This post is the first of two. The second post, which will show up in a few days, will give some examples of what I discuss here.
The most common question sent to me, as Curator of The Pram Museum, is the one above: “What is my stroller/pram/carriage worth?” There’s a short answer, and a long answer. The short answer is this one:
It’s worth what someone will pay for it. No more.
Here’s the long answer:
With rare exceptions, the most popular models (the ones that look like pretty, usable, or classic baby carriages) generally sell for from 30 to 60 dollars, occasionally up to 100 dollars. But — and it’s a huge qualification — that’s if they sell at all.
As strange as it seems, sometimes it’s impossible to give a pram away.
The problem is finding someone who will buy it. Does that sound odd? Doesn’t everyone love old prams? Well, yes. Loving a pram, though, is a completely different matter than storing one. Few people have the room to store a buggy the size of a small couch, or, these days, a lifestyle that lets them use a baby’s vehicle that’s larger and bulkier than an adult mountain bike. For instance, you won’t be putting a pram into the back of a mini-van if anyone else needs a seat.
As a result, valuing a pram or vintage carriage or stroller is tricky. In general, the values I cite above are accurate, with a few exceptions. Currently, one exception would be the more modern prams from the 1970s and later made by Perego — which can go as high as $200.00 [USD] if they are in excellent shape and/or come with the complete stroller attachments as well as the pram bodies.
Peregos may sell better than other brands because the brand is a current one — Peg Perego makes hugely popular contemporary strollers and has an excellent reputation for quality, both now and then. Another exception, though, is any clean, attractive, pram that looks usable for a modern baby; the price point always may be higher if someone actually intends to use the carriage. Used Emmaljungas from the 1980s and 1990s may bring a slightly higher price, too.
Another exception is the Inglesina classic prams, which are still sold, new, in the USA. Used Inglesinas, with or without the corresponding stroller seat, often sell for $400 to $600. (Depending on the model, a new set costs around $1,000.) And there’s always another exception — the buyer who falls in love with yours and must have it, no matter the price. It’s rare, but it does happen. The sky can be the limit in this case — but it’s a very rare exception.
In other words, it’s always possible that you might find a buyer who would pay more than is typical — maybe a lot more. But, it’s not likely, and it’s finding the buyer that is the issue.
Even if you do find a buyer, geography can be a significant obstacle. Some strollers can be shipped conventionally with careful packing (I’ve done it myself; others have also shipped foldable models to me this way.) Full-size carriages and prams are another matter.
Vintage Peregos can be broken down carefully, if you know how to do it, and shipped in several cartons — but they’re still heavy, and it’s expensive. Other vintage prams must be crated, and shipped by bus, train, or truck, often at a cost of several hundred dollars or more — along with a lot of inconvenience. (You may need a truck yourself to pick it up at a freight depot.) Most people aren’t willing to go to these lengths to own a baby carriage that they’ll use for only a brief period of time.
Collectors are a different matter, but, even for collectors, the transportation issue isn’t trivial. We’ve taken some crazy trips ourselves to pick up prams, but even we have had to pass up some lovely things when geography proved too much of an obstacle.
Strollers, whether a $1,000 Orbit, a Stokke, or whatever, are not an investment. They are transportation. Nor is that vintage pram you covet an investment. If you love it, buy it and hope you can sell it if you need to, or want to, but don’t expect it to appreciate in value; that’s extremely unlikely to happen.
Even your trendy Bugaboo only has value as long as a market exists; if it hasn’t been beaten up too much in use; if there aren’t a huge number of similar used ones available; and if there are people with disposable income who want to buy one. And even then, you won’t set the price; the market will. And it won’t be nearly what you paid for it new, almost certainly.
Related: What’s It Worth? Part 2