V. The Commerce in Raw Furs
THE raw furs of America are mostly collected by large companies having elaborate systems for gathering the skins from the trappeis. The chief operators in Canada are the Hudson's Bay Co. and Revillon Fi fires, and, in Labrador, the Harmony Co. During the past ten years a change has been taking place in marketing and many fws, particularly the more valuable ones, are consigned direct to Lon-don or to American fur houses. In the Old World, furs are collected at fairs at the following places:
TowN TIME OF FAIR
Irbit, Siberia February
Leipzig, Germany Easter
Nijni-Novgorod, Russia August
Ishim, Siberia December
Many of the skins, particularly those of finer quality, are ultimately offered at the London sales where the majority of the world's fine furs are sold. In recent years, however, Germany and the United States have been purchasing a larger proportion.
The total sales in London are generally utilized in estimat-Quantities ing the quantities of furs at the world's disposal. Of the of Skins undressed skins not usually sold at London sales, there are the Persian lambs, broadtails and karakules, of which Thorer estimates that 2,900,000 come to Leipzig alone. A United States consular report of 1911 estimated that Russia produces 4,525,000 squirrels, whose raw pelts are valued at $2,000,000. Of squirrel tails, Russia, in 1911, produced twenty-one tons, valued at $5.50 per pound. Owing to the growing popularity of muskrat or `Hudson Bay seal', the use of this skin has increased enormously and the sales now amount to over 9,000,000 annually, London selling 6,000,000, Leipzig, 1,000,000 and America retaining 2,000,000. Two hundred thousand ermine pelts, valued at $350,000, are sold annually in Russia. About 83,000,000 rabbit skins are imported into Great Britain annually, while immense quantities of skins are used in the felting industry in Australia.
Leipzig, Germany, is the most important city for the Centres of dressing and manufacture of furs. Its raw supplies are the Fur Trade drawn from all parts of the world but particularly from
London and Moscow storehouses and the Nijni-Novgorod Fair. Moscow is the largest storehouse for Russian and Asiatic furs, while New York, St. Louis and Montreal are important American centres which are rapidly increasing their facilities for fur-dressing and fur-dyeing. London is the largest selling centre and is still of great importance in the dressing, dyeing and manufacturing of furs.