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Wooden runabout nets nearly $1M

After five days of high-energy crowds and bidding, the top seller at Mecum's 2011 Kissimmee Auction was a wooden runabout known as "The Last Riva."

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The 1996 Riva Aquarama Special - hull No. 774 and the last Aquarama Special "sold to the public," according to Mecum - fetched a winning bid of $975,000. Purchased new and maintained by the original owner, the runabout has less than 20 hours on its twin Crusader 454 CI engines and retains its factory-original varnish and chrome.

Mecum says the auction, held earlier this year at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Fla., had total gross sales of $39.9 million (excluding buyer's premium). Nearly 1,500 cars also went up for bid, and the auction had a 73 percent sell-through rate.

Submerged East Coast wreck listed on national registry

The wreck of a wooden fishing vessel that worked the Mid-Atlantic and New England coasts has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Launched in 1956 by Morehead City Shipbuilding Corp., the Edna G. was a 54-foot wooden groundfishing vessel that fished off North Carolina and Virginia. In 1974, new owners moved her to New England, and she sank June 30, 1988, off Gloucester, Mass., as her two-man crew set the trawl net. The crew reported a "strange noise in the engine room," which rapidly began to fill with water. The trawler sank in about 30 minutes as the crew escaped aboard a dory. The cause of the sinking wasn't determined.

The Edna G. was listed on the national registry because of her "exceptional importance as a remarkably intact example of 20th century fishing technology," says Craig MacDonald, superinten-dent of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. "The shipwreck represents a rapidly disappearing watercraft variety emblematic of the region's maritime traditions."

This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue.