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Thread: What to do with 100 year old fox fur

  1. #1

    Question What to do with 100 year old fox fur

    Hey guys, I'm in need of a bit of advice here.
    So my grandma brought me some sewing stuff from her place yesterday (because she knows I love to sew) and among these items I found, to my great surprise, an entire silver fox pelt. The pelt is intact, it has no cuts or damage to it, the fur is soft and warm, the tail is stuffed to give it volume, it still has the face and paws (with some claws still in there!!) and the whole thing is kind of like a tube?? So like, it wasn't opened at the stomach, the whole thing is seamless. My grandma told me that it was her mother that gave it to her, and she estimates the pelt is between 100 and 150 years old. But now I have this beautiful pelt and no clue what to do with it!!!! I have a few questions, which I'll list below and I'd be grateful to anyone who can help!

    1. Is there any way to tell how old the pelt is?
    2. How do I care for this thing? It's been in a plastic bag for probably a few decades now and it sort of smells old. Is there a way to remove the smell? Is it more fragile because of it's age? Is it normal that the leather seems thin or stiffer in certain places?
    3. I am considering using the fur to make something with. What garments is fox fur best used for in a way that will keep me warm in winter? I want to use the fur in a practical way (since winters are very cold here) and not as a fashion statement.
    4. It seems a shame to cut into such a beautiful and old pelt. What can I do with it while keeping it intact? (Please note that I don't want to wear it in public, since the view of a whole pelt with legs and face still attached can be disturbing to many people)
    5. With it's age and apparent quality (at least to the untrained eye), would i be better off donating this pelt to a museum? It was presumably caught and prepared by someone in my family who caught the fox locally, so perhaps it could have historical or cultural value?

    Once again, even if you can only answer one of these questions that's already very helpful and thank you to everyone who has any insight into this situation!
    Last edited by GingerestAle; 10-14-2018 at 11:34 PM. Reason: I originally said it was a gray fox pelt, but it is a silver fox pelt. Got mixed up in the terminology!!


  2. #2
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    1. Is there any way to tell how old the pelt is?e
    Only someone that deals with antique furs will be able to tell you the age of the fur and give you an honest appraisal of worth. I urge you to seek out an appraiser and have it examined. It may be of significant numismatic or cultural value.
    2. How do I care for this thing? It's been in a plastic bag for probably a few decades now and it sort of smells old. Is there a way to remove the smell? Is it more fragile because of it's age? Is it normal that the leather seems thin or stiffer in certain places?
    An appraiser can not only answer these questions but tell you the proper method of storage. Yes, age does increase the fragility of such items.
    3. I am considering using the fur to make something with. What garments is fox fur best used for in a way that will keep me warm in winter? I want to use the fur in a practical way (since winters are very cold here) and not as a fashion statement
    A 100 year old fur is not something that should be worn outside. Especially if it was your grandmothers. Find out the value before you make a potentially serious mistake.
    4. It seems a shame to cut into such a beautiful and old pelt. What can I do with it while keeping it intact? (Please note that I don't want to wear it in public, since the view of a whole pelt with legs and face still attached can be disturbing to many peoplea
    Don't touch it, cut it, attempt to clean it or otherwise do anything to it until you have it appraised. You'll ruin the value of it if you do.
    5. With it's age and apparent quality (at least to the untrained eye), would i be better off donating this pelt to a museum? It was presumably caught and prepared by someone in my family who caught the fox locally, so perhaps it could have historical or cultural value? ​See above.

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    Read and re-read the above post, then read it again every time you get and itchy thimble finger. You have something that has remained intact for a long time carrying with it significant family History. Cherish it, care for it for exactly that for that is, in the end, the most practical thing you can do with it.

    If you just gotta have something made outta fox fur, there's lots of that stuff around. Buy a pelt that is made for that purpose. Don't use one that one of your distant relatives made with their own hands and passed down for at least four generations.

    Alan

  4. #4

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    Thank you for your advice! I live near Montreal, so finding someone to appraise the fur shouldn't be too big a problem! I'm very curious to see what a professional has to say!

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Yep. What they said.
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    Alaska, The Madness! 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Get it out of the plastic right away! Other then that, see above. You can also just hang it on a wall for decoration. It's kind of an Alaskan thing so not many people may enjoy that type of decor.
    Why do I live in Alaska? Because I can.

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    Alaska, The Madness! 1stimestar's Avatar
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    If you need to store it somewhere, store it in a cardboard box.
    Why do I live in Alaska? Because I can.

    Alaska, the Madness! Bloggity Stories of the North Country

    "Building Codes, Alaskans don't need no stinking Building Codes." Sourdough

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