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most recent 4' Old Town display sample canoe to sell at auction

Discussion in 'Scale and Miniature Canoe Models' started by Roger Young, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    In case you missed it and were wondering, the most recent 4' Old Town Canoe Co. display sample (aka 'salesman's sample') was sold yesterday (7-28-15) at public auction (Guyette & Deeter decoy sale, Portsmouth, NH) for a hammer price of $24,000, plus 15% buyer's premium (total: $27,600). This represents the second highest known sale at auction for an Old Town model, the current auction record being $29,900, set several years ago at a Black & White auction, in Middleboro, MA. The model sold yesterday likely dated to the 1920's, and appeared to be in excellent, condition; it previously sold in a Guyette auction back in 2002 for $16,500 plus 10% (total $18,100). The one which sold at the Black and White auction was likely a decade or more older, probably from the teens, or earlier, and has been described as being in "wonderful condition with appealing yellow paint". Photos of each are below. The overall auction sales record for a sample model still belongs to the J H Rushton skiff sold at a W. A. Smith, NH, auction for a total of $41,250. At least one private sale of an Old Town model is known to have occurred at the $30,000 level, and numerous others in the $20K plus range. The market does not seem to have softened, as with other commodities.

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    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  2. 1905Gerrish

    1905Gerrish Loves Old Maine canoes


    Sold 2 miles away from where I sit now at work. I would have taken a good look at it if I would have know. I viewed other items in the auction on line but missed he OT. Out of my league anyways.

  3. OP
    Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    It was described to the audience by auctioneer Jim Julia as "likely the finest example out there; I doubt you'd ever find a better one", or words to that effect, and certainly looked to be in top shape. There were several interested bidders carefully looking it over at the pre-sale viewings. It opened at $15,000 and moved fairly quickly in $1,000 increments to $20K. Pre-auction estimate was $20,000 to $25,000. It eventually sold to a telephone bidder; the under-bidder at $23,000 was in the room. Look for a write-up to appear shortly in Maine Antique Digest - Clayton Pennington, Publisher, was at the sale covering the events, and spoke to me in depth afterwards about this one, and sample canoes in general. I had my own early sample on display, but did not sell. There is another very good looking example, probably from the 1930's or '40's currently offered for sale on eBay at $24,000, and located just up the road in Portland, ME; it may be somewhat negotiable. And fellow member Robert Ross currently has a very unique 'Ojibway' style example, offered at $25,000. That may be somewhat suggestive of where the market seems to be at the moment. As always, condition is the key, and other examples of lesser quality may not fetch the same strong prices.
  4. OP
    Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    and wouldn't you know, just as soon as news of this auction gets out there, some eBay vendor looking for a quick profit advertises that he has a vintage "old town" sample for sale at the remarkable savings of $280 'buy-it-now'. Only it turns out to be one of those cheap $25 (or less) Chinese knock-offs. I invite anybody who's interested to send him a note advising him of his 'mistake':
  5. OP
    Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    hate to follow my own post, but just wanted to add that eBay greed seems to be highly contagious right now when it comes to scammers and scuzzbuckets jumping on the "Old Town Canoe model" bandwagon. There are now at least three of these jerks all claiming to have an Old Town model, one even complete with an OT address label cut from a magazine and glued to the stand, thus making it (in the vendor's mind) an official OT product. All of them are, in fact, cheap, mass-produced toy canoes from China - really next to garbage, but touted as being high quality vintage examples of American watercraft production. Unfortunately all too typical of what eBay has become, and little way to do much about it, it seems. So, why do I get upset? I guess because 3 others (Robert Ross, Joe Stinson and myself) are currently trying to sell the real thing. Most people wanting an authentic sample canoe will know better; I just hate to see the innocents get slaughtered by the scammers and scumbags who persist in deceitful advertising. When those little folks get harmed, we all suffer. We lose folks who should be having fun, maybe joining WCHA, but they get turned off after getting burned. Would be nice if we could put a few of these vultures out of business, or scare them off. Believe me, I have written several times to persuade them of their erroneous descriptions, all to little avail. So much for my rant.
  6. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Let me add to Roger's warnings that scams are not limited to eBay. A member of this forum visited my house this week and was telling me about a wonderful model canoe that he had seen advertised on craigslist in London when he was visiting there last spring. He contacted the seller to see it in person and got no response. I replied saying that you didn't get a response because the seller has nothing to show, and then handed him the actual model from my collection. I purchased this model from eBay in 2010 and warned about this scam at after Roger told me that someone was using the text and pictures from the original advertisement from various foreign countries. A quick search for "Salesmans Sample Old Town Canoe c1900's Folk Art" will show several more recent advertisements for this model from Europe so they are still hoping that someone will send them a lot of money for something that they don't have.

    Caveat emptor,


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