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Top bid for Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse is $222,000

Minot’s Ledge Light, the legendary beacon that has survived countless nor’easters off the coast of Cohasset, has been auctioned for $222,000, the US General Services Administration said.

The winning bidder is Polaroid chairman Robert “Bobby” Sager, a well-known philanthropist who founded the Sager Family Traveling Foundation & Roadshow.

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The award letter was due to be sent to Sager on Friday, and he will have five days to submit the bid deposit, said Patrick J. Sclafani, a General Services Administration spokesman, in an e-mail to the Globe.

What motivated Sager to purchase the historic lighthouse is unclear. He was out of the country last week and could not be reached for comment.

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Sitting a mile off the coast of Scituate and Cohasset, the lighthouse is accessible only by boat. It is known as the “I love you” light because of its 1-4-3 flashing sequence — one flash, followed by a pause, then four flashes, another pause, and finally three more flashes, with the number of flashes corresponding to the number of letters in each word in the phrase.

The lighthouse is not the first beacon to mark Minot’s Ledge. The existing structure was constructed to replace a lighthouse that collapsed in 1851 during a storm, taking the lives of two lighthouse keepers.

Plans were put into place to build a sturdier lighthouse that could withstand the roughest seas and harshest New England storms. The lighthouse now on Minot’s Ledge took five years to build and was first illuminated in 1860. It continued to be staffed until 1947, when the beacon was automated.

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Today, the light runs on solar power and batteries. The Coast Guard stops by periodically to make sure the light and foghorn are in good working order, and will continue to do so after Sager takes over as the new owner.

Minot’s Ledge Light had been on the auction block since June. The top bid is modest compared with the selling price of Graves Light in Boston Harbor, which was purchased by a Boston businessman last year for $933,888.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.
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