Furs are definitely some of the most valuable items in a luxury wardrobe. In order to figure out the monetary value of a vintage fur coat, it must be appraised. During this process, different aspects of a fur garment are examined and tallied in order to determine actual and future resale value. An appraiser may also advise the owner about repairs or restyling, as well as any tips for longer garment life.
Realize that furs lose a good amount of value over time, and that a vintage piece probably has more value as a family heirloom than as a luxury item.
Decide what you want the final outcome to be. You may want a cash payment or a newly styled coat. Depending on what you're looking for, a furrier will adjust the appraisal accordingly. In other words, you'll hear a higher worth for a potential restyling than for a cash deal. Consider donating the fur to charity or trading it in for a new piece rather than selling it outright. The trade-in value, value as a tax donation or the appraised value is generally higher than resale value.
After examining all options, call up a fur store and make an appointment for an appraisal. These services cost between $25 and $50, but a dealer may waive the price for exchanges. When discussing the piece, be honest about its history. Information on wear, storage and age greatly affect the value, and appraisers frown on misinformation.
Alternatively, ship your coat to the appraiser. Contact them first. They'll ask a series of questions about the coat. If the answers are right, they'll request that the piece be shipped out for physical inspection. Since customer information is notoriously wrong, most appraisers resist giving preliminary numbers over the phone or internet.
Get a second opinion in order to know the truest valuation. One shop may price more conservatively than another, so it pays to go to more than one expert.
Gigi Starr is a freelance fashion writer. She previously served as the blog editor for a major online fashion blog and has more than a decade of backstage experience in the beauty and high fashion industries. She has worked for businesses like an internationally renowned theatrical touring company and events such as the Mercedes-Benz N.Y.C. Fashion Week.