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Nantucket Island is Offering You a Great Deal on a Mansion

I was somewhat tickled to see the New York Times piece on the collapse of the Nantucket Island real estate market, which says there are 600 homes for sale on the tiny, windswept island, about 6% of the total housing stock. My family was the first western owner of the island, one Thomas Mayhew having bought it from the Wamponoag tribe for three ax heads and a cow in the 1600s. A great, great, great, great, great uncle, Owen Coffin, was a cabin boy on the Essex, which was rammed by a giant whale and sunk in the Pacific in 1820 (read In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick). He spent 99 days in a tiny whaleboat, and then, after drawing straws,  was eaten by his shipmates. The story became the basis for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, written 31 years later, whose pages mention the Coffin name  in seven places. The Times estimates that the value of property on the island has dropped from $20 billion to $14 billion since last year. Gee, do you think we sold too soon?