How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver, Raccoon & Chinchilla Fur

by Sammy in , , 89 Comments — Updated March 30, 2024

This is a step into the world of fur identification. As I continue to explore vintage styles, I frequently find myself caught up in various learning journeys. In today’s blog post, I’m tackling the puzzle of how to identify fur.

How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver & Raccoon Fur

One of the season’s hottest modern trends is that of fur. We saw it all over the runways in a variety of styles, from Rachel Zoe vests to full-on fur coats, gloves, earmuffs, scarfs, and everything in between.

I consider myself nothing more or less than an animal on this earth. And as an animal, I feel it’s very important to respect the rights of all other brother & sister animals.

That’s why I want to start today’s post — which is an exploration and education on identifying 5 of the most common vintage furs used to create warm outerwear garments — with the declaration that I will never buy new fur or leather products. However, I will also declare that I will buy vintage fur or leather products as a sustainable option to use the resources which are pre-existing. 

I believe that we each have a right to our own opinions, no matter the subject matter. I respect anyone’s similar or differing opinion and welcome further suggestions on how best to tackle this ethical fashion conundrum in the comments.

A woman wearing fur and posing.

So, vintage lovers!

For the sake of today’s post, I hope that you leave with a greater understanding of vintage fur as a whole, which will fuel your OWN opinions and decisions on how to engage with these styles and trends this winter.

Keep reading after the jump to learn how to identify vintage mink, fox, rabbit, beaver & raccoon — and to understand just how the fur industry has influenced fashion from yesterday through today.

Winter Outerwear Fur Trend

How To Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver &Amp; Raccoon Furs

Before launching into identifying vintage furs, I must point out that fur is a big trend for winter. The runways set the stage for trends, and mainstream ready-to-wear designers take note.

The evidence of this cold weather season’s fur trend is apparent on the cover of Bloomingdale’s catalog cover above, which I received in my mailbox just yesterday.

Basic Fur Terminology

When we speak of fur, four keywords are used to describe how the fur piece is constructed.


This is where you find the denser/thicker hair near the skin of the animal


These are the shinier, more delicate hairs that lay over the undercoat. They are more aesthetically pleasing, while the undercoat is the practical warmth layer.


The “pile” is used to describe the direction of the hair growth, i.e. “the pile grows inward from the tail or outward from the top of the belly to the bottom of the torso.”


The literal skin of the animal and the phrase used to describe the number of animals needed to create one fur garment. “This fur coat required 10 pelts of a fox,” for example.


You can learn more about different types of fur and how to identify them by checking out the Vintage Fashion Guild Guide to Fur.

Fur Animals & Fur Production

The practice of utilizing animal fur for various purposes, such as clothing and accessories, emerged as a means of protection against harsh climates and a symbol of status and wealth.

Fur animals typically refer to specific species of animals bred or hunted for their fur. Fur production involves raising these animals in captivity or capturing them from the wild, primarily for their pelts.

In the following passages, we’ll dwelve into the six animals that are used for fur production.

1. Mink

A mink.

The Animal: 

Wild or ranched mink, a type of weasel that can swim at free will (referred to as “semi-aquatic”) and is most commonly found in North America and countries of Siberia, China, and Japan.

How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver & Raccoon Furs

How To Identify:

Mink fur is flat and short, and because the animal itself is tiny (imagine no larger than a common squirrel), the pelts are long and narrow when construed together to form the garment.

The look of a mink piece is described as being almost “shiny and wet.” This makes sense since the animal can swim, so it’s almost as if the hair is like aquatic skin.

Fur is usually very light but still thick, and according to the Vintage Fashion Guild, dark mink is the most recognizable (see picture of wild mink above). Ranched mink are not born with dark fur coloring, so their fur is often dyed to different shades of brown and even white or a “silver blue” shade.

Mink Fur Long Mens Coat

Popular Vintage Styles: 

The definitive “mink coat.” While another animal fur is used for cold weather protective outer garments, the mink style is what I associate with Hollywood glamor and luxury.

The trend of mink began in the 20th century after mink was trapped for some time in large quantities. Beaver had been more popular previously, as you’ll learn why by reading how to identify vintage beaver furbelow.

It makes financial sense why mink is associated with such glitz & glam: Because the mink animal is so small, it requires dozens of them to make a coat or a stole. Thus the garment itself is more expensive than the same style made with a larger animal with larger pelts, like a fox.

Plus, mink fur is short and glossy, making mink the go-to animal for high-fashion pieces looking to radiate that luxurious shine.

  • Natural Ranch Mink: The guard hairs should be uniformly silky, and the underfur should be compact and lighter in color, lending the fur a natural, lustrous sheen.
  • Mutation Mink: This variant should also have silky, even guard hairs with a clear and uniform color. The cost is influenced by the availability and popularity of colors, and occasionally, natural ranch mink may be more expensive.
  • Pieced Mink: Coats may be made entirely or partly from paws, gills, tails, or other mink pieces, often patterned for an even texture throughout. While attractive and more affordable, pieced mink coats may not wear as well as whole skin coats due to numerous seams, but should be reinforced at wear points for durability.

2. Fox

A fox in nature.

The Animal:

There are 12 species of what we know as the “fox,” the most recognizable of such being the red fox (shown above) or gray fox, which are the indigenous species of fox in North America.

How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver & Raccoon Furs

The US, Canada, and Finland are the world’s leaders in the production of fox fur, or essentially the creation of the “pelts” needed to make the garments as a whole.

Popular Vintage Styles:

Fox pelts complete with head and feet (see image below) were popular in the ’30s – ’50s.

Special note: While it is surely the creepiest, the easiest way to identify a type of fur is to take note of whether the garment contains the head or tail of its animal.

Mink stoles of the ’30s-’50s eras (on Etsy, seen sold often from the ’50s) were also often designed with heads and tails still intact, which I assume became trendy because it was much easier to use the entire animal versus just looping together smaller pelts.

I’d love to know why using animal heads/tails to design a fur garment because less popular after the ’50s. To my knowledge, PETA was founded as an organization in 1980, so there is less chance that this organization had influence of fur trends & styles prior to that.

I also noticed — along with rabbit & beaver — that fox fur is a popular choice for hats, shown in the picture farther above. The hat above is fur from a white fox. I believe that because there are so many “natural color choices” of foxes, dying fox fur is not as popular as dying mink fur.

How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver & Raccoon Furs

How To Identify: 

When you’re examining a piece sans head or feet, identifying whether the fur is a fox or not depends mostly on touch.

The fur is much longer in comparison to other woodland creatures. It’s a soft fur that comes in a variety of colors depending on the type of fox species: 

  • Blue Fox: Mostly ranched in Scandinavia, the color varies from blue-brown to pure blue and even white with blue highlights.
  • Cross Fox: Named for the unique cross-like marking on the head and neck, these foxes typically display red fur with yellow tints, deepening in color at the cross, which blends red with black. Some are silver-colored, known as silver cross foxes.
  • Gray Fox: Mostly American, the finest pelts originate from the northern states. The fur is silver-gray with a faint red tinge. How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver & Raccoon Furs
  • Kitt Fox or Corsac: North American Kitt foxes are gray foxes, while Corsac foxes come from Siberia and former Soviet regions. Corsac fur is shorter and softer, with sparse yellow guard hairs tipped white, but is less durable compared to other fox types.
  • Platina Fox: Originating from Norway, this fur is a lighter platinum color than a silver fox, sometimes slightly bleached for enhancing whiteness.
  • Red Fox: Native to every continent except South America, the best red fox has deep fur with a silky, robust texture, generally sourced from northern climates.
  • Silver Fox: Exclusively ranched, the fur is blue-black with a white tail tip. The finest silver fox is a pure silver color with a black stripe.

White Fox: Known for its thick underfur and slight blue shade along the pelt’s back. It might require bleaching to prevent yellowing. Though less durable than common fox types, it embodies the epitome of glamour.

3. Rabbit

A rabbit in grass.

The Animal:

The rabbit is technically a “rodent” animal that is quite literally found all over the world in a variety of species, sizes, color,s and personalities.

Popular Vintage Styles: 

Rabbits are so plentiful and common that many rabbit pieces are less expensive than, say, a mink or a beaver piece.

According to the Vintage Fashion Guild, rabbit furs were more often dyed prior to the 1970s. Because rabbits are one of the least expensive fur garments, the trend was to dye the rabbit fur to resemble a more expensive creature. Perhaps this is why with vintage furs, we so often see a rabbit piece dyed dark brown as if it were mink, beaver, or fox.How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver & Raccoon Furs

How To Identify: 

When petting a garment made from rabbit, it should feel like you are petting a domestic cat. Because the coloring of a rabbit garment could be just about anything — from white to black and any shade in between, thanks to the popularity of dying rabbit fur — it’s most important to take note of the garment’s longer, denser hairs that are silky soft. You’ll want to rub the garment on your face, much like a cat would rub its body on you when wanting to be stroked!

Beginning in the 1970s — when love and acceptance of all things “natural” began thanks to the peace, love & flower power generation — the natural colors of rabbit fur were embraced as a trend, and less dying occurred.

Also, the demand for “higher quality fur” had lessened. Mink was the luxurious go-to fur of its day, given the cost of mink fur coats, so rabbit fur was dyed previously to the ’70s to resemble mink fur.

Rabbit farming part 10: Rabbit fur pelt production –

The rabbit vest you see pictured above is from the ’70s and not dyed. This grey-white coloring is very unique to the common species of North American rabbit, so it’s easier to identify more modern rabbit pieces based on color alone.

Angora is another style of rabbit fur with recent popularity made from the sheared fur of the angora species of rabbit, shown below.

Angora Rabbit Hair Fur Vintage Sweater
Angora Rabbit Hair Fur Vintage Sweater

We’ve all loved our “cashmere” sweaters, which are soft to the touch and made from wool. Angora is a similar touch and feel to cashmere, but you’ll know it’s angora because you’ll notice small threads of fur emerging from the garment material that can almost be “brushed” like fluffy, not-thick hair.

4. Beaver

A beaver in water.

The Animal:

Two types of beavers exist, the Eurasian beaver in Europe and the North American beaver in Canada, the US, and Northern Mexico. The Eurasian beaver was hunted to extinction in the 17th century and is now being reintroduced. In North America, beaver trapping boomed in the 1600s to mid-1800s, decimating the population, and prompting the French and British to establish the fur trade in North America.

How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver & Raccoon Furs

Popular Vintage Styles:

Beaver “wool felt” hats were symbols of prestige from the 1600s – 1800s. The hat’s style evolved over centuries, but men wore them for every occasion. The 20th century saw the popularity of beaver fur in outerwear accessories like scarves, earmuffs, and hats.

  • Natural Beaver: This variant is significantly different from the familiar sheared beaver. Its long guard hairs lend it a lustrous sheen. Ideal for men’s coats due to its rugged appearance, natural beaver is also perfect for casual wear for both men and women. As a durable fur, natural beaver often comes in its natural brown color but can also be dyed in different hues.
  • Sheared Beaver: Traditionally, beaver fur has been plucked and sheared to a velvety, soft pile. Its natural color may be dyed darker brown, beige, or even bleached white. However, it needs to be handled with care as the fur can mat when wet and requires annual cleaning. If you want to know how to clean fur, I got you!.
Beaver fur women's hat.

(Brief) Beaver Trading History:

Beaver fur was versatile, used in blankets, bags, coats, and even as currency value during the 16th and 17th centuries. “Beaver fur wars” ensued in the 1600s as Europeans and Iroquois Indians contested for lands rich in beavers.

The fur trade thrived until the 1840s, when hat styles changed, and beavers’ dwindling numbers threatened the industry.

How To Identify:

This fur was coveted for its durability, warmth, and density, making it ideal for winter conditions. Garments made from beaver fur, like earmuffs, exhibit an almost bear-like fur texture and have a durable quality. Beaver wool felt was a favored material for hatters for its resilience and water resistance. Consequently, antique beaver garments might be easier to find due to their enduring nature.

How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver & Raccoon Furs
1920s Beaver Fur Felt Hat

5. Raccoon

How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver, Raccoon & Chinchilla Fur 24

The Animal:

Raccoon, a uniquely American animal, and fur, has significantly evolved from the hefty coats synonymous with 1920s college men and the Davy Crockett hats of the 1950s. Raccoons inhabit all across the United States and southern Canada. Raccoon is made up of approximately 90% undercoat. Their fur becomes denser and longer (hence warmest) the further north they reside.

According to hunting stats kept on record, raccoon trapping for outdoor garment use reached an all time high in the ’70s when 5.2 million raccoons were caught in the hunting season of 1976-1977.How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver & Raccoon Furs

The reason for such hunting popularity of the ‘coon is most likely due to the fact that other animals used for warm outerwear — (cough cough) beaver — were still struggling to regain population after being over hunted for literally hundreds of years.

Popular Vintage Styles:

If a raccoon is plucked and sheared, it should exhibit a silky texture and uniform shearing. Sheared raccoon, like any sheared coat, demands special care to prevent matting. Raccoon fur can also be bleached or dyed. When taken care of, it’s very durable fur and is testified by the persistence of 1920s raccoon coats even today.


Raccon fur long coat.

Raccoon was also popular in the ’20s & ’30s before the trend of “long haired fur” became less popular in the ’40s-’50s when the short haired mink reigned supreme & most stylish.

An interesting vintage trend to note is that when Walt Disney released the movie “Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier” in the ’50s that raccoon hats — complete with tails and all — became popular.

How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver & Raccoon Furs

The raccoon’s signature tail alternates between black and tan rings, but its bodyguard hairs are long, silvery with black tips, with the gray sides shading to black along the mid-back. The finest raccoon fur boasts abundant guard hair, thick underfur, and a silvery hue. It’s noteworthy that raccoon pairs have been relocated to Russian forests where their population is reportedly expanding, potentially challenging its exclusive American identity.

How To Identify:

When identifying raccoon fur, look for the characteristic long, silvery bodyguard hairs with black tips, the gray sides blending into black along the back’s center, and the distinctive tail with black and tan rings.

Quality raccoon fur will have an abundance of guard hair, heavy underfur, and a silvery shade. Whether the raccoon fur is plucked and sheared, look for a silky texture and even shearing. Always remember, the further north the raccoon resides, the denser and longer the fur will be.

How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver & Raccoon Furs
Vintage Coonskin Hat

6. Chinchilla

A little chinchilla.

The Animal:

Originating from the lofty Andes of South America, the Chinchilla is a rodent whose name is attributed to the “Chincha” people, South American natives who utilized the hair for clothing – a practice followed by the conquering Incas and the early Spaniards who overpowered the Incas.

The fur, characterized by its blue-gray hue and exceptional softness, was so coveted in Europe that Chinchillas were on the brink of extinction by 1914. Today, all Chinchillas are ranch-raised, thanks to a few breeding pairs imported to the US in 1924.

Popular Vintage Styles:

Renowned for its ultra-soft, silky, and dense fur, Chinchilla holds the record for the highest hair density among animals, with over 20,000 hairs per square centimeter. This extreme density prevents parasites such as fleas from infesting Chinchillas, as they would suffocate.

Unlike humans, who sprout a single hair from each follicle, a Chinchilla boasts over 50. The top hair displays a silvery-gray color, contrasting the dark underfur. The most desirable Chinchilla exhibits a slate-blue color, often augmented by brighteners, though mutation colors have also emerged.

Chinchilla fur long coat.

How To Identify:

Historically, the small size and delicate nature of Chinchilla skin made it challenging to work with and thus highly expensive. While still costly, advancements in dressing methods have eased its handling and enhanced its wearability. However, no fur demands more care than Chinchilla fur.

Despite its lightweight, this fur offers significant warmth. To identify a Chinchilla fur, look for its signature silky, dense fur in a silvery-gray color, contrasted by a dark underfur. The premium quality chinchilla fur will exhibit a slate-blue hue.

Summing Up

So far, you’ve gained valuable insights into identifying fur products – or inherited fur coat – and understanding the ethical concerns surrounding fur production.

As consumers, being informed about the sources of luxury items empowers us to make conscientious choices that align with our values and contribute to more responsible and compassionate fashion practices.

89 thoughts on “How to Identify Vintage Mink, Fox, Rabbit, Beaver, Raccoon & Chinchilla Fur”

  1. Very informative, thank you.
    So, what is mohair then? Is it not a type of fur?

    • Mohair is technically fur, but in the same way that wool is fur. Mohair is the fur of an angora goat which is sheared like sheep wool to be spun and made into cloth.

  2. Excellent article, Sammy – concise and well-written :-)

  3. Wow, what a lot of information. Think I’ll file it for future reference. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Great post, Sammy. Super informative. I will definitely be referring to this post when I run aross vintage furs.

  5. Great post! :)

    I’ve got a vintage coat that’s made out of musquach fur and I love it. I found it at a flea market for 300 SEK (about 45 USD) and it has been my faitful winter friend ever since.

  6. Hi Sammy, You are a kindred spirit! I have a vintage fashion show and am always looking for treasures. Your info is very helpful. You have inspired me to post photos of my fashions on facebook!
    I’ll keep in touch…

  7. I have a vintage Fur coat that my mom gave me that belonged to my aunt we know that the collar is mink but we are not sure what the actual coat is it curly like fur very soft any idea of what it may be? It isn’t rabbit ,fox,or beaver I am sure.



  8. A fine post full of facts about fur! However… there’s one thing that I think you might want to change: unless the raccoon is some sort of Jewish transportation system, the odds of it being full of “rabbis” is pretty slim. Rabies, on the other hand… ;D

  9. Thank you so much! I’ve been struggling with identifying whether an inherited coat is bear or beaver- I’m certain it’s beaver! Here in Newfoundland (in Canada- but we’re closer to England than to British Columbia, and only joined Canada in 1949)we have a lot of seal fur too, and because of misinformation it’s not very popular! But I want to reuse any fur I find without encouraging any new fur trade :) Thanks for a great post.
    Do you know how to treat a fur coat (beaver, apparently!) that has acquired a musty smell? I don’t know if it’s salvageable, or not!

    • hey Sarah! Thank you for leaving such a kind comment! I love my Canadian vintage lovers. You all ROCK. I had no idea that Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949. History is so rich and enlightening. I don’t know about treating fur with a musty smell. I must do some research! I wonder if a seller on my Facebook page would know? Feel free to ask and I can repost for you! XOXO

  10. Thanks for the information. Very helpful. Now I think I MIGHT have a mink. Don’t know for sure but my mother and father went to a LOT of auctions back east, so its possible. I was finding no use for this coat, but now I think I might at least hang onto it. I live in a warm climate area with no furiers and the furier that made my coat doean’t even get a hit on Google, so this is a very very old coat in perfect condition. Will have to take it to New York one day to find out its value.

    • hi Cindy! I’d love to know what the label name is … I might know. Have you looked in the Vintage Fashion Guild? Or can you send me a photo of the fur to my email? If you emailed me recently, I still have your email!

  11. Sammy, you will NOT believe the luck I had this week. On Monday, I went thrifting and saw a brown fur coat behind the counter. It was marked $100, but it was half-off (color-of-the-week tags are 50% off). Still, I was hesitant to buy it. The cashier said it had been there for a few weeks, so she dropped the price down to $35. I couldn’t resist! I am fairly sure it is rabbit, but I need to do some more sleuthing to determine its age.

    Yesterday, I re-read this article to help me in my research of the rabbit coat. After reading your article, I went back to the same store to check out the coats on the rack. Boy, oh boy, did I find some treasures! Two more vintage coats — one with a blonde fox collar and one with a chocolate mink collar! I’m overdosing on the vintage furs over here. I hope to post a blog/pictures soon so you can see what I scored (if you want.)

    Long story short, THANK YOU for posting this wonderful guide to vintage furs – it brought me incredible luck as well as knowledge! :)

    • Natalie this comment made my heart SOAR. Thank you so much! So you were buying fur in the off season? Smart girl! That’s when the prices are the best because they can’t have those fur sitting around the vintage/thrift store weighing down the racks! I expect a full styled look shared with me once the seasons turn cold, but for now let’s enjoy the sunshine and surf! Lots of vintage love, Sammy

  12. What is a black fur,very Curley? I thought my mother called it caracal but that doesnt seem to be the case. I know it was an inexpensive fur. It seems to have a very thin pelt. Swirly curls

    • it is a Karakul. which is from a type of sheep, as opposed to a caracal which is a wild cat found over here. Karakul sheep was a popular cheaper alternative for south african women and namibian(german sudwest afrika) in earlier years

  13. Hello everyone,

    I have some fur questions that I am confused about that I was hoping you all could help me clear up.

    1. Foxes called: white fox, polar fox, glacier fox, shadow fox, and arctic fox all look the same. Are those different names of the same fox species?

    2. What is the softest species of fox? Or is it more that they pretty much feel the same and are just different colors?

    3. Why is it that a “new” fox coat, same blue fox for example, can cost anywhere from $2,000-$7,000? What accounts for the difference in price?

    Thank you for your time. :-)

    • I am not sure the answers to these questions … I don’t want to mislead you! If anyone has suggestions/advice here please share! xx

  14. A few more questions:

    4. When a fox fur is dyed, what species of fox is it usually?

    5. When a fox fur item is labeled white fox, what species is that?

  15. Thanks for all the info on furs, I believe I am now the owner of a mink coat (bought for £50.00 at a local charity shop). It is in excellent condition although no labels so I took a chance, and wow has it paid off, can’t wait for winter so I can wear it.

  16. Very helpful! I too will not buy new fur.
    However, I just received a vintage fur jacket and hat as a gift, and had no idea what type of fur. Based on your informative, post, I believe they are fox- cream colored, very soft with a longish silky outer layer and soft dense underlayer. They were originally purchased from Marshall Fields about 40-50 years ago.

    • Cream and white fur is very luxe! I prefer it over black and brown. Feels more modern. That’s great, Anne!

      • Well, I checked with the previous owner, and it is mink, not fox. Clearly I do not know much about fur! The jacket is gorgeous, in fabulous condition. The lining is monogrammed with my friend’s name.
        So, now I just need cold weather and a place to wear it!

  17. Sammy, found your website. Need some info on a coat my daughter-inlaw inherited. If I send you a picture by email is that possible? Thankssss.

  18. I have a new Long hair rare Fox coat to the waist by CLAUDE MONTANA. It’s Beautiful!!!
    Never been able to wear it because of warm climate where I live. It is valued at $30,000+ willing to take all kinds of offers
    [email protected]

    • LOVE Claude Montana!

  19. I, too , would not buy new but found this FABULOUS taupe above-the-knee leather coat striped with “dirty” blonde fur in a second hand shop where I live halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I paid about $65. Your post was very fascinating, but I am still not sure what I have got: fox, beaver or raccoon. Or a light-colored mink? Fur is whitish in the layer underneath. The top is a tiny bit bristly but it is still soft. On another note, other sites go on and on about how you have to have it professionally cleaned annually. I am sure there is no facility for this here, and since the item is already well used (but gorgeous), I want to care for it well. Suggestions about type of fur and care, people?

  20. I found this FABULOUS taupe above-the-knee leather coat striped with “dirty” blonde fur in a second hand shop where I live halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I paid about $65. Your post was very fascinating, but I am still not sure what I have got: fox, beaver or raccoon. Or a light-colored mink? Fur is whitish in the layer underneath. The top is a tiny bit bristly but it is still soft. On another note, other sites go on and on about how you have to have it professionally cleaned annually. I am sure there is no facility for this here, and since the item is already well used (but gorgeous), I want to care for it well. Suggestions about type of fur and care, people?

  21. hello i just found four chocolate brown mink with head and tail once used as a stole …scarf thingy . They are up for sale!

  22. Hi Sammy!

    Thanks for a great post!!

    Hoping you can offer some advice as I am still stumped :) I have a couple of old what I believe are mink stoles, but one has the usual looking mink tails (thiner, not overly bushy) and the other has super fat fluffy tails (almost into the size and fluff factor of a marten). But I am (and I have no idea why) convinced they are both mink … any idea?


  23. Hello Sammy,thank you for your most informative website.
    I have a twin Arctic Fox Stole that my Great Grandmother
    wore in 1930’s so I was told ,they are complete and have head and feet . May I send a photograph ,please ?
    Am in Cornwall,UK .Regards Alan.

  24. I was wondering if you could help me identify what type of fur my jacket is as well as several fur collars onn coats that I would like to sell. I have taken photos. Can you reply via my email address please?
    Thank you,

  25. Love your website . It’s very informative .My mother left us a fur designed by Maggy Rouff ( Paris ).We looked her up on Google & apparently she was an underappreciated but brilliant clothes designer . It is a mid length fur about 60 years old . To our untrained eyes it seems to be beaver
    it has a chevron design.It is light/medium brown.
    We’re wondering if our guess is correct & if we’re right
    would it have any value today in the resale market .

  26. How much is a natural white fox stole with head and tails worth?

  27. Hi!

    Please, please can you help me identify what fur my vintage stole is?! I’ve wanted a fur stole since being about 13 and finally at 27 have treated myself to one! It’s just really frustrating not knowing what fur it is and the assistant at the vintage shop didn’t know either.

    After reading your post I think it sounds like beaver although I’m not certain. It’s not mink or rabbit as I have mink and rabbit furs but if you could shed any light or look at a picture for me I would be so greatfull.

    The fur itself is dark brown, very snug and thick. It’s glossy too. Any help would be appreciated.



    • It sounds like Mouton. My mom gave one to my sister, my aunt and one to me one very lovely Christmas. We were dirt poor BUT my mom worked at Goodwill that year and she kept her eyes perked up all year. My sisters was a light brown, my aunt’s was a dark brown and mine was a really pretty shade of silvery gray. It was one of the best Christmas’s we ever had.
      I asked my mom what a Mouton was? (pronounced moo ton – ton rhymes with don) She said it was a lamb.

    • I agree with Trinka – it sounds like mouton, which is sheared, dyed and processed lambskin. Here in the UK it’s called (rather confusingly) ‘beaver lamb’ because it was intended to resemble sheared beaver,

  28. Hi. Thank you for putting this piece together. I was so pleased to find this on the Web and will be bookmarking your site for future reference. I especially appreciate the historical perspective and the pictures! However, I wish that you would add something to the beaver fur section about sheared beaver, similar to your sidebar on angora. Sheared beaver looks so different than long-hair beaver and that is worth noting. Thanks again!

  29. Since you consider yourself no more or less of an animal, would you wear human around your neck? This post has made me never want to promote your blog so thank you very much for the unsettling truth.

    • oh get over yourself- you probably eat meat, drink milk and use eggs- dont you think thats extortion too?…

      • After some “animal lovers” threw red paint on some ladies fur coats in Calif,(at some televised red carpet opening- late 70s?) it got raving, mixed reviews from across the nation. The red was used symbolically, for blood.
        Some SHARP detective documented, with pictures, most of the paint pouring perps. Several of them were pictured Wolfing down steaks, Wearing or purchasing leather coats, luggage, purses or shoes.
        I thot the best kicker of it all was — the picture of the one who Screamed the Loudest throwing the paint—
        She was filmed getting into a beautiful white Mercedes and driving away. The investigator had just filmed the sheer white interior, then backed away and filmed her return. The whole interior was SOLID white leather.

  30. Try researching “Persian lamb” for the curly black fur coat. It was popular in the 1950’s.

  31. Great information!
    I have two old (world war II) fur coats with the fur on the inside; wooden cylinder type buttons. They appear to be possibly military issue, but maybe not U.S. and they are in poor condition.
    I’d like to find out type of fur they are made from. Some is sheep skin, but some is a longer white fur (I don’t think it’s rabbit).
    Is there a place I can send a sample to see what the fur is?

  32. Discovered that my blonde $65 short coat with taupe leather (written about above) is indeed mink. Met an elderly furrier who said that this label, Flier Furs of Beverly Hills, was known to him. The man (Flier) passed away about 20 years ago and had produced and popularized many of these coats in the early to mid-1960’s, as a way of recycling mink coats whose pelts were either falling apart or in need of re-styling. Indeed, what appeared to be one or two rips between pelt and leather ( 3″ strips of course running vertically down the coat) became almost impossible to keep repairing once I began to wear it. Nevertheless, I keep sewing them up. It’s nice to know that I am indeed further recycling something that was recycled 50 years ago. I love to think of how the former owners enjoyed it as I do.

  33. A rabbit is not a rodent. It is a Lagomorph.

  34. I am trying to identify and sell a fur coat for a friend. Am having a devil of a job identifying it but it seems to be made of a number of small pelts (brown) so it may be Mink. (I do not want to cut into the lining, so can’t look at the back of the fur) It is well made, looks about 1950’s…? unsure. No label.
    The lining is brown and a distinguishing feature is the lining has a “bluebird” pattern all over it. I’ve tried to research this -as to maker and date- but can’t find anything. Does anyone here know which designer/manufacturer could have used this lining? (BLUEBIRDS) ??
    Thank you anyone who can point me in the right direction!

  35. Great site! Will bookmark it. I collect vintage fur coats, particularly beaver lamb (mouton).

  36. I see a lot of people saying that they wouldn’t buy a new fur coat but vintage is okay…I’m sorry but what is the difference exactly??!!! If you think fur is cruel why buy a vintage fur coat?! The animals died in exactly the same way as the “new” ones. I think it’s kind of hypocrite thing to say.If you love fur so much just say so!

    I love fur and i don’t mind having a “new” or an “vintage” one.

    Anyway this is great article

  37. Honey: For me, the vintage/new debate is not about perceived cruelty, it’s about style. I just prefer the style of vintage fur coats. If I saw a new fur coat whose style I liked (and which I could afford!) I’d certainly buy it.

  38. What is Musquash? and how to identify it? I have a light/mid brown vintage fur coat and I don’t think its mink – could it be Musquash?

  39. With all this above discussion how are China going to learn to stop skinning animals alive for fur when they know fur is liked by many women still just for fashion/glamour? These animals sufffer and China are very cruel, if the animal was killed humany but they are not. The fur looks better on the animal. As for myself I have never worn fur and never would. I eat free/range eggs, organic milk and organic poultry but would not wear a leather jacket has thats going too far for. Cattle are meant for food and as long as they have a natural good life before. I support the British farmer and to buy good quality from the farmer as the animal as had a good life. It will never stop many people eat meat and farmers have a business to run to make a life for themselves and many farmers love their cattle. I wear leather shoes because I damn well have it arounnd my gear/stick in the car so I cant contradict myself by saying I dont wear it. Compassion in animal farming is a must but as for fur and that many animals die a horrible death mostly being alive is barbaric and wicked to inflict this pain on our friends. China skin dogs and cats too and it makes me feel sick what these un/compassionate people do to animals. Just greed and money so if they know lots of women love their fur, how are they going to learn to stop this barbaric trade? Vintage fur too, those animals suffered years ago . No animal should suffer in the hands of humans, they should not feel pain and fear. Too many greedy, selfish people on this earth.

    • Mica,

      this topic is about recycling old furs, the animals died decades ago and it makes no sense to throw away perfectly usable fur. Fur is biodegradable, a new synthetic jacket is made from crude oil and takes 500 years to break down and isn’t as warm. How many years do you get out of a synthetic coat? They keep saying the oil is running out and the prices of it is climbing!

      As for how the animals died, do you really believe anyone in the business of killing animals is going to waste time, potentially damage the pelt and risk personal injury by skinning a live animal? The video you refer to was made by an animal rights group and the Chinese government has demanded they turn over all information so they can prosecute the ones that are in it. The animal rights group refuses to say who did it! If they really care, wouldn’t they want them jailed for this crime? Not if THEY made it themselves! Never blindly believe outrageous stories, research the topic and use logic.

      I like my vintage fur and will continue to wear it!

      • This is an old comment but oh well. There are rescue centers that will take fur coat donations to use for animal rehabilitation. People don’t seem to concerned with that.
        If you’re bringing up environmental issues, just remember that the chemicals in tanning the hides are extremely toxic pollutants. So yeah, I would rather wear synthetic materials than the carcass of a dead animal on my back.
        You sound like you don’t even research the topics and use logic, because there are numerous barbaric things that have been going on in China for years. not only animals, but humans. Why do you think governments are trying to crack down on counterfeit products? Because of the human rights issue. China tops the list for human trafficking. So yeah, if they can do all that, it wouldn’t suprise me if there would be instances of animals skinned alive.
        Look, none of us can live an environmentally perfect lifestyle. But when you are further promoting a garment (even vintage is promoting it) that comes from a being that is farmed just to be killed I 100% believe it’s wrong. And before you ask, no, I don’t eat meat or wear leather. By all means you can continue to wear your vintage fur, but we can still continue to call you out on it.

  40. I was given a black fur coat from a friend as a gift. She’s in her late 50’s and said it used to belong to her mom. There’s a tag inside below the collar that says the root store terre haute. I can find info on the store but not the furs they sold. It seems to be short haired, thick, sooooo soft, jet black, and about 4-5″ strips with a black silk liner that has what looks like maple leaf pattern on it. Can anyone tell me the age, type of fur, and perhaps value of this jacket/coat maybe?

  41. Animals in China are electrocuted then skinned for their fur. Disgusting and barbaric suffering. The fear these animals have when it id their turn dragged out of their cage. This is done so the fur is not marked. Disgusting and sickening trade!! And you people are discussing how you love your hand me downs vintage fur! Ifyou want to wear fur then buy the natural way an alpacca fur . These animals died a natural death so no need to waste their coat although the people that look after the animals are still upset when they pass. Alpaccas are not farmed here in the UK for their fur but used for trekking and prople love having an hour with them .

  42. Thanks for this wonderful article. I live in New Zealand and yesterday scored a fabulous fur coat which I now think may be mink. I have been trying to research it’s age but have come up empty. I don’t suppose any one knows anything about the Union Fur Co in Johannesburg, South Africa?

  43. Wow, incredible weblog layout! How lengthy have you been blogging for? you make blogging appear simple. The overall seem of one’s web site is superb, as nicely because the content material!

  44. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you have been utilizing? I’m encountering some small security problems with my newest web site and I’d prefer to find something much more safeguarded. Do you have any suggestions?

  45. I purchased a coat and am having difficultly identifying the maker tossed what kind of fur it may be. It is made in Vietnam. The label is M or W obbino. It is written scribbled. The coat is blond with a lot of light and dark pattern. Very curious. Thank you if you can help identify. It.

  46. I recently bought a beautiful and soft black beaver stole/cape, and was wondering if anyone recognizes the name “Roberts, Fall River, MA”. It is in excellent condition except for one rip in the seam (easy fix) and minimal staining. The lining has tree branches embroidered in it. I’m guessing the era is 1930s through 1950s, but it is hard to tell. My mom and I also both have mink stoles from her grandmothers on both sides, but the one I inherited is slightly too big, as my great-grandmother was a slightly larger person. The beaver fits much better. I love being able to have this form of material family history! I love your site–great job!

  47. GREAT ARTICLE! However, silly me am still a bit confused on what I have. I have four vintage furs that are unique. One is BonWit Teller and two are Davellin but one has no tag. Unfortunately, I don’t know what kind of furs they are! Where can I send pics to to get a confirmation? I hate to wear and someone ask what it is and I don’t know!
    (They were inherited.) Thank you SOO much!

  48. This is a great site and very well written descriptions! I can help anyone who has a fur that they are having a difficult time identifying. Please feel free to send pictures of the fur to nikki (at)

    • I found at the G.W. a beautiful stole. No head or tail as a decider so I’m guessing from your description that it is probably fox. The pelts seem to be full length but only about 6″ wide. The inner lining is apart and it has a couple of pockets inside that are coming apart. I really don’t want to wear it since I have no idea where it’s BEEN! Other than being apart from the lining that is still with it it’s in beautiful shape. Also I really would NEVER have any place to wear it to, so my purchasing it was purely and act of preservation and maybe some $$$ for repairing it to original state and selling for a profit. I’m not to good at pictures to send but if it would help let me know. Thanks

  49. I have what I believe to be a mink stole or wrap from the 30’s to 40’s. has three whole (heads and tails) linked together with tassels and a mouth minted clip on one head. I would be interested in selling it. Make is H. liebes. Please contact me back.

    Thank you.

    Matt Lowry

  50. I have a 1930 mahogany x-long shoulder stole mink in excellent condition,how do i find out its value? Thanks!


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