Not wearing your fur anymore? Whether your garment is too small, out of fashion or simply taking up too much space in your closet, there are plenty of convenient ways to offload it, thanks to a gamut of professional fur reselling, recycling and donation services available online and off. So how do you go about “shedding” fur from your closet?
Assessing the Worth
First things first. The value or salability of a used fur depends considerably on its quality, how well it has been cared for and, of course, the type of skin. Many owners have an unrealistic expectation of their used fur’s value. Like virtually every other article of clothing (certain brand-name jewelry excepted), the moment you take a fur home, depreciation kicks in, and its value begins to diminish. Fur pelts also dry out over time, so the longer a coat has been sitting in your closet, the less valuable it has potentially become.
If you plan to sell the coat yourself, obtaining an appraisal is highly recommended: Determining the value of a garment really requires an inspection by a fur appraiser to determine its current market value. Simply locate a professional furrier (either in your local area or online) to do this on your behalf. If you find one locally, he or she may even sell your coat for you. Online fur consignment or reselling services, however, will probably insist on performing their own appraisal.
Sell It Yourself
The ubiquitous online auction site, eBay, offers a healthy secondary market for fur coats; it even has a guide outlining everything you’ll need to know to successfully “eBay” your garment. However, this selling route takes time and commitment on the seller’s part.
First, you need to identify all of your coat’s attributes (the type of fur, measurements, lining fabric, embroidery, etc.) and have a realistic idea of your coat’s current worth. How have other eBay sellers priced similar garments? If you genuinely want to sell, yours will need to price competitively to stand out from the fur crowd. Good quality pictures and plenty of them are a must. Even if you pass on shipping costs to the buyer (as many eBay sellers do), you'll also have the responsibility of packaging, insuring, and sending the garment once it sells.
Have Someone Else Sell It
Designer-oriented consignment and vintage clothing stores often deal in used (or "estate," as they prefer to say) furs. Specialist fur resellers and consignment platforms are in abundance online, too. Though you have to split the proceeds with them, they do take all of the hassles out of selling your garment. Some will insist on a physical assessment of your coat before providing a listing price, while others like BuyMyFur will provide an estimate via email. If you’re happy with the quote, simply ship your fur to them, after which they’ll market and sell your garment on your behalf. Then, all you have to do wait is for your check in the mail.
Another site with a unique approach is Ca$hForFurCoat$. Dedicated to recycling furs, they'll pay “fair market value” in exchange for your used garment, which they will craft into other creations, such as teddy bears and pillows. An inspection is required by their professional furrier to determine a coat's condition and to offer a price. And they’ll even reimburse the shipping cost of your garment to their warehouse should you agree to sell it to them.
If you’re in a position to be generous (or fancy giving back to nature), the annual fur drive Coats for Cubs encourages the donation of fur items to assist the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned animals across the U.S. The initiative is run by the used-clothing retailer Buffalo Exchange. During a specified annual drive period, usually from January through April, you can simply drop off unwanted furs at any of its stores. Donated furs are sent to wildlife rehabilitation centers where they’re used as bedding, providing a more natural, nurturing environment for recovering creatures.
Donations are tax-deductible, but since Buffalo Exchange is unable to provide receipts, claiming a deduction over $500 (the standard for noncash items) for the garment could be tricky, should the IRS start scrutinizing. If your coat's worth four figures, you could donate it to a local thrift store or charity. Just be sure to get a receipt and keep that appraisal handy, as proof of your charitable contribution.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re ready to upgrade to a more fashionable fur style, simply want more space in your closet or no longer feel comfortable owning fur, there’s an internet full of services ready to sell, recycle or accept your fur for you. Just remember – the longer you leave it hanging in your closet, the more it will deteriorate in quality and depreciate in value, so the sooner you act the better.