How much would you pay for a classic New England lighthouse perched on the outskirts of Boston Harbor?
When the Globe reported two weeks ago on the public auction of Graves Island Light Station, the top bid for the 110-year old lighthouse was $101,000. Since then, 10 active bidders have upped that number to $738,000, nearly double the previous lighthouse-sale record.
The auction is scheduled to close early Wednesday, but a new bid submitted online overnight, in minimum increments of $5,000, would automatically reset the auction’s 24-hour clock.
Why the surge in interest? Publicity aside, “people who value maritime history have a unique opportunity here,” says US General Services Administration branch chief Barbara Salfity. While it’s not suprising for interested parties to jump in at the last minute, she adds, “I’ve been getting multiple calls a day.”
To anyone whose bid for Graves Light fall short, take heart. As of this month, the GSA is offering Gay Head Light on Martha’s Vineyard to any nonprofit or municipal agency that wants it. If none does, the 214-year old lighthouse will go up for public auction.
Unlike the Boston Harbor light station, it is reachable by foot.
JOSEPH P. KAHN