Mostly Trapping

Fur Harvesters prepare for August Auction
Aug 13, 2020 15:33 ET

(Reprinted from above link)

Original Title: Fur Harvesters prepare for sale

“Huge quantities” of wild fur will be going on the auction block in North Bay at the end of this month.

Mark Downey, CEO of Fur Harvesters Auction, said Wednesday only Canadian brokers are expected at the sale, bidding on lots for themselves and for foreign buyers.

“Everyone knows everyone” in the fur business, Downey says, making it easy to set up arrangements for the auction.

One of the most important things for buyers, he says, is being able to actually get in and examine the furs on offer. It was one of the reasons a sale earlier this year was not able to reach expectations. In May, Downey said 2020 was “poised to be a pretty good year,” before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the North Bay-based operation to change the way it does business, at least on a temporary basis.

“We’re in much better shape this time,” he says, and he is “pretty optimistic” that some of the big-ticket items like fancy sables and cats will sell.

Sales at the March auction were about $3 million.

Many of the European and Asian buyers are asking for photos and descriptions of the lots to be forwarded so they can direct their brokers.

Adding to the mix is the filing for bankruptcy protection in November by the North American Fur Auction, leaving Fur Harvesters Auction Inc. as the only wild fur auction on the continent.

That filing, Downey said earlier this year, meant the local operation “got twice as big overnight.”

The biggest markets for wild North American fur are China, Russia and Korea.

At the online auction, conducted in late March and early April, even Canadian brokers were unable to attend in person.

The trappers themselves are still able to have their furs delivered to the Bond Street facility.

Few trappers now, he says, rely totally on fur sales for their livelihood. For most, it is a supplement to their income.

“They know we are doing our best,” Downey says. “The trappers are very supportive.”

Those involved in the industry, he says, are “the best people in the world.

“The brokers know we are doing the best we can in a bad situation.”

Furs on offer range from raccoon to grizzly bear and include beaver, wild mink, sable, red fox, wolf and coyote. Quantities will be updated on the organization’s website.

Furs will be shown Aug. 27 to 29, with the sale itself Aug. 30 and 31.

On the web: www.furharvesters.com/