Grumman aircraft eng. corp

And it looks like seven ribs? Mine ( a 78 standard weight) has three. This was a topic of another recent thread. I wonder what model year this is and is it the standard or a lighter weight model with extra ribs added for extra strength? Shoe keel or the usual “T”…
And Daggermat - thank you. That was more what I was wondering about.
I guess the question of the historical development of that technology is more a matter of fairly idle curiosity to me. I doubt anyone else has much interest. Its like campfire conversation, you know. There are tangents that don’t necessarily need to be followed through on, at least not in great depth.
Somehow the lines on the Grumman canoe don’t look like the work of Robert Hall…

An amazing man - just look at where his designs started and ended. (And, like Daggermat, he did have a pretty strong connection with Pratt & Whitney through the years…)


It is my understanding that Grumman Engineering prototyped their canoes in 1945, They were first produced in production starting in 1946, which would have an “A” in the serial number. Yours looks like a 1948 as denoted by the “C”. Your canoe, assuming I have this right, is the lighter model with .003 thickness aluminum and it is 17 feet long.


50 = production number or the year, could be production number for that model for that year

C = the year 1948…A is 1946, B is 1947. It seems like the number/letter scheme went up to G which is when Grumman moved to Marathon, then the numbering scheme changed.

3 = .003 thickness

17 - 17 foot long canoe

Here is the tag off of my 15 foot canoe from 1947, with standard .005 aluminum, Notice mine has a “B” in the serial number.


.003 and .005 thickness? Nah…that’s human hair thickness. Reference, 16 gage is .062 thickness (1"/gage # = thickness in thousandths of an inch)…here, just found this, maybe the 5 stands for .050"…then again, nah, as the 3 would equate to .03", way thinner than the 16 gauge I’m thinking the canoes were formed from, and 18 gage for the .05, material possibly being thinned out by the stamping process.

Sorry, I put an extra zero in there. It should be .03 and .05 thickness. As best I know, they made canoes in .032 (lightweight), .05 standard, .o65 (white water/shoe keel model), .08 (livery model)… I don’t claim to be an expert. This is just what I have read in other places.

thanks to all that reply with a few exceptions, I own this 72 year old canoe that is unbelievable great shape and I have no use for it, its my understanding that this was the 50th canoe built in 1948 the lightweight model a friend looked at it and said the rivets still have the plastic around them, the plastic he tells me was from the installation process, my question is wahts this thing worth and who might want to own it? I would love to see it with someone that wants it

In your shoes I think I’d clean it up with a chore boy sponge (sparing any stickers that my still be clinging), and ask about $250 or $300 and be reluctantly willing to bargain it down to absolutely no less than $150.
If possible I’d try to get it before buyers of a community of modest (mostly no garages) lakefront, possibly summer only, properties - where outside storage would be a real plus to the buyer and where portaging or whitewater usage wouldn’t matter much.
It would be great if you could find someone who really appreciated the role that boat, and vintage, played in US canoeing history, but there aren’t many such people and they probably already have one. You might try contacting Marathon/Grumman and see if they know of collectors or even canoeing museums (there are some - one in Spooner WI, for example) that might be interested. Your boat represents a real piece of canoeing history, but finding others who appreciate it as such, and be willing to pay extra for it, is a real long shot.
If its any consolation, I bought my current one in 78 for $400. Yours would have sold for much less in 48. How many things can you own and resell 72 years later for more than was originally paid?
And my apologies if my going off on a Grumman non-canoe tangent was a problem for you. No offense was intended.


@PJC You know that $400 in 78 is worth at least 4x that today, right? I bet that the price in 48 was far higher compared to income than your’s was in 78

Comparing the purchase price to what it can be sold for today without considering inflation is not fair at all.

No, its not fair considering inflation, I agree.

But do you think it would be wise to suggest, using mine as an example, that (4X$400=) $1600 is a reasonable starting point asking price for a 43 year old Grumman? Or that it is reasonable to apply that approach to the valuation of anything used? Heck, lots of folks think, as is the situation with a new car, there’s a pretty major (~20%?) loss in simply driving it off the lot. So maybe a 43 year old Grumman in great condition should start at (0.8X$1600=) $1,280 because I took it home sometime during Jimmy Carter’s administration and its still in near perfect condition?
No, that wouldn’t fly at all… too many good brand new boats could be had for that or less. And Grumman 17s in particular were made in huge numbers and many last a looong time - so the used supply is high compared to demand. The value of a used Grumman 17 (unlike a Rushton, Chestnut, Peterborough, etc.) in good condition is utilitarian regardless of vintage. Alas.

If I were going to sell my Grumman today I think I’d start at about $250 or $300 and reluctantly bargain it down to absolutely no less than $150 - because with luck that’s about what I think the market might bear. I’d be disappointed selling at that price, it would be a nostalgic loss to me, but I don’t think I could reasonably do much better financially. And I’d suggest the same to a friend unless they could find some more profitable niche market to sell to. Or to LimoGreg.

And afterword I’d probably try to console myself by saying I paid $400 and got a decent percentage of that back after many years of enjoyment.

man o man, what a shame this super cool history loaded 72 year old canoe is only worth the cost of dinner and drinks? What a bummer I was excited as its story began to come to light but now I feel it was a waist of time, think I will give it to my nephew or something hardly worth trying to preserve anything or the hassle of selling this thing, very sad

Well, I’m with you and in about the same boat - so I hang on to mine. And I do still use it. Its great for trips with kids or first timers. And I use it on the rare occasions when I have to haul a really heavy load or if I might be carrying stuff that would damage a glass or royalex canoe - like for river clean-ups. In fact, I used mine first one cleaning up a local pond with classmates on the very first Earth Day…
You know, there was quite a long period of time around the turn of the century when canoeing was a really really big thing. Everybody did it. There were all manner of canoes - courting canoes, sailing canoes, … It got displaced as a popular pastime by bicycling. Canoeing would probably have died out (or nearly so) as a popular activity if it hadn’t been for the comeback after the war made possible by that humble, sturdy, affordable, Grumman 17 std. like you have. (BTW, I looked it up and new 17 stds. are going in the neighborhood of $2,000 - its a sin that the used value is so low.)
I suggested what I would try for if I was selling - but I’m no dealer. Perhaps I’m wrong… try asking more. What could it hurt? You might get it, and if you do congrats to you. And maybe try giving the Marathon/Grumman company a call or Email. I bet they’ve seen other cases similar to yours and might be able to offer more help than I with regards to where a better selling price might be found…
How did you come by it? Do you use it? If not, might you? Perhaps there are some trips to be taken with your nephew to see if the paddling bug bites him?

I need to take off now and won’t be back for a bit…but I need to make it to an appointment.

I think the original selling price is irrelevant in determining current value.

Agreed. New Grummans sell for $1.5-2k so why would anyone pay that for used? Used aluminum canoes in great shape are maybe $400 on a very good day. If there are Grumman collectors out there who would pay more, they would want one in pristine condition.

Believe it or not, I actually watch Grumman canoe prices pretty closely. You get can Grumman canoes, regardless of “vintage” size and model, all day long for $300-$500. Canoes in better shape will typically command a higher price, that makes sense. You CAN with patience, find incredible deals on Grummans when someone is moving or grandpa dies, divorce etc… A few guys are asking crazy high prices for 1946 canoes. Those sit forever.

If you are trying to sell, depending on how fast you need to sell, set your price between $500 and $700 and come down as needed.

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so I listed it for sale had 1 guy come out and one call from out of state that guy offered $500 so I told the guy that came out, he paid the $500 cash and took the canoe, I hopped it was worth more but hey $500 I am good and the dude was in love with it so, win, win, thanks to all that took time to help


Glad to hear! I just got back from a little trip… This all prompted me to go visit an old friend of mine who owns a shop about an hour and a quarter from me. He’s been selling canoes for his whole life and knows the business well. I haven’t seen him, or hardly any of my other regular paddling community, since the Covid situation set in, and now that we’ve both gotten our shots welll… free to take a little drive, see what’s up with him, what’s new in the shop, and get a real pro’s valuation. He suggested $500 as a reasonable price and perhaps more. He had a couple mid-40’s Grummans (and a lot of other neat vintage stuff, BTW) that he’s asking around a grand for - but they’ve been sitting for many years.
Eventually he’ll probably find buyers that will be happy to find them - he’s in the business and is pretty canny about pricing, but not everyone cares to wait that long for a sale.

So glad tidings for us both. Both our boats are more in line with 47’s pricing.
You sure didn’t let any grass grow under your feet! Good for you.

Good evening everyone,

I am new to the forum and joined because I have been searching for information on my square back Grumman canoe/boat. Which I have learned is called a Sport model (15s). This post is the best information I have found so for. My boat was also made in Bethpage, NY so from what I read above it has to be between a 1944 to 1952 model. The strange thing about mine is that the plate isn’t numbered like the one in this post. All it has is 217-15s. Any chance this was one of the early prototype boats or something?

I don’t want to hi-jack someone else’s thread and can start a new one if that is best. Being new I wasn’t sure.

Any help is appreciated. Thank you in advance.


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Hello and welcome. 217 is probably a production number. Is there a HIN on the stern? That may give you more to work with.

Hello! Thank you for the response. There isn’t a HIN or anything on the Stern. From what I understand they didn’t start using HIN numbers until 1972 and with tag being a Bethpage, NY tag the boat would have been made somewhere between 1944 and 1952. After that the tag read Marathon, NY instead of Bethpage, NY. What is strange is that the other 2 Bethpage, NY tags further up in the thread have a different format and included a letter to indicate the year. A = 1946, B = 1947, C = 1948 , D = 1949, E = 1950, F = 1951 and G = 1952.

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My thoughts are you got an early one maybe number 217 made. At some point they figured out some sort of convention for a number.

That’s just a guess on my part. Have you tried contacting marathon and asking if they have records?

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Could you post some photos of your boat? I have spent a great amount of time looking at Bethpage Grummans. I have only seen one other tag without a black “insert” for lack of better term and I have never seen a serial number like yours

Yours may be a really early one. Is your boat a 15 footer? I assume the 15S if for 15 foot and probably standard. Doest your boat have any other markings? It is my understanding that the earliest “for sale” boats were actually sold to the public through Abercrombie and Fitch and sometimes had Abercrombie and Fitch tags or markings.

Here are the tags from my canoe and my girlfriends canoe. It is my understanding that 1946 was “A”, 1947 was “B”, 1948 was “C”, and so on. On my tag “5” is the thickness and 15 is the length. I know my boat is a 1947 because I bought it from a 90 year old guy who bought it new. So… at least the theory matches for my boat. Yours has a much lower number, so yours could maybe be really early, maybe before they had finalized a numbering scheme?

I have talked to the boys at the Marathon factory, they are nice guys, offered to give me a tour of the place, but, they didn’t seem to know or care much about the Bethpage canoes.