Looking for value

Hi. I am selling an estate to help a friend save her old 1890s historical farm house. There is a 1915 Old Town Canoe that is rare and I’m trying to put a value on it and where to sell. I contacted the Wisconsin canoe museum and they sent me some info (screenshot in pics). Please help.

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Depends on condition. Can you show a photo?


You did not mention that it is a wooden carcass in need of canvasing. It lacks seats and thwarts. It is hard to tell if it needs new gunwales or any new ribs and planks.

You have a project boat that most people do not want to mess with. I have A 1951 Old Town in a similar condition. I will be lucky to get $500 for it, probably less.

Definitely a project.

You may try this site:


If the numbers are present, they may be able to provide the build sheets.

Oops, looks like you already paid them a visit.

Yes. They were very helpful. Here is the original build slip they sent me. They want me to donate it to their museum.

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I think a donation to the museum would be great thing to do. That museum believes it to be an historic artifact worth preservation.


There is a market for these boats. Members of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association love these sorts of projects.
This forum is the wrong place to make a sale.

The Wooden Canoe Heritage Association has a classified section. Use it.

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Hi kayakmedic,
I used to belong to WCHA. Their membership is mostly in the Northeast part of the country. I am in Nevada so the interest level is minimal.

The boat in question needs plenty of work. When it is finished, it will be worth around $3,000. There are hundreds of hours to get there.

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Not so. but it is hard to tell from this pic entirely. We started restoring a similar canoe and it looked just like that after we sanded down all the old black varnish… It was about twenty hours of sanding and yes we took off the thwarts and seats to sand those separately. So our boat looked just like that with most of the hard sanding all done… A friend took it and spent another 80 hours varnishing and canvassing… It is seaworthy and covered now.

A new boat takes about 150 hours to build. We have done that under tutelage of a master canoe builder. Less if you care less about workmanship I swear Bastien Bros turned out a canoe an hour with a couple of men.

It really depends on things you can’t see from the picture. Replacing ribs and planking would make it a much more time intensive restoration. That said, it also depends on the restorer. If it’s me, yes hundreds of hours. Someone who knows what they’re doing then much less.

Okay what do you think it is worth?

I think you’re right on about value. Although, as some say “value” is only what someone is willing to pay.

It looks like you can deduct the fair market value of the donation to the museum from your taxes. Establishing that honestly can be some guesswork but, somebody says a restored one can fetch $3k and the museum says it’s in very good condition. So somewhere around $2k sounds fair to me.

The resulting tax credit will be more than selling it as a fixer upper in need of a doom and gloom restoration for a buyer. And, you can dispose of it a lot easier by donating than trying to sell it. Not to mention the good karma. Just a thought.


No way that canoe is worth $2,000. No way no how.
Good luck.

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Anything made from wood and has survived 100 years is something to be admired. This type of thing for someone to actually restore and paddle takes the same type person that will restore a 100 year old car and drive it in parades and to car shows. It is never likely to be a daily driver for anyone in our modern world.

Its value is in its age and history and unfortunately is only worth what someone is willing to pay, and these old boats are fairly desirable most people like myself don’t have a place to keep a collectors item this large.

It should go to a museum but they are likely under funded and would love it as a donation and the owner would know others will be enjoying seeing it.

Or it would make a great display piece for a rustic lodge or restaurant / bar. I can picture it in a Crackle Barrel even. They do pay for this type of display item. Another place that might like something like this would be a sporting good store as a display piece in their boating section.

As much as I hate suggesting this I have seen them cut into two halves stood on end with shelves added and used as rustic book cases. Do that and you will easily get a couple grand out of it if displayed in the right store. The fake ones sell for $1500 each and you would have two of them.


Looking at the WCHA classifieds $500 seems like an as is price Restored it could be much more. Benson Gray of WCHA is from the founding family of Old Town Canoes and has a lot of knowledge of history of Old Towns and may have insight into this particular model
Most here are just swiping at the air. Post your question over on the forums here

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