Des Moines c-list Seliga Update

Dan Lindberg

Ex Wood Hoarder
For those interested.

This canoe is still available.

It is S/N 54 4 180, and was originally purchased by Sommers Canoe Base.

It is the standard 17 ft canoe that Joe made the most of, it has had the seats replaced (with boards) and has been damaged during it's last transport, a rope broke and caused the front deck to split, allowing the canoe to seperate some at the front. I don't know what or if any damage occured to the stem or planking.

It was recanvased sometime in the past and the keel was not reinstalled.

I don't know the condition of the ribs and planking, but the owner claims they are in good condition.

It does need revarnish on the inside.

He now has pics if anybody is interested.

I told him I couldn't get it.

I had a few e-mail exchanges with the guy and I'm going to take a look at it next Monday if he still has it. I'll let you all know what I think. The stem looks to be the number one concern. I know its a Seliga, but does anyone else think 3K is a little high?

I don't know if I can buy it at this point (would need to do quite the job of convincing my fiance), if someone else is interested send me a PM and I can give you my best opinion.
Gather info , ask other models.

F&C: . My vote would be buy stuff on the low side if you wish to use is . Does not cost anything to visit this guy & let him do most of the talking. Ask anything special , or prior owner connection why it would be higher than other comps.
..If your budget is way under his status item , ask if he has any other models for sale , you are really just interesting in going fishing, etc. If you are indeed in same city , may become friends , or invite him to join the club here.?
.. Let us know if anything special is discovered.
I know Seliga's were very well made essentially by a master builder. Is it primarily because of the book that they now sell so high (up to $7k) though, or because Piragis will buy them if you don't, or...?

I'd still love to have one...
IMO, yes to all 3,

Joe's canoes were always very popular and hard to get, rarely coming up used, though they did come up.

When he was building, the waiting list was usually in the 5-10 year time frame, though if you were a friend, you were moved up on the list.

Just before the book came out, he had been turning down requests, saying he was only building for "family", and the waiting list was shorter, maybe 1 year or 2.

When the book came out, the requests were pooring in, so he started adding them to a/the list, which quickly got 60-70 names on it, most of which would never be filled.

When he passd, the prices quickly rose. And with Piragis actively buying and selling, that didn't/doesn't hurt either.

I've heard of several selling in the 5-7K range, nice "close to like new" versions, and a couple with asking prices of 10k or so, and one on the net with an asking of 12k. Don't know if any of these sold.

For this one, in todays market, I think 3k is a fair price, and I was considering it for a while but decided to pass. (as I already have 2) If it was a different length I would have bought as fast as I could of.

Remember that you are not buying a canoe, you are buying a Seliga canoe.
If having a Seliga doesn't mean anything to you, ie, you don't have any connection to any of the camps or Ely or Joe, don't buy it, other brands are a much better deal for a user canoe.

BUT, if having a "Joe boat" means something to you, get it, you won't find one cheaper.

Had a look at it earlier in the week. I posted pictures I took here:

It's in rougher shape than one might imagine.

8 Ribs replaced by previous owner--need to replace 8+ (cracked--also
unsure of condition of ribs under "tar")
Sheeting cracked numerous places--especially at the end--one section
missing in bow
Gunwhales look good
Bow stem needs splice--probably top 6-8"--some cracked sheeting
leading up to bow as well
New Bow deck
Canvas is negligible due to above injuries--seemed to be in decent shape

I couldn't tell if the stems were rotted per say--they seemed solid,
but had a darker colorization than the rest of the canoe--it was dirty
overall. The varnish was peeling fairly bad in the stern.

They are likely taking it Piragis to see how much they can get for it. 3K is a lot of money for an unusable canoe. PM me if you have any specific questions.

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to document this canoe and share with the rest of us. Lots of good discussion in this thread. I hope the canoe eventually makes it back into the water.

New ownership...

Well, with large thanks to Matt (FishnCanoe) and perhaps against better judgement, Seliga number 54 4 180 now has a new home here in Lindstrom. Just picked it up this morning from an old Charlie, with a gentle admonition to restore it and use it, not just hang it on the wall. It will most-likely take me some time to feel comfortable enough to work on a Seliga (probably a few more boat-builds under my belt), but before too many more icy winters turn to softer spring, it will ply the clear waters of Burntside once again.


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N.B. : CONGRATS on the rescue. More reasons to enjoy this hobby.

. Insurance .? Not to hi-jack this thread, but in a collectible item like this over $1,000 do other members have special insurance (Haggety.?) ,or documention for general homeowners. . My son in Maine just had a major barn / house fire. No canoes were there yet, but had planed to store vintage .?

.Please keep pics posted on your baby.
Hey Nick,

Congrates on getting the Seliga, now I have to come up and see you sometime. :)

The cost might hurt now but I don't think you will ever regret it.

And you might be able to get it on the water with just a little work, and do a full restoration later.

BTW, I have it's younger brother, 58 4 227.


ps, Split, I don't but should have special insurance for my canoes, as some are now worth a fair piece.
Though even if I was re-enbursed for a loss, it would be tough to find replacements.
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Insurance .? Not to hi-jack this thread, but in a collectible item like this over $1,000 do other members have special insurance (Haggety.?) ,or documention for general homeowners.

I do not have special insurance for my canoes. The general rule of thumb is to only buy insurance for the really big risks which you can't afford to lose (i.e. home, health, life, liability, etc.) The messages at and elsewhere in this forum cover this topic in more detail.