Wood and Canvas question

Courtney foster

New Member
Hi Everyone!

I purchased a home 15 years ago and it had a canoe in the garage up on saw horses. It takes up A LOT of room and I would like to sell it. It is a 1912 Old Town, 16 feet, original hull was dark green (its has a few colors over it over the years it seems).

Im wondering if anyone has any thoughts on its value?


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Dave Osborn

With the serial number and diamond head seat bolts, I suspicious that is not a 1912 build date.
If you post the serial number we can confirm the build date and original shipping location.


Unrepentant Canoeist
In the last photo, the SN looks like 23820, but there may be a "1" in front of it. Those initial "1"s get obscured by varnish wrinkles quite often.

Benson Gray

Canoe History Enthusiast
Staff member
I agree with Dave and Paul that this doesn't look like a 1912 canoe. It appears to be a 17 foot long canoe with open gunwales and ash trim, not a 16 foot long one with closed gunwales and birch trim.

My guess is that you really have the Old Town with serial number 123820. This is a 17 foot long, CS (Common Sense or middle) grade, HW (heavy water) model with open spruce gunwales, ash decks, ash thwarts, ash seats, and a keel. It was built between December, 1937 and June, 1938. The exterior paint color was dark green. It shipped on July 27th, 1938 to Whitehall, New York. A scan showing this build record and the one for serial number 23820 can be found below.

These scans and several hundred thousand more were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/records/ if you want more details. I hope that you will donate, join or renew your membership to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See https://www.woodencanoe.org/about to learn more about the WCHA and https://www.woodencanoe.org/shop to donate or join.

It is possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. The information at https://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?threads/57/ should help you answer the worth question as Paul mentioned. A listing at https://www.wcha.org/classifieds is usually the fastest way to find a good new home for a canoe like this. The process is briefly explained at https://forums.wcha.org/index.php?threads/16513/ if you want to proceed. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions. Good luck with the sale,



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Greg Nolan

Regardless of the age of this canoe, your photos indicate that you should expect a (very) low price. One, and probably both, stem tips are damaged (rotted?) and need restoration. In the interior, aside from badly weathered/worn varnish that should probably be stripped and redone, the clenched brass tacks show blooms that evidence corrosion resulting from use in salt water -- the seriousness of this corrosion usually cannot be determined without removing the canvas, but it is possible that the hull's planking needs to be refastened -- a major task. Given the canoe's location, there is a good chance that it spent a lot of time in salt water. For the exterior, at a minimum, a new coat of paint would be a good idea, and possibly the canvas needs replacement. There may be other damage not shown in your pictures, such as cracked planking and or ribs.

This canoe certainly needs a fair amount of work; I would guess that it is a basically a restoration project -- and it should be priced accordingly,