The coat is actually a jacket. It is black fur, very soft. The fur is not one of the common furs that coats are made of, and even though my mother told me what it is, I don't remember. Maybe beaver? It has an unusual feature that my mother told me my grandmother had asked the furrier for - there are snap along the underside of the sleeves so you can unsnap and have the sleeves loose, more like a cape.
I wore the coat a few times during Chicago winters, but as a jacket, it only kept part of me warm. Even more though, I did not feel comfortable wearing fur, even though this particular fur had been dead a long time. I will not berate anyone for choosing to wear fur, but much of the fur industry is not humane and I don't want to seem to support it. So the coat has been living in my closet for a long, long time.
What to do with it? I want to donate it to a group that will use it for animal welfare. A number of wildlife rehabilitation groups accept old furs to use in nurturing and comforting injured and orphaned animals. So I searched online for some place near me that takes old furs and found it's not that easy to give away a fur to an animal organization. I finally found a resale store, Buffalo Exchange, that has a yearly fur drive for Coats for Cubs. It's only from January to April, so the coat will have to hang out at my house for awhile longer. I like to think of my soft black fur comforting a young animal or maybe a family of youngsters.
It's a bit of my family history and a connection to my Grandmother, but I would rather see it being put to good use than just hanging in my closet. I have the stories, I can let the coat go.