Old Time Canoe on EBay

Kathryn Klos

squirrel whisperer
In the dead of winter, we need a chuckle...

EBay item number 180329572182

Or, do a search for "old time canoe"
I had somebody try to sell me one like that some years ago.
The gal put even more value on it because the original owner was a Prof at a local collage and reportedly used it a lot on class field trips.

I passed, saying I wanted to stick to canoes.

Dave Wermuth said:
I wonder how many are sold at those prices. ... Does this impact the value of used OT's? The value of MY HW?

Old Town was not selling many wood canoes before their most recent price increases so this is not likely to improve things. It could have some minor positive impact on the value of used canoes like your HW but this is likely to be fairly small. The supply of used canoes at more resonable prices still seems to be matching or exceeding the demand so I do not anticipate major price changes any time soon. The information at http://www.wcha.org/guide_cpi/ and http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/models.html might help put this all in perspective.

Thanks Benson

'Old Time Canoe' notwithstanding, the Old Town Canoes are iconic and perhaps are being priced according to production costs, the same way Starbucks charges more for their fair market value coffee.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the Old town wood canoes were not profitable. I agree with your assessment that my HW is likely not to be increasing in value.
Would you buy a Hyundai?

Certainly those prices suggest high overhead and production costs, but they also suggest that OT's brand recognition and buyer traffic allow them to lift their prices.
Used canoe prices don't give an accurate template for comparison....

Anyway, to put a different spin on this, consider that the $8K OT can last more than a hundred years. It can be used, broken, fixed and passed along from one owner to the next and all for just $80.00 per year. Next consider buying a Hyundai for that price. Will it be around in 3009? Not likely.
These prices might actually be a bargain.
Dave Wermuth said:
I seem to recall reading somewhere that the Old town wood canoes were not profitable.

Profitability is actually a fairly difficult thing to measure in a situation like this. I'm sure that their prices cover the variable costs like wood, materials, labor, etc. but the allocation of fixed costs can be more difficult to calculate. Their plant and equipment for building wooden canoes is likely to be fully depreciated by now but it is not clear how much of their substantial marketing, administrative, and other overhead costs should be allocated to each wooden canoe.

I've also been thinking about the rate that old canoes appear which is a significant factor in the supply and demand equation. There have been 944 threads created in the serial number forum here since November, 2004. This works out to a bit less than one canoe every two days which means that the estimated 140816 canoes listed at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/models.html will continue to show up for 192 years at the current rate. It doesn't look like we will run out any time soon so the prices of used canoes will probably not increase significantly until buyers start appearing much more frequently than one every two days.

Mike's comment about a modern $8K canoe lasting a century made me think back to the canoes from the early 1900s that originally cost $30 and are still around. These only cost their owners about $0.30 per year. I recently paid slightly more than $3K to buy one of these and have it professionally restored so that works out to only $30 per year for the next century.

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MGC. In 3009?
Perhaps you mean 2109?

And 192 years is just the Old Towns. I wonder if there was a way of guessing how many Old Towns still exist?
Dave Wermuth said:
I wonder if there was a way of guessing how many Old Towns still exist?

The questions about how many wooden canoes were built and how many still exist are frequently asked but I have no idea how to even estimate an answer. The build records from Old Town, Carleton, and Kennebec indicate that they built about 150K, 20K, and 28K wooden canoes respectively. However, there are a huge number of builders including some very large ones who have no known build records available. The chart at http://www.wcha.org/history/maine-list.htm indicates that there were over 145 of these smaller builders in Maine alone. My guess is that several hundred thousand wooden canoes were built and that more than 100K still exist but there are no hard facts to support these assumptions. I have personally researched about 1700 build records since 1996 and there appears to be no obvious decline in the rate at which these old canoes continue to show up. Does anyone else have another suggestion about how to estimate these totals?


I'll regret saying this but laws requiring mandatory registration of all canoes would likey give us a starting point from which some mathematical calculations could be made. But I oppose registration.

there may be some records available in some registration-required states. Compare that to the build records of canoes sent to that state, assume that canoes were imported and exported from that state at an equal rate, and come up with a formula to exptrapolate an estimated guess that is probably what your years of experience have already determined.

But we will know for sure in 192 years.