Looking for info on my Old Town canoe


Curious about Wooden Canoes
We have a 17' Old Town canoe....number 148396, it's in great shape....I'm wondering the year it was built, and what it's value might be? It's 36" wide..cane seats are intact. Thanks in advance for any help.

Hi Trish--

You may want to check the serial number again... at both ends, and then compare. 148396 was assigned to a 15 foot CS grade ("common sense", or not fancy) fifty pounder with red Western cedar planking, open spruce gunwales, which was fitted with a keel and painted dark green. It was shipped to Niles, MI on June 10, 1947.

I'll attach a copy of the scan below, so you can see what they look like... but this wouldn't be your canoe if yours is a 17 footer. Scans of approximately 210,000 records were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. Additional information about the project to preserve these records is available at http://www.wcha.org/ot_records/ if you want more details.

Please join WCHA or make a tax deductible contribution so that services like this can continue. See http://www.wcha.org/wcha/ to learn more about the WCHA, http://www.wcha.org/wcha_video.php to watch a 10 minute video about WCHA and our programs and http://www.wcha.org/join.php to join. If you are already a WCHA member, THANK YOU!

This is a good discussion regarding value of a wood/canvas canoe:


I sometimes tell folks to look at what canoes are going for on eBay... but if you do that, please note what they are selling for, and not what the seller is asking for them.

There's also a current discussion re value here:


You may want to post pictures, too... we like pictures!



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Thank you, and mis-typed length!

Hi...thanks so much for replying so quickly, and with so much information and detail! First, I mis-typed the LENGTH of the canoe..my husband said it's a 15foot! I apologize for that error. We will double-check the numbers in the morning....but it could very well be the right one after-all (with clarification of length to be 15') I do have a few recent photos of it...and will attempt to download them on here.
sounds like the right one...

If your canoe is a fifteen footer, this may be the correct record. I'll attach a description of the canoe from the 1947 Old Town catalog, courtesy of the Historic Wood Canoe and Boat Catalog Collection, version 2, edited by Dan Miller and Benson Gray, published by Dragonfly Canoe Works and available at www.dragonflycanoe.com.

The fifty pound model is (as stated in the catalog) a canoe made for exploring places such as the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, or for poking around little fishing lakes and creeks and bogs. The 15 footer isn't "tubby", as the smaller sizes are, and so has, for some, greater aesthetic appeal... plus, it'll carry more while still being lightweight.

"Value" is a tough question, because it always depends on "what somebody wants." I'll share a story from last summer: Denis and I were asked to look at an old wood/canvas canoe that was found in the loft of a barn by the new buyers of a nearby farm.

We recognized the 18 foot canoe as an Old Town and got the build record information for the owners. The canoe was an HW model, with sponsons--- in other words, it was a big canoe... and it needed a full restoration. That canoe, like yours, isn't particularly rare... so, a full restoration that would make it usable again would be (in my opinion) the way to go.

The owner said she would sell the canoe at a rummage sale that weekend. We decided to offer her $200-$300 in order to save the canoe and make it usable again... and Denis would have the opportunity to work on sponsons.

When we arrived at the sale at 10AM, the canoe had already gone out the door for $1000.00, in the hands of a local antiques dealer. We told the seller that she'd done very well.

The next day, we learned the antiques dealer went to her home and set it on the lawn... and someone driving by paid her $1700 for it. He said he planned a full restoration and then would hang it at his lake home. A full restoration on that canoe would cost about $3000... and that particular canoe was not, in my estimation, "worth" $4700. But I never would have thought anyone would consider an 18 foot canoe with sponsons "a hanger" either.... so, I don't feel confident giving out "values" because they would be my own personal value-judgment.

A huge part of a canoe's value can be in its heritage: if a canoe has been in the family and holds a lot of memories, then all stops may be open: it can have enormous value to an individual or a family, who won't care what it costs to keep it whole and beautiful, and won't care if it is valued at half the cost of the restoration by someone outside the family.

We insure our canoes and have to put a guesstimate as to value for each canoe. If this is what you're looking at, you could probably give the replacement cost, because Old Town still makes some wood/canvas canoes... but I wouldn't expect to get that much if selling the canoe. But then... I really can't say that, because there's more to old canoes than the fact that it's something you paddle on the water.



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I believe that's 'our' canoe! Everything seems to match in description. The canvas has been removed, and there was a light layer of clear fiberglass added. I tried to download some pics, but wasn't successful...I will put them in an email to you. Thanks again you've been so very helpful!


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