Marketwatch: Our top five entry-level collector boats

Every collector remembers their first boat, and for most of us it wasn’t a $100,000 Gar Wood or Hackercraft. New enthusiasts enter the hobby looking to get the most bang for their buck – a reliable boat that will stand up to regular use. Below are five examples that any collector would be proud to have in their boathouse, and they can be had for a relatively low initial expense.

  • Century Resorter (16-foot model, 1950-1967) – Beginning in 1950, Century began producing a 16-foot version of its iconic Resorter model, and within a few years, Resorters were pulling skiers on lakes across the country. By 1967, nearly 3,000 examples were produced. In today’s market, examples in average condition can be had for $7,000-$10,000. A very small number of fiberglass Resorters were also produced during this time, and due to their rarity their values are comparable to the wood version.
  • Glasspar G3 – If you’re looking for a true barn find, the Glasspar G3 is likely your best bet. Chances are one of these fiberglass beauties is currently serving as a planter in a garden near you. However, the beautiful lines of these early fiberglass runabouts are undeniable, and there is a thriving community of collectors saving them from the scrap heap and returning them to the water. Survivors can be had for as little as $500, while fully restored examples can typically be had for $6,000-$8,000.
  • Lyman Sleeper – The largest boat on our list, the Lyman Sleeper, is a 25- or 26-foot cuddy cabin produced throughout the 1960s. Due to its size, the Sleeper might not be a great choice for those new to boating in general, but it’s a good option for those looking to bridge the gap between a traditional runabout and a larger weekender-type boat. With very good examples going for $15,000-$20,000, the Sleeper continues to be a popular choice for its size.
  • Glastron Carlson (16-foot model) – Although less well known than the other boats on our list, the Carlson line of Glastrons have a very devoted following. Glastron Carlsons were built in models ranging from 16 feet to 27 feet and were available in both outboard and inboard/outboard configurations. The 16-foot model is your best bet, with values ranging from $2,500-$5,000 for average condition.
  • Thompson Sea Lancer – A classic lapstrake design and solid reputation make the Thompson Sea Lancer a smart choice for anyone looking to break into the hobby. Known for their distinctive yellow hulls, Sea Lancers were produced throughout the 1950s and ’60s. Expect to pay $4,000-$5,000 for boats in good condition; fully restored examples can cost upwards of $10,000.

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