A pair of boats with long and storied histories behind them could end up headlining a Sotheby’s auction in Detroit, Michigan on July 25, 2015.

The two boats, a 1938 Hacker-Craft 28 and a 1912 May LaFever, are both expected to fetch at least $200,000 and could fetch higher if bidding for these two prized items completely gets out of hand.

The 1938 Hacker-Craft, named Sea Flow II, is likely to fetch the bigger bid of the two boats. Sotheby’s has estimated the boat to fetch up to $425,000 on account of its history that dates back just before the Second World War and the known belief that it’s only one of two models that remain afloat to this day. The boat was also treated to a full restoration, which means that whoever puts in the highest bid would still be able to use it.

Meanwhile, the May LaFever traces its roots back to 1912, the same year as the Titanic’s doomed maiden voyage, in Geneva, New York. According to its documents, the boat spent its early on the Adirondack lakes in New York before being taken out of service in the late 1930s. The boat remained in storage for over 60 years but recently underwent its own extensive restoration. Soon after, the boat has made appearances in a number of classic boat shows all over the US, even winning a handful of awards in some of these shows. Sotheby’s has valued the boat at around $200,000, but that estimate could end up being a conservative number as interest behind its story and history continues to gain momentum.

Both boats will join more than 50 vintage and modern cars at the auction, which is scheduled to take place on July 25, 2015 at The Inn at St. John’s in the Motor City.

Continue reading to read more about these two prized classic boats and their expected auction prices.

Why it matters

Auction items fetching six figures these days usually involve lots that generate feverish bidding or are just steeped in such rich history that bidding becomes an afterthought to who somehow survives it.

I think that’s what’s going to happen with these two boats. While neither boat has enough historical significance to carry bidding into the millions, I wouldn’t be surprised if both boats, especially the 1938 Sea Flow II, surpasses $500,000 when all is said and done. That’s not only an incredible haul for the seller, but it’s a big chunk of commission for Sotheby’s too. Everybody wins, right? Oh, and if claims are true that there are only two of these boats still afloat today, then that’s another reason for bidders to craft out a game plan to ensure that this boat goes home to them.

The 1912 May LaFever is an interesting case because it’s much older than the Sea Flow II yet doesn’t command nearly the same attention as its counterpart. I think that Sotheby’s is trying to set a low bar on this one because it probably knows that more people will be interested in it at such a “bargain” price, if you can even call it that.

But if the auction goes as I imagine it will in my head, I think the May LaFever will fetch a similar price as the Sea Flow II. There aren’t a lot of boats left in this world that can claim to be more than 100 years old and still be alive to see the sun rise in 2015. This 1912 May LaFever is one of them and even if it never ends up at sea despite the extensive restoration done on it, the mere fact that the winning bidder can claim to have a boat that was built in the same year normally associated with the Titanic is a great conversation-starter in it of itself.

Source: Sothebys

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