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Minnesota vintage-boat auction starts Friday

A group of 127 vintage boats - most of them wood, many restored, some valued at a few hundred dollars, others worth $1 million or more - will go on the block Oct. 15-17 in Winsted, Minn., near Minneapolis in a no-reserve (no minimum bid) auction.

The vessels, from restorer Todd Warner's collection, are an eclectic mix of mostly wooden boats (and some fiberglass) from 1909 to 1996, including models from Hackercraft, Garwood, Chris-Craft, Shepherd, Lyman, Century and Riva. Also set for auction are 150 engines and 100 pallets of parts.

"No way can you go to this auction and not go away with something," says Scott Ales, investment-grade and collectible-boat specialist for the auctioneer Mecum Auctions of Marengo Bay, Ill.

Warner, owner of Mahogany Bay, a Mound, Minn. company that specializes in the sale, storage, transportation and restoration of wooden boats, is offering the collection to recapitalize his business in a tough economic climate, Ales told Soundings Trade Only.

Among the offerings: Sugar Lady, an immaculately restored, Depression-era triple-cockpit 27-foot runabout with a 250-hp V-8 Chris-Craft engine; Tuxedo Taxi, a 1929 28-foot Chris-Craft with a limousine sedan hardtop; and a 1959 Century Corodano with a sliding hardtop, side fins and automobile styling.

"Ninety percent of the boats have a unique and interesting story," Ales says. "A lot of them have never been offered to the public before."

The listing of boats is available at www.mecum.com or by calling (815) 568-8888.

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