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Old town wood canoe with brass plate serial number

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by Woodstock, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. Woodstock

    Woodstock Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Did old town ever use a brass plate with serial number Instead of stamped on stem?
    I am looking at an Old Town guide model built in 94 or so.
    Seller claims they used the brass plate near the bow instead of the normal inside stem.
    Thanks ,
  2. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    The number may also be stamped on the stems, but for this time frame, a brass plate would also have been mounted to meet US Coast Guard regulations for marking boats with a Hull Identification Number (HIN).
  3. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Wouldn't a hull-mounted HIN plate be located on the starboard stern, rather than the bow? If this is at the bow, could it be a camp or livery ID number?
  4. OP

    Woodstock Curious about Wooden Canoes

    This is a photo of the brass plate with serial number. I am thinking of buying the canoe so I will need to drive up and look for an additional number on the stem and see what’s going on for myself. I just was wondering as the seller said it is a 1991 model and the one photo I have of the stem appears to have the number 18 visible so I assume it has the whole serial number there as well followed by 18.
    My Molitor has the serial number followed by 17. So I assume this is the length?

    Attached Files:

  5. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    I pulled up the listing, and yes, it is a HIN tag, mounted starboard stern as expected. The builder's plate, on the bow deck, is metal as well, typical for this era. You will still probably find the sn stamped on the stems, as old habits are hard to break. Yes, the 18 after the number will be the length.

    The canoe looks to be in very nice condition.
  6. OP

    Woodstock Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for all the help.
    Guess I need to look a little closer to tell the bow from the stern, huh. He gave me the serial number and it seems to match the time period.
    I really didn’t want to drive a couple hours away to waste my time if I could help it.
    Thanks again,
  7. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    I don't know if they always did it, but we used to get new wooden Old Towns in at our stores during that general era that had the brass SN plates on the stern. The horrific part was that due to the CG regulations it apparently could not be attached with screws or other simple methods. Instead, they were pop riveted on, right through the planking!
  8. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The chart at indicates that an Old Town canoe from 1994 probably has a serial number in the high 300,000 or low 400,000 range. The hull identification number on the brass tag will follow the format described at and end with an encoded date. A similar tag on a canoe from 1991 is shown below. The description mentions cherry but this is more likely to be mahogany. Pop rivets were used because the regulations at specify that the numbers must be "permanently affixed." Screws or glue were not considered permanent enough for the authorities. There are very few paper build records available from this era unfortunately. Good luck,



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