Fur Tips: Buying Vintage Fur

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Vintage fur is a great alternative to new fur, as the designs can be very unique, and it is often a lot less expensive. But vintage furs need to be carefully selected, as it is easy to buy a “bad” vintage fur. I bought a beautiful vintage leather coat with chevrons of white fur (I believe it was fox) and one of the chevrons tore when I was out at a party. Within hours, the coat had torn in about eight more places. I freaked out, as the coat had cost me $100, and this was the second time I was wearing it. I took it into Pappas Furs, in hopes of getting it fixed. Unfortunately, I was told “Dry rot, throw it away.” They told me it wasn’t even worth making into a blanket. I won’t ever make that mistake again.

vintage fur, fur coat, fur tips, buying vintage fur, fur care

Here are some tips I got from Walter, the master furrier from Pappas Furs, about what to look for when buying vintage fur.

  1. Look at the fur, if it is oxidized, you shouldn’t buy it. If the fur has a yellow tinge, then it means it is oxidized. Look for the yellow tinge on the areas that are exposed to the sun, for example the shoulders, and the sleeves.
  2. Touch the fur and its leather, if it is brittle, forget it. The fur should have a soft, supple feel. If it is brittle and crunchy, it means it has dried out, or has dry rot.
  3. vintage fur, fur coat, fur tips, buying vintage fur, fur care

  4. Another way to test for dry rot is to pull on the leather a bit (the underside of the fur.) If there is no elasticity, then the fur is nearing end of life.
  5. Another sign of dry rot is rips, If there are several rips in the coat, chances are the fur is dried out. Check areas like the arm holes, shoulders, and neckline for rips.
  6. If the fur is shedding quite a lot, it might be infested with moths. Keep in mind that some delicate furs can break (for example rabbit or chinchilla) and most furs shed a little bit but if there are a lot of hair coming off the garment, or the hairs are coming out in clumps, then do not buy the coat.

Thanks to Walter from Pappas Furs in Vancouver, who kindly supplied me with these useful vintage fur buying tips.

Read more fur tips:
Repairing Tears
Dealing with Moths
How to Store a Fur Coat

Images from here, here, and here.

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11 thoughts on “Fur Tips: Buying Vintage Fur

  1.   Steve Cowit As one of the largest buyers and sellers of pre-owned & vintage furs in the country ( Henry Cowit Inc / Madison Ave Furs ( http://www.cowitfurs.com/ )… the most important thing about buying vintage furs is being able to feel the undersi…de leather to make sure that it is supple. Any dryness or rips is a definite problem. one small rip somewhere in the garment can mean more are there or more are on the way. one way to safeguard yourself is buying from a legitimate seller, a full service furrier, who will there to back up your purchase..buying at a flea market, thrift store or on ebay does not guarantee the quality of your fur.See More

  2. also check carefully for flea eggs they look just like the eggs on an animals coat. I will not make this mistake again!!! didnt check , wore a wrap and the little blighters woke up and started to eat me! I was left with approx 40 flea bites which made me feel awful, itched like mad and made me ill as was allergic to them! YUCK. Not put me off vintage fur but always check!!!!

  3. Once you purchase your vintage fur you may need alterations like sleeve or hem shortening, adjustment of the closures or   a new monogram to cover an old one.  Wolverine Furs http://wolverinefurs.com/  has provided that service for 4 generations to department stores and furriers nationwide. They now offer the same service direct anywhere in the USA or alterations you can contact them direct Toll Free (877) 387-4111 or online at http://wolverinefurs.com/services/service-order-form/ . They can also provide you with insurance appraisal papers.

  4. Pingback: Vintage furs | Grillmangrill

  5. http://www.cornichefurs.com Here at Corniche we specialize in designer outerwear fashioned from the finest cashmere, fox, mink, rabbit fur, fox trim, and sheared mink. We produce only the finest fox boas, cashmere shawls, cashmere fur trimmed capes, cashmere fur shawls, rabbit capes and fur outerwear.  We specialize in fox capelets, mink capelets, fur accessories, fur coats, fur garments, fur hats, fur vests, fox cuffs, and fox flings. Our mink jackets, mink stoles, knitted mink capes, mink ponchos, fox head bands, fur vests and wholesale-priced furs are the best in New York. Corniche Furs also offers New York fur storage for your fur or fur trimmed garment. To keep your fur looking as wonderful as the day you bought it, storing your fur coats in our cold, New York fur storage vaults is vital. Corniche Furs also has New York fur cleaning available for your convenience. Maintaining your fur coat through our state of the art New York fur cleaning process is essential to keeping your coats luster and shine. If your fur is in need of repairs, let Corniche Furs be the ones to do your New York fur repairs! Housing a New York fur factory on premises, doing your small New York fur repairs is a snap! While you wait, we can do most small New York fur repair jobs. We also do the larger, more complex New York fur repairs here on premises.  Corniche Furs also are experts at fur remodels/fur restyling/fur restyling. Let Corniche Furs take your old, fur garment and turn it into a fashionable, cutting edge masterpiece that you will get plenty of use out of and plenty of compliments for.  Corniche also offers free New York fur storage pickup and delivery in select areas in the metro area. (Call 212-239-8655 to see if your area is eligible).

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