Thursday, February 04, 2010


Well, friends, I've found out what was in the contents of the first box and have a picture to prove it for you: there were five brown furs, nicely tanned, and another jet black one, as well as an assortment of little pieces of black fur tied together to keep them safe.

Each skin is about 40 cm long and about 20 cm wide and none are any the worse for wear — considering they may have been packed seventy or eighty years ago — and are exceptionally smooth and fine.

This was the (unknown to me at the time) contents of the first empty box I found in the scullery that was full of nothing but old newspapers. Sarah had originally found the box, taken the furs, and put the box and its contents out for garbage.

But what kind of fur are they? Look at them; they're beautiful! Becky and Claire reckoned they are rabbit but I vote against it for several reasons:

1. They are (to my way of thinking) a little too small for rabbit.

2. They are wonderfully fine and luxuriant.

3. What would make rabbit such a prize that someone would want to carefully tuck them away like this?

4. The black one has a small leather tag tied to it reading "1129" which I take to be a batch number from a tannery.

5. They've all been well tanned, which is a costly affair for mere rabbit.

6. The skin is still supple and clean with no smell or dirt. They've been well prepared.

7. The assortment of black scraps would also seem to rule out rabbit to me.

So what could they be? What kind of animals fit this kind of description that people were using as furs this long ago?

Answers on a postcard, please!


  1. This is weird and wonderful! They look bigger than rabbit to me.

    Daddy told Becky and me it might be cat(that was another of his implicite attacks against our dear Gratt which he calls the Beast)but we refused to believe it.

  2. I reckon they're rabbit skins :

    1) They're the right size
    2) They're shiny and silky like (some) rabbit skins
    3) Rabbit skins used to be very common : everyone raised them in the country side, and they would get picked up every now and then by a tanner who would then make stuff out of them
    4) The skin is very fine and reminds me of rabbit
    5) What are the alternatives, considering the size? Cat? Mink? Ragondin? Doesn't sound too likely...

    So I vote for rabbit! :)


  3. I'm with Roo...except I don't know what a Ragondin is...ha ha. I shudder to think it might be a cat. That would just be sick. Why would they go to all the trouble and expense of tanning them, then not do anything with them (i.e. put them on collars, etc.)? Do you think the dear soul met an untimely demise before she was able to wear her precious furs? They aren't fox, are they? I think they would be bigger if they were...

    Waiting with baited breath for the next installment....

  4. I don't think that I have ever head of a black fox so I would guess rabbit to and because of the size what else could it be? It would be interesting to find out what others might think eh?