Dear Internet, you are asking me a LOT about how to sell a vintage fur coat. Because I love you and want to help you out, here is a follow up to my piece on Grandma's Vintage Fur
. This is for everyone who wants to sell their vintage fur coat, stole, or other item. I'm also posting public answers to some of the more interesting questions that have come my way.
The Step By Step Guide to Selling Your Vintage Fur
- Identify your fur. This article from eBay is great and has pictures. This page at Furs by Chrys is also fantastic. IMPORTANT: If you think your fur is from an endangered animal, you probably won't be able to sell your fur without breaking the law. Please see my related post about Vintage Furs You Can't Sell.
- Check your fur's condition. This article on Worthpoint describes how to do that. They also have an article about repairing a vintage fur. If your fur is in poor condition - torn lining, bald spots, other problems - consider donating it to Coats for Cubs in the USA, or to a local animal rescue group. Your fur will be made into cuddly beds for baby animals.
- For a fur in good to excellent condition, identify your best fur resale or regift option, as follows.
- If you are in or near a big city, try to consign it at a quality vintage clothing store, or a resale furrier, in the autumn. This is a good example of a resale furrier. Note that resale furriers are, as a rule, more interested in modern furs than vintage furs. You can also try to sell it to a costume rental company or via an antique store that has other clothing.
- If you are in a remote or rural area, and you don't want to ship your coat for consideration by a resale furrier, post the fur on eBay or Etsy with a detailed listing, including measurements (bust, waist, full length, sleeve length) and multiple photographs.
Be polite to the fur buyers/consignment store owners/possible online buyers of your fur. Don't be crabby or greedy, don't call a consignment store constantly to see if your item has sold - check in at the end of the consignment term.
How Much Are Vintage Furs Worth?
Left to right: Edie Bouvier, Mr. Earbrass by Edward Gorey, Cruella de Ville. If you can't sell your vintage fur coat, you know who to blame.
Most vintage furs are worth less than $750 US. This Worthpoint price list
seems to be accurate. Here's a list I have expanded from the Worthpoint list, based on reviewing furs online for the past year.
- Rabbit or Raccoon jacket: $100 - $500
- Mink coat or jacket: $300-$750
- Mink or Sable collared 1950s - 1960s wool coat: $75 to $250
- Fox stole: $150 - $300
- Mink or Sable stole: $200-$400
- Mink or Sable collar: $20-$75
- Mink or Sable boa: $50 - $200
- Persian or Broadtail Lamb coat or jacket: $50-$450, more with mink collars or excellent condition
- Mouton Lamb coat or jacket: $50 - $350. I'm a big fan of these personally but they often don't age well.
- Muff (Fox, Mink, Lamb): $40 – $350. A muff in good condition can go for strangely high prices.
- Full Pelt (w/heads and feet) Fox stole: $50 - $300
- Full Pelt Mink/Sable/Marten stole (w/heads & feet): $35-$150
- Other types of furs in coats, jackets and stoles will usually range from $50 to $300.
- $1000 and up for a full coat for the following furs: chinchilla, lynx, modern sables especially with provenance such as Blackglama, designer furs.
What can make a fur more valuable? Furs that are labeled designer or are very pale (white, platinum, blonde, champagne) will be at the higher end of these value ranges.
What makes a fur harder to sell? If it is a very small size, that reduces the market for it. Brown fur stoles, and fur accessories that include animal heads/feet are definitely harder to sell in 2015 - I recommend taking these directly to a vintage store.
I'm Sorry That Your Fur Is Not As Valuable As You Hoped, Here's Why
Many antique items are more valuable than their modern counterparts, or have held their value well. Unfortunately fur coats are not one of these. While new fur coats are very expensive, vintage furs have value too, but it is limited. Compared to modern furs, vintage fur coats are heavier. Fur also gets damaged over time - delicate furs like beaver, chinchilla, and rabbit get damaged quickly. Lastly, vintage furs are often styled to vintage tastes - they can be strange or even distasteful (heads and feet and tails, gracious!) to the modern eye. Modern furriers often distance their furs from the killing floor by shearing them to mimic soft velvet, or dyeing them colors never seen in nature.
Victorian fur versus 21st century fur. As you can see, styles have changed.
You may see vintage furs for sale for more money than I have listed above. The catch is that if you are seeing them for sale, in a store...the seller hosting the space is paying overhead costs. If the furs are consigned, the consignee is receiving 50 - 60% of the sale price, and the consignment shop is getting the rest. If the furs are secondhand, again, they got bought to be resold and there are still space expenses. Hopefully this explains that. Diamonds also go through value fluctuations due to sale/ownership status.
Ethically Donating or Gifting a Fur
You may have serious ethical problems with fur, and yet not like the idea of just throwing a fur garment away. It was Grandma's. Animals died to make it. The lining is awfully pretty. Even Edward Gorey had a change of heart
about whether vintage furs were ethical! Take heart, there are some ethical re-uses for your fur coat that don't involve profit.
What Is Warmest, Fake Fur or Real Fur?
- Donate to a museum with a costume collection or with a local history collection. This is best for unusual furs or furs with a lot of family history. See my piece on donating clothing to museums here.
- Donate to a charity that needs animal bedding or does resale, see a USA list here.
- Ask friends/family members if anyone is interested.
- Have the fur coat made into one or several teddy bears or other stuffed animals. Here is an NZ bear maker, and here is a USA one (her range of soft fur animals is pretty amazing, and her prices are great). There are enough bear-crafters in the USA that you can find one in your area.
The answer is...neither. If real fur was "the warmest" they'd be wearing it in Antarctica and in Antarctica they wear goose down parkas
. That said, after the late-autumn Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast in 2012, friends of mine were getting their grandmother's fur coats out of storage to wear for warmth.
Some Final Notes
Just because a fur is "valuable" doesn't mean it will sell. Many people have personal reasons for not buying a fur. Also...are you so sure you want to sell it? First, you may need to stay REALLY warm someday. And second, beautiful, well-made vintage items are becoming more and more rare. If you have a choice and some suitable storage space, I do recommend hanging on to it. It often takes two or even three generations for an item to become an heirloom.
If you are trying to sell a fur, I wish you luck and I hope that this piece was helpful.
Rest assured that people have been disappointed by inherited fur coats for years -Dodie Smith's novel I Capture the Castle
has a classic scene, set in the 1930s, when two girls inherit some furs. The furs turn out to be, not fashionable mink or fox, but...antique, worn beaver, seal, and...collie dog! Interestingly, Dodie Smith also wrote 101 Dalmatians,
where fur coats are a major plot point and a furrier's wife, Cruella de Ville, the villain. Anyhow, read I Capture the Castle
, it's a great book. It would be a great gift to accompany a fur teddy bear.