Preparation: The Registration Process

To register to bid, please contact Antique Boat America at 800-675-4089 or

Research: Doing Your Homework

Try to determine what you are looking for in a collectible boat. This will help you with your selection as to the make and model, as well as the market price of the boats you are considering. Do you want a boat that can be used and enjoyed on a frequent basis, or are you looking for a boat to enter into Shows and Concourses? Are you looking for a boat that has already been restored, or a boat that may need some TLC. Taking the time to think this through will enhance in the excitement of buying a collector boat, and the enjoyment of owning and operating an antique or classic boat.

Sellers at the auction are asked to provide details about their boat's history and condition. This information is displayed with the boat on cards. Once you determine the type and style of boat that interests you, arming yourself with information specific to the marque will help you accurately determine the value and condition. The website provides a wealth of information about the boats for the upcoming auction as well as sales results from the past auctions

Once you are at the auction site, your diligent research and homework will enable you to assume the responsibility of verifying the authenticity and condition of your selected boat. Matching hull numbers, correct authentic parts, overall quality and condition are all critical elements to determining the value of a prospective purchase.

You may choose to have your own personal Inspection, which will give you a comprehensive visual report on the exterior, interior, functions of the components, and the quality of any restoration work. Also, the frame/structure of the boat is examined to determine any existing damage or repairs. Although the boat cannot be test driven, this Inspection can be arranged by contacting us in advance.

In addition, we suggest checking the comparative sales of similar boats through magazines, the Antique Boat America website, and other sources. Owners Clubs are also a valuable source of information. As the seller provides information, be sure to determine the authenticity, quality, condition and value of your purchase. If available, talk with the seller of the boat at the event. Ask questions about the boat and its history. Proud owners enjoy sharing their experiences. Many collectible boats have been sold to new owners because of the initial relationship between the seller and the buyer.

Remember, once the gavel drops, and the auctioneer calls "sold!" you are the new owner.

Preparing To Buy Your Boat

Some points to consider when buying a boat:

  • Financing
  • Insurance
  • Transportation
  • Pre-Inspection

Antique Boat has relationships with companies that can provide these various services at the events or prior to arriving at the auction-site. Please call our office so we can assist you in contacting the appropriate company.

Showtime on the Auction Podium

Boats being auctioned are pre-staged in the auction area (Parking Lot). Make a note of the lot number of the boat you are interested in and determine when it will go to bid. This is a chance to see the boat in person and will allow you to know exactly when your boat will be up on the auction block. To give yourself an estimated time as to when the boat goes across the block, Antique Boat runs approximately 15 to 20 boats per hour.

During the Auction, all the attention will be focused on the Auction Podium. The Auctioneer will take a few moments to review various aspects of the boat based on information provided by the seller.

The excitement starts as the auctioneer accepts the initial starting offer and begins the bidding process. Boats are offered for sale either with a "Reserve" or "Non-Reserve" status. A Reserve is the minimum amount a seller will accept for their boat. If bidding does not reach the required reserve, the final bid will be held and the boat may leave the block as a 'no sale'. Often, 'no sale' boats are sold subsequently in the post auction area. This provides buyers the additional opportunity to purchase a boat, after the boat has crossed the block. Commissions are still collected by the auction company and paperwork is processed through the Auction Office. No-Reserve boats typically generate the most excitement, because they will be sold to the highest bidder.

As a result of your research, you will have determined the relative market value for boats in your area of interest. Quick, concise bids on your boat or boats of choice, sends a clear message to other prospective bidders, and the auctioneer. Firm bids to the value you have established lets all parties know that this is YOUR boat and the auctioneer is aware that you are the 'real' buyer.

Several Auction Company representatives are strategically placed around the auction stage to assist both the auctioneer and bidders. These people call out bids to the auctioneer serve to clearly guide you during the fast-paced bidding process. As prices are being called, and bidding is fierce, these ringmen are valuable allies in clearly understanding where the bidding is. Build and establish a relationship with your ring man to attain the boat of your dreams

Antique Boat also has Bidder's Services personnel that are available to assist customers through the process of buying a boat. Prospective customers can use this service from the time they see a boat advertised or in our catalogue through buying the boat at the auction. Please contact us directly to discuss this service.

Sold: Now What?

After the gavel falls and the auctioneer declares the boat Sold !, the auction podium clerk will have a purchase acknowledgement form, known as a clerk ticket, that requires your signature confirming the final bid price on the boat. Remember, the buyer's premium (or commission) is in addition to the final bid price. You will receive a copy of the clerk ticket. This document will be transferred to the auction office where the necessary title and payment documents will be processed. You will need to go to the Auction Office, complete the required paperwork, and arrange for the payment so you may take possession of your new purchase. We suggest that prior to processing your purchase, you arrange for any transportation and insurance requirements you may need, either through your personal sources, or with any of the companies available to you on-site.

If you require transportation for your new boat, companies specializing in classic boat transport are usually on hand at the auction venues to assist you with your needs. Contacting and comparing these companies beforehand will allow you to find one that suits your particular needs, and will give you an idea of price comparisons.

Antique Boat and the Antique Boat Museum have taken great care to provide a conducive environment in which to buy and sell antique and classic boats. In realizing the ownership of your new boat or to arrange for the sale of your boat, please let us know if we may provide any help or assistance. Our sales staff are here to help you year round with all your bidding or selling enquiries and to provide you with any assistance with the entire auction process.