Savanna Eike and her daughter Emberlyn Eike, and Kristi Rubio try on fur coats and wraps at Casey’s fur pop-up at the Red Dragon on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023. Photo by Kinsey Brown for The Cordova Times

Cordova shoppers were in for a treat this week when local furrier Mark Casey opened a pop-up event to sell vintage and pre-owned furs. The event was held at the historical Red Dragon reading room building from 4-6 p.m. on Dec. 15 and ran into the week. 

Casey’s collection of fur goods and various other vintage items were laid out on the tables and couches inside the Red Dragon for shoppers to peruse. Several clothing racks featured special pieces such as full-length coats made of harbor seal, fox, and fur seal.  

This event was the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic that Casey has opened his collection to the public for purchase. In the past, he had sold furs at the Holiday Bazaar and the Saturday Market.  

Casey began collecting and selling furs about ten years ago as a result of winter boredom. He says that, in combination with knowledge he had from trapping as a child, he quickly developed a hobby. Casey has a passion for the history imbued within his collection and took the time to share with visitors the parts of each piece that are unique. He says that collecting the furs and vintage goods has been a hobby of his even more so than a small business.  

“It’s an obsession really,” he said. “I am intrigued by the cultural anthropology and historical meaning of it all.”  

With the holidays around the corner and snow falling steadily, Casey says conditions were right to start sharing the collection once again. With the help of partner Debra Adams, he said he made many successful sales in the first two days alone. Casey was open to bargaining and several shoppers walked away with deals in exchange for locally caught fish.  


Casey says some of his favorite pieces are the fur seal coats made from animals found in the Aleutian Islands. Many of these pelts were harvested just after World War II and fabricated into luxury goods at premiere fashion houses around the world, he said. Even though the label in the silk lining of a finished coat may sport such designer names as Christian Dior or Saks, the original branded mark on the pelt showing its Alaskan origin can be found, a secret that can be revealed by lifting the lining.  

He says that he is happy that he can help revive an appreciation for what he considers to be quality, lasting items made of natural materials even if it’s just in Cordova. Casey says he’s also happy that some vintage styles are making a comeback in town thanks to a few key trendsetters.  

“Mary (Babic) bought one of the parkas from me a few years ago and now I see more people wearing them in town,” he said. “When I opened this yesterday, those styles were the first to sell out.” 

According to Casey he purchases the furs almost exclusively online, and he prefers to buy vintage to avoid knock-offs of lower quality. With an eye for distinct cuts and special pelts, he often finds vintage pieces online that he feels the seller may not appreciate in the same way that an Alaskan would.  

“What was in fashion then is not so much anymore,” he said, “People don’t realize what they have, but folks here really dig it.”  

Casey says that online prices are reasonable and oftentimes come from locations where the demand for fur is at an all-time low. According to Business Insider for example, production of mink fur has plummeted by 40% since the 1990s. California passed a ban on the sale of new fur products effective this year and entire countries have banned the trade outright — including Belgium, Germany, and Ireland, with the Netherlands and France planning to follow suit by the end of 2024.  

Whatever global trends are occurring, however, many Cordovans still appreciate the use and quality of real fur.  

Catherine Herschleb was among the shoppers during last Saturday’s operating hours. She left with an armful of different items, among them a pair of beaded leather mittens, a vintage Filson brand sweater, and a silver fox stole.  

“I think furs bring so much warmth into the home. It’s a wonderful luxury that we can enjoy here in Cordova,” she said. “These feel like sturdy, lifetime pieces.”