A while back I did a phone interview for a reporter from the Las Vegas Review-Journal about a gondola in someone's private collection.
I'd examined the boat a few years earlier, taking notes and photos,
and did my best to answer the questions the reporter asked,
although some were impossible to answer with certainty.
The biggest one being "how old is the boat?"
Without access to a time-travel device, nobody can be sure.
Another question: "how much is the boat worth?", is equally easy to answer.
I gave some opinions based on the age, condition, and location, but in the end it usually comes down to one big question on the buyer's part:
"can the boat take passengers and make a profit while doing so?"
Ask Sean in Coronado, or Matthew in Providence and they'll tell you that almost any gondola is salvageable, and with enough work (and expense) can be kept on the surface of the water, but in most cases it's not worth the time and money unless you really need the boat, or can get it for a very low price.
Read the article and you'll see that the asking price for this remarkable gondola (and she is remarkable), is cost-prohibitive.
Distractions filled my calendar and I forgot to look up the article when it was published in late February, until the reporter sent me a link today.
Here's a link to the article
"Hammargren hopes to sell gondola that could be the oldest in the world"
The boat is interesting. The man is interesting. His story, his house, and the collection in and around it are fascinating; really, like something out of a movie (and in a good way).
Dr. Hammargren and his wife were gracious and hospitable.
I liked them alot.
I truly wanted to tell them that they had the oldest gondola in the world,
but in the end I couldn't prove it to be so.
Nevertheless, she is a fascinating vessel, and like so many other gondolas I've seen, I found myself wishing that the floorboards could talk - because I'm sure she would have some great stories to tell.