What is my Gilson Snowblower Worth?
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I am often asked the question, "what is my snowblower worth?" There are no hard and fast rules so let me begin by making some points.

  • There is no "Blue Book" of machine values.
  • To my knowledge there are no machines that have known collectors value such that they will fetch a higher price.
  • You can command a dramatically higher price after several significant winter storms than you will in a July garage sale.
  • There is a buyer for anything.
  • Something is worth what a willing buyer will pay for it in a free market.
  • Buying a vintage machine with limited or no spare parts support is taking on a hobby.
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  • You never know what will motivate a buyer.
The value of used full sized snowblowers is a truly amazing thing. By full size I am refering to machines starting in the 24-26 inch and 7-8 horsepower range. These are the machines that can do a lot of work. The workings of these machines are much like today's top brands. These machines are much sturdier than today's machines and many of us love them for just this reason. It is not uncommon to see dealers commanding $400. prices after servicing the machine and offering some sort of short term warranty. I have seen 30 year old machines command money equal to the original selling price. Machines selling for 1/2 - 2/3 of the original price are very common. Small machines of unknown brands will sell for less on average and many dealers will not even offer them as used machines.

I have taken in dozens of snowblowers in a wide range of conditions. If the machine is in working condition the owner sees the machine through rose colored glasses. He pictures it in "as new" condition and fully functional. The fact is that age, water, salt and use take it's toll. When I get a used machine I perform triage on it. In a 5 mnute examination I will almost always identify a dozen or more things that need attention. It may be an adjustment, wearing part or correcting for a part that was bastardized or substituted. A vintage machine getting looked at for the first time is almost sure to need several hours (and often much more) to make it mechaincally sound. It may run and even work but that does not mean it's sound. If you are not a DIY person the cost of getting this work done by a shop will soon make you wish you had bought a new machine.

There are many legacy brands that shops will not touch. With limited or no parts support they do not want to find themselves deep into a job with no parts availability. This would leave them in the misserable position of billing you to return a non working machine or eating the costs they sunk into your unit. There are many shops that see Gilson machines in just this light. The other gotcha is that every machine has it's tricks and procedures and it is difficult to find a technician that really understands your unit. The vintage machine owner wants to be prepared to go it alone.

NOTE: Professional engine service is almost always readily available for just about any machine. Just make it clear that you want the engine serviced.

That is probably as dire a picture of the used snowblower that I can paint but for the seller or buyer a little objectivity can be helpful in being realistic. What follows are some Gilson machines that sold recently (early 2007) on Ebay and their selling prices. These are prices that willing buyers freely paid and in some cases did so with no advance inspection. Watching ebay or searching past auctions can give you some ideas.

If you would like to get your machine into the hands of a worthy new owner and don't live near me consider posting it in our Facebook Group. Hundreds of Gilson owners are members of this group and will have visibility to your machine. This is a great opportunity for a well kept machine as well as a tired unit that may only be good for parts.

At the end of the day for a private sale of a vintage machine, $50 give or take $25 is often what it comes down to.

Model 55134, an 8HP Unitrol (friction drive) circa 1977/1978. Selling price $102.

A mid 1970s 8HP Unitrol (friction drive) that sold for $140.

A 5HP, 24 inch, single speed machine sold for $149

A mid 1970s 8HP Unitrol (friction drive) that sold for $160.

A Model 835. Circa 1967/1969 7HP, 26 inch gear dive that sold for $200.

A Model 835. Circa 1967/1969 7HP, 26 inch gear dive that sold for $31.

A 10 Horsepower Late 70s 32 inch gear drive that sold for $350.

A 1971 model 55006, 8HP Unitrol (friction drive) that sold for $62.

A mid 1970s Montgomery Ward branded, 8HP Unitrol (friction drive) that sold for $66.

Model 55133, an 5HP Unitrol (friction drive) circa 1977/1978. Selling price $88.

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Created January 2007