Seliga canoe information wanted


New Member
I recently purchased a Joe Seliga canoe in Ely, MN. The serial number seems to be 5834253 or 5634253. I would appreciate any information regarding this canoe. Thank you. JDB
Dan Lindberg has created an comprehensive summary of Seliga canoes and his spreadsheet indicates that the Seliga canoe with number 5 63 4 253 is a 17 foot long model which was the third one that he built in 1963. It was canoe number 253 and the actual canoe number was 191. The color was green and it may have originally been covered with fiberglass. The buyer was Sommers number 70 from Minnesota. It was shipped in May, 1963. Dan often monitors this forum and may jump in with more information. I was not able to find one with number 5834253.


Your S/N is 5 63 4 253. (month - year - code "4" for double end canoe - canoe number)

It was built in 1963, and started in May, and is double canoe # 253, this is the 191st canoe Joe built.

It was originally bought by Sommers Canoe base and was their 70th Seliga.

Not much is entered for this canoe relative to wood species and construction methods.

And if fact, if you could provide a description and/or pics that would help in nearing down when Joe did things. ie, what width planking, what is the shape of the edge of the decks, does it still have a decal, if so, which one, what wood species is the trim. etc.

This is a good example of the difficulty in "reading" Joe's S/N's, without the Record to looks at.

The numbers "5834253" don't match any S/N in the record.

Wrong possiblities are:

5 83 4 253 - wrong because in 1983 the code for the month is last and the "4" was dropped.

5 83 425 3 - wrong because there are 2 month codes, which Joe didn't do.
Note: a real S/N that is close is 83 465 3.

58 3 4 253 - also wrong because in 1958 a code for the month (3) was not included and because Joe never put the month code between the year and canoe number.

Is this the canoe that was purchased at the Sommers Canoe Base Alumni Reunion last week end, that belonged to Owen Gibbs?
Seliga canoe information

Yes, this is the canoe from the Sommers Canoe Base Alumni Reunion. Now I know it was built in May 1963. Are there people I should get in touch with to find out more? Thanks, John.

If you could either post some pics here or mail them to me that would be helpful.

And if you could provide the info I mentioned in my previous post that would also be helpful.

As for when it was built, Joe "assigned" a serial number and stamped it into the stem when he started the building process. Often the number was also "assigned" to the person who requested the canoe also.

In this case, he started it in May, and he may have taken 2-3 weeks to get it to the point of being canvased and filled. Then it sat for a while. The times from start to delivor or pick-up range from as short as 1.5 months to 6-8 months.


As you can see Dans your man, he will be interested in Owen's name and all the particulars. I can't remember the gentlemans name who did the restoration and it may not be applicable. I'm glad it got a good home and paddle it often.
Red eye