Vol. I JANUARY, 1921 No. 4
[Illustration: _The Beaver_
_A Journal of Progress_]
[Illustration: CAMPING OUT AT 40 deg. BELOW
_A Hudson's Bay Company's Post Inspector camping for the night near Great Slave Lake. Defying the snows, these hardy men "mush" with dog teams from Fort to Fort across the vast silent spaces of the great North, keeping H.B.C. communications open and taking account of furs traded at each post of the district._]
[Illustration: _Devoted to The Interests of Those Who Serve The Hudson's Bay Company_]
Bidding for World's Fine Furs at London Auction Sales
_Four Weeks' Annual Selling of Pelts Draws Cosmopolitan Crowd of Buyers from All Quarters of the Globe--H.B.C. Auction of Chief Interest._
By J. D. J. FORBES (_London Fur Warehouse_)
If a stranger were to ask where the fur quarter in the City of London is situated, perhaps the simplest answer would be to tell him to make for the Guildhall, and then to walk due south towards the River Thames. He would proceed along King Street (which is continued as Queen Street after Cheapside is passed) and in less than five minutes would be at his destination. What the Rue d'Aboukir is to Paris and the Bruehl to Leipzig, Queen Street is to London. It stands for the heart and centre of the London fur trade. Except for the Hudson's Bay Company's warehouse, which stands apart, all the most important fur merchants and commission houses are located within a stone's throw of the College Hill Public Saleroom--the entrance to which is in Queen Street--where the world's fur produce is periodically put up for auction.
_World's Buyers Assemble in Saleroom_
In the saleroom itself there is little to suggest a fur market; no skins or pelts are to be seen; no samples are displayed to catch the eye of possible buyers; there is no odour of furs or naphthalene. The saleroom reminds one of a large classroom with its rows of desks and forms facing a narrow rostrum whereon the selling broker and his assistants sit. Here three times a year assemble fur buyers from all over the world. The typically English features of the brokers contrast strangely with the faces of the cosmopolitan crowd which throngs the saleroom benches; and when in the intervals of selling a buzz of conversation is heard, it seems incredible that one is in the heart of London and not in some Levantine port.
_Selections Are Made From Catalogs_
Each buyer brings to the saleroom his catalogues, containing valuations and descriptions of the pelts he has inspected at the various fur warehouses. For the most part, only a very small proportion of the lots catalogued are seen by the prospective buyer; these are "show" lots and represent the bulk, which could not be properly examined in the short time at his disposal. There are usually about twenty catalogues--some of which contain only a few hundred lots but most of which run into thousands of lots--and as the fur collections are distributed amongst a dozen different wharves and warehouses, where the skins are lotted and placed "on show," only a few days before the sales takes place, it will be appreciated that the thorough-going dealer who wishes to acquaint himself with the whole collection of furs on the market has plenty to do!