Coat, Women's, Fur seal; Unknown maker; 1860-1900; RI.W2018.3625


Coat, Women's, Fur seal

About this object

A black hip length, seal fur coat. The coat is lined with aubergine silk and has two wood look buttons which fasten into elastic loops. It was donated to the museum by descendants of Mr Arnold.

The donor shared his family's narrative of the coat as follows: In the second half of the nineteenth-century, a Mr Arnold killed a seal in the New River (Oreti river) estuary and had it made into two coats. This is one was donated to us and the second coat to the Otautau Museum.

The first Europeans to settle in New Zealand in the late eighteenth-century were sealers. Fur seal hats, coats and leather for shoes quickly became extremely popular in Britain and in one year a sealing gang collected 4,500 sealskins. By the 1830s, fur seal numbers had plummeted so dramatically that the trade was no longer profitable and sealers sought work in other industries. In 1875, the New Zealand Government confined seal hunting to the winter. After 1894, only three open-seasons took place in 1914, 1915 and 1946. Today, it is illegal to kill seals in New Zealand.


Unknown maker

Maker Role


Date Made


Place Made

Oceania, New Zealand, South Island, Southland

Medium and Materials

organic, animal, skin, mammal skin, fur seal
organic, vegetal, plant extract, latex, rubber, elastic
organic, vegetal, wood
organic, animal, animal product, processed materials, silk

Inscription and Marks

Has a white collection number tab sewn into the lower left inseam: 'W2018.3625'


Using Australian Dress Register Measurements:
Chest: 1080 mm
Waist: 1080 mm
Hem circumference: not applicable
Cuff: 1120 mm
Front neck to hem: 690 mm
Back neck to hem: 790 mm
Sleeve length: 615 mm
Neck to sleeve: 140 mm
Across back: 430 mm
Underarm to underarm (at back): 530 mm

Subject and Association Keywords

Clothing and Accessories

Subject and Association Keywords

Animals (fauna)

Object Type


Object number



Attribution - Non-commercial (cc) Attribution - Non-commercial (cc)

This object is from