collectors look for mint condition whistles first and settle for fine, or even good condition, until they can upgrade. Rarely is damaged condition acceptable.


Second to consider is how rare is my whistle ??

To quote Martyn Gilchrist who wrote three books on whistles “ commercial value and rarity are two different things. Some rare items are valuable some are not so valuable, it all depends on how much someone is prepared to pay”

How does this come about ?? In different parts of the world whistles can be common or rarely ever seen. Yet with the internet they are much more available . Then again even if available, each whistle has, like an old coin a certain amount or 'mintage' that were made. So we see a pretty large scale —- from never seen to very rare, down to common.

Here are some further points to take into consideration…

1) heavy construction or cheap ?
2) large or small ?
3) old or recent ?
4) one piece or several
5) rare manufacturer ?
6) known manufacturer ?
7) valuable metals like silver and gold ?
8) ‘presentation’ special provenance ?
9) only one known or production made
10) collectible stamp like Winchester ?
11) police, fire brigade, asylum etc. ?
12 ) chain, ring and hook from the manufacturer included ??
13) an early example or later example by a certain maker
14) a different model size ?

As you can see there are a lot of variables to consider, each weighing in.

Third to look at is ‘sentimental’ value

Family items are far more valuable to keep. Many times a grandfather’s attic is cleared out and although he may have used a whistle on the railroad, it was never a railway stamped or issued whistle. Not any more than his common watch, glasses or whatever. On the other hand perhaps it WAS stamped as such and now can be dated !!! However, collectors want specifics by nature don’t they ??

What can we conclude ?? Value is placed on quality, rarity, size, and if it is in fact in demand.



Posted September 5, 2014

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