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USS "CONSTITUTION" THIS MODEL IS OF THE OLDEST WOODEN FIGHTING SHIP IN THE WORLD STILL TO BE AFLOAT TODAY. LAUNCHED IN 1797 BY A NEW REPUBLIC THAT COULD NOT AFFORD TO LOSE SHIPS, A JOSHUA HUMPHREYS WAS DIRECTED BY THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES TO BUILD A SHIP WITH QUALITIES OF STRENGTH, DURABILITY, SWIFTNESS OF SAILING AND FORCE, SUPERIOR TO ANY OTHER FRIGATE. HE INCORPORATED A LONG HULL MORE THAN USUAL DEPTH, WITH AN UNUSUALLY LARGE SPREAD OF CANVAS. DURING THE FIGHT AGAINST THE "GUERRIERE" IN 1812 THE BRITISH FIRE AGAINST THE CONSTITUTIONS HULL WAS SO INEFFECTIVE THAT THE SHOT SIMPLY BOUNCED OFF THE THICK OAK PLANKING GIVING THE IMPRESSION THAT SHE WAS MADE OF STEEL, HENCE THE NICKNAME TITLE OF" OLD IRONSIDES" ONLY 10% OF THE ORIGINAL TMBER REMAINS IN THE SHIP NOW, WHEN IT HAD ITS LAST REFIT IN 1970 AT A COST OF $4,4000,000. THIS IS MOUNTED IN A GLASS CASE AND IN EXCELLENT CONDITION FOR ITS AGE, WHICH WAS BELIEVED TO BE BUILT OVER 100 YEARS AGO. MODELS SUCH AS THESE ARE VERY SOUGHT AFTER, AND SOME GO FOR HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. VALUERS HAVE PUT A PRICE OF BETWEEN $30-50 THOUSAND DOLLARS ON THIS.
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