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Are old lever machines collectors items?

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  • Are old lever machines collectors items?

    I live in a country town in Victoria, and there is a local store that is currently used as a takeaway chinese joint. I popped in for some fried rice the other night, and got talking to the lady behind the counter about the Gaggia coffee machine in the corner.

    I think it is one of these (or at least quite similair) - see attached. I asked if I could take a look at the machine, and she kindly let me behind the counter. Aparently the shop used to be used as a dine in fish and chippery, and the machine was used to serve the diners a post fish and chip brew.

    The lever handles were not attached (? missing) and the steam arm had been chopped off (???). The group handles were both there. The machine looks in a pretty bad state, but looked like it was mostly all there appart from those items already mentioned.

    It is certainly a thing of beauty (and Im sure not function) - at least from my perspective. Are these old machines collectors items, or scapyard junk? If the former, Id like to do a bit more research, perhaps with a view to making the owner an offer for the thing, and making it a winter project to clean it up. I dont imaging bringing it back into service would be the objective, rather just clean her up as a display piece if they are desirable.

    Any tips on where on the net I might find some info about these old machines? Any tips on era, models etc.

    Tim




  • #2
    Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

    the other side

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?


      Try these two sites
      http://www.espresso-restorations.com/
      http://www.home-barista.com/forums/restoration-of-olympia-cremina-t464.html

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

        Yes there are enthusiasts who restore(or want to restore) levers, in fact yours truly wishes he had popped in for some fried rice so if you decide its not for you pls PM me.
        Lever people seem to hang out on the HB lever forum. http://www.home-barista.com/forums/l...c6a5d89348ac6e

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

          I have an old lever at home, they open your way of thinking about espresso to a whole other area. With the extraction from a spring lever, the pressure of the spring drops gradually as the spring opens. What this means is that in an espresso extraction, the brew pressure is actually dropping while your espresso pours. This gives the soft brew at the end of the espresso. They also pressurize the water with a piston (arguably) giving better water dispertion.
          Many lever owners swear by them and prefer the espresso from a lever than a pump machine. As a lever owner myself I think they are a great buy, I use mine everyday and look forward to the process as much or more than the espresso, but be prepared for lots of waiting around(due to lack of pressure relief valves).

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          • #6
            Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

            OK, tonight I asked the guy if he wanted to sell the coffee machine, and his reply was how much? SO I guess that is a yes. I had a good look and can confirm it is the same as the .pdfs in this thread.

            Can anyone identify the machine?

            What would be the going price for such a machine in complete (without having looked at the inside!), but not working order?

            What about post restoration in working order?



            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

              Originally posted by 39223A287D7B7D744D0 link=1212893601/5#5 date=1273487178
              OK, tonight I asked the guy if he wanted to sell the coffee machine, and his reply was how much? SO I guess that is a yes. I had a good look and can confirm it is the same as the .pdfs in this thread.

              Can anyone identify the machine?

              What would be the going price for such a machine in complete (without having looked at the inside!), but not working order?

              What about post restoration in working order?


              I am always looking as would love a lever to restore..

              As to a going price.. How long is a piece of string ? $1K could be a great BUY or ya could be tossing $990 down the drain...

              The price is not only dependant on operation but its external condition and status of any and all visual aids...

              Most parts are no longer available; so it becomes a real labour of love and dont expect to get ya monies back..

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

                Originally posted by 66494042556A46494640424A424953270 link=1212893601/6#6 date=1273487899
                status of any and all visual aids...
                AM - what are visual aids in this context?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

                  Gaggia groups are massive, they look absolutely marvellous. PM me if you wish and I can put you onto a Gaggia lever tech here in Melbourne. He would be the one to have a chat to.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

                    Originally posted by 233820326761676E570 link=1212893601/5#5 date=1273487178
                    Can anyone identify the machine?
                    Gaggia America - late 1950s.

                    Originally posted by 233820326761676E570 link=1212893601/5#5 date=1273487178
                    What would be the going price for such a machine in complete (without having looked at the inside!), but not working order?
                    As AM said, it really does depend on the condition and what its worth to you.

                    Originally posted by 233820326761676E570 link=1212893601/5#5 date=1273487178
                    What about post restoration in working order?
                    One went for $5.2k very recently.  Dont get over excited by that figure - a lot of hours and $$s would have gone into the restoration.

                    PS: They are loaded with ASBESTOS!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

                      To the right person LOTS even non working providing it the bodywork is in OK knock and the PFs are there etc. Potentially around $1k+ if it makes the bay of evil and yes it is collectable. Expect to get I guess $2-3+ restored to the righ person but its a potential can of worms. The element is the main thing and if thats gone and NLA you will need to have one made as a special. So if it is not working then that is a possibility. Also possible you would need to allow $3-500 worth of PSTAT and electronics to bring it up to spec depending on the current boiler control method.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

                        Originally posted by 455E465401070108310 link=1212893601/7#7 date=1273488369
                        Originally posted by 66494042556A46494640424A424953270 link=1212893601/6#6 date=1273487899
                        status of any and all visual aids...
                        AM - what are visual aids in this context?
                        Perspex and other visuals that enhance the look etc..

                        Cracked and or missing and the value can drop.

                        Then just like paintings and furniture etc etc  True collectors get very touchy when non standard parts get used... Or things are polished and refurnished..

                        If ya looking to get a cheep deal and make a killing...  I would re asses your position.

                        If ya got the skills, time, workshop etc etc And want a project to keep ya off the streets..  Then go for it boots and all. Why, you might ask ? Well in this case the dollars do not matter, it is about having a passion.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

                          Dennis is correct- the machine you pictured is gaggia America. I have a single lever version of the same machine awaiting restoration. Beware the asbestos insulation fitted in these machines. The one you are looking at may have been overhauled at some time and have had the asbestos removed. But if it hasnt been overhauled -then it will have asbestos insulation....

                          A two group machine- fully restored could possibly be worth as much as seven thousand dollars I should expect- on the right day. All depends on the state of the machine.

                          These things are so well built it is quite likely it can be fully restored to full functionality.

                          I doubt the levers were chopped off- they are probably floating around somewhere. the can be removed quite easily- and were probably taken off to make room.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

                            Originally posted by 38233B297C7A7C754C0 link=1212893601/0#0 date=1212893587
                            It is certainly a thing of beauty (and Im sure not function) - at least from my perspective. I dont imaging bringing it back into service would be the objective, rather just clean her up as a display piece if they are desirable.
                            They are definitely a thing of function not just beauty. And it would be a crime to restore it only cosmetically and not functionally...Dont make me call the cops on ya

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Are old lever machines collectors items?

                              Thanks all for replies.

                              Originally posted by 06292022350A26292620222A222933470 link=1212893601/11#11 date=1273492417
                              Perspex and other visuals that enhance the look etc..

                              Cracked and or missing and the value can drop.

                              Then just like paintings and furniture etc etcTrue collectors get very touchy when non standard parts get used... Or things are polished and refurnished..
                              The art deco looking perspex shown in the .pdf is not on this machine, there is perspex fence for the cup warmer, but it is orange and flat.

                              Originally posted by 25222629212B3E2E2920470 link=1212893601/10#10 date=1273488964
                              the bodywork is in OK knock and the PFs are there
                              The general condition of the panels seems OK, and both portafilters are there. They are still stored in the group.

                              The lever handles are not attached to the machine, but may be kicking around in the shop somewhere. I said Id visit again to speak with the owner further about the machine when he wasnt busy. Obviously not ideal if they are missing, but given they simply screw in with a thread, Im sure you could turn something quite nice to suit.

                              Originally posted by 06292022350A26292620222A222933470 link=1212893601/11#11 date=1273492417
                              If ya looking to get a cheep deal and make a killing...I would re asses your position.

                              If ya got the skills, time, workshop etc etc And want a project to keep ya off the streets..Then go for it boots and all.Why, you might ask ?Well in this case the dollars do not matter, it is about having a passion.
                              Im not interested in this for money. But I also dont have the skills to see such a project through. Im interested in the restoration project, but havent really cut my teeth on something less complicated before. The most complicated things Ive done inside a commercial coffee machine is clear a solenoid, replace a steam arm, adjust pump and boiler pressure! This would be a big step. While Im interested in the process, and the satisfaction that would come from the end result - I simply couldnt keep it anyway.

                              Anyone got any ideas about how this machine, if I can get it for a relatively cheap price, could be used by the coffeesnob community?

                              I was thinking of some sort of collective restoration and sale with profits to faircrack or something?

                              Be nice if there was a coffeesnob shed!

                              Maybe it should just be left in the time capsule that is this Chinese takeaway in Country Victoria.

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