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'One-of-a-kind' salesman sample canoe model, Old Town Canoe Co. 1940's

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bushrat's items9 of 39Extremely rare 42" model of an Alaskan 4-hole baidarka, c. 1900what NOT to buy when thinking of collecting  'salesman's sample', 'factory display' or Native American canoe models
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    Posted 11 years ago

    (39 items)

    An absolutely fabulous find!!! This is a totally unique, 42" special order factory sample model of a full-size 'Ojibway' canoe that was primarily made for and sold to the Boy Scouts of America during the 1940's/'50's by the Old Town Canoe Co. The full-size Ojibway was not mentioned in OT catalogs, nor really ever advertised or promoted. It is, therefor, almost inconceivable that a 'sample' model was even made. Ojibway canoes by Old Town were 15' in length, of light weight with a very low profile (flat sheer line), no seats and simple, flat bars for thwarts (no shaping). Scouts were always taught to kneel when canoeing, and Ojibways were usually painted an aluminum color, even though they are wood/canvas canoes. Very limited numbers were made, almost always sold to Scout camps or other summer camps.

    It is known that this model was used for instructional purposes at the Mortimer L Schiff Memorial Scout Reservation and National Training Center in Mendham, NJ, during the 1940's - 1970's. When that center was sold, the model was allowed to be kept by the gentleman who, along with his father, for many years had been the Scouts' property manager. In all likelihood, this is a very 'special order' piece, specifically made by Old Town for the BSA at the time a purchase order for larger canoes was placed. There are no known similar Old Town samples, and it is highly unlikely that another was ever made. Truly 'one-of-a-kind'! Most of the other OT factory display samples that turn up are models based on the OTCA style.

    I had the honor of displaying this model at the National Antique Decoy and Sporting Collectibles Show put on by the Midwest Decoy Collectors Association, April 23-28, 2012, at Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, IL, just west of Chicago. That show offers thousands of duck decoys and other outdoor sporting collectibles (fish decoys, duck and goose calls, hunting equipment, knives, traps, etc., etc.) as well as hosting the largest and finest auction of decoys and other such material in the World, put on by Guyette, Schmidt & Deeter (James Julia auctioneer).

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    1. bushrat bushrat, 11 years ago
      Thanks to mrmajestic, ttomtucker, officialfuel and BELLIN for the kind support.
    2. mikielikesigns2 mikielikesigns2, 11 years ago
      went on a 10 day canoeing trip at Ely Min. with the B.S.A. in the mid 70s. Thank you for prying those fond memorys back, those where the days.
    3. bushrat bushrat, 11 years ago
      Thanks buflogar and mikelikesigns2. I'm currently at the Midwest Decoy Show, and there have been a number of folks looking at this piece, for whom it evokes fond memories of youthful adventures. our thought are appreciated.
    4. musikchoo musikchoo, 11 years ago
      Did you find this at a sale???? I love it !!!
    5. bushrat bushrat, 11 years ago
      Hi brad and musikchoo. Thanks for the question. I have this on consignment from the current owner, in whose family it has been since 1979. It is currently on display at the show, looking for a new home. I would be keeping it myself, but already have an older Old Town piece. Serious inquiries are invited through my website.

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