Saga fox and Saga mink fur jackets, $5 each

Contemporary fur jackets and coats can be a great opportunity for you, but you have to learn a little about them and how to evaluate them when you see them. Take a little time to familiarize yourself with this area or profit potential!

I picked up the Saga mink jacket in this entry at a local estate sale. It looks sort of unusual because it's the 'corduroy' style that has the vertical striped pattern to the fur. What's funny is the fact that the lady holding the sale was willing to let this beauty go for only $5, and yet she was holding out for $50 for an old, frumpy mink stole that was obviously right out of the 1950's. Crispy, smelly and losing its hair, that old stole would look more at home at a caveman festival.

I've been making my yard sale rounds since way back before eBay was even a thought, and I vividly remember seeing those big, funky skins on proud display. Their sellers were often asking hundreds of dollars for them, under the mistaken impression that those old coats had retained more of their 'investor value' than they actually had. I have no doubt that many of those sellers 'stuck to their guns,' as they say, and just hauled their old treasures back into the house at the end of the sale, without really understanding why nobody bought them. Heck, it must've been the ignorant people who didn't know the real value of what they were looking at. Right?

I find fur coats and jackets to be one of the more confusing areas of this business, because I'm just not too good at making sense out of who would want them, or why. I'd like nothing more than to forget about these darned furs, but that would be in violation of the Auctionbandit code. After all, I do see furs on a regular basis, so doesn't it make sense that I should at least have some sort of strategy in place for what to do when I see them?

So... when it comes to furs, my first rule is that I obviously try to go for the dirt cheap steals, like $5 and $10, which really helps to minimize any risks.

Second, the coat should also be in really great shape, clean and soft, since few people want to wear a fur in lousy shape. When I see those nappy old moth-eaten fur coats at yard sales and estate sales, I always wonder who the heck would want to be seen wearing that in public? What could possibly be more distasteful and disgusting than wearing a nasty old fur coat with holes in it and the hair falling out?

It's interesting to note here that back in the days when furs were much more popular than they are today, it was common practice to take your fur to a dedicated storage facility, where it would be stored in climate-controlled conditions until you were ready to wear it again. These older furs that we encounter today were simply not intended to remain serviceable without certain storage considerations. The fact that so many of the older furs we see nowadays have spent decades in musty closets, overheated storage units and damp garages, their degradation is not hard to explain.

As for those older furs that are still in excellent condition, I prefer to stick with the full-length coats, simply because they seem to sell much better than shorter stoles and jackets.

Finally, I stay away from rabbit fur, which statistically won't be worth anything near what skins like ermine, mink, beaver and fox will bring. And there you have my formula. It's not very sophisticated by any means, but it's a pretty common sense approach that has saved me time and money in a business that's so full of vagaries and infinite variables.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind about these Saga furs is that you should be sure to inspect them very carefully for any imperfections. Remember, these Saga jackets are great profiles to keep in mind for the simple reason that there are so many of them out there. And the reason there are so many out there is that they're affordable. Although Saga does make some pricey garments, the ones you're statistically going to see will simply not be thousand-dollar items. Each one of the examples in this entry sold on eBay for around $150 - $200, which should tell you that any imperfections you find on one that you're considering buying will really start cutting into your potential profit. In other words, if a garment strays too far from perfect, it won't be worth buying and listing.

In the above photo of the fox coat, notice that there are a few small rust stains on the liner of this jacket. I had the choice of leaving them there and disclosing them in my auction description, or removing them before listing the jacket. Whenever I encounter a rust stain on a garment, I use a product I saw my mother use years ago, called 'Whink,' which comes in a small brown bottle and is great for getting rust stains out of fabric. I've never had it damage material, and since Whink is crystal clear, it doesn't impart any color or dye to the cloth. I simply wet a Q-tip with Whink, and the brown stains disappeared. Although this coat required several applications to completely remove the brown staining, the result is beautiful. After the stains were removed, there was one final step. In order to remove any 'spotting' that sometimes occurs when a shiny fabric like this gets wet in a very small area, I used a sponge to wet an area 10" to 12" out from the area that I cleaned with Whink.

So there you have it. I hope this Gallery entry has shed some light on the confusing area of fur garments. Always remember, now, if there's any confusion, always go cheap!

Photo of Saga Fox and Mink fur jackets