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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/158

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146
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The fur of the pine marten is nearly equal to that of the sable. Its color is a lustrous brown, and it is frequently tinted so as to resemble the real sable; and efforts are said to have been sometimes made to palm it upon buyers as the genuine Russian. That which is obtained in America, some 200,000 skins annually, which is somewhat better than the European, is usually called, by dealers, Hudson Bay sable. It is an excellent and valuable fur, very full and soft, and, like the Russian sable, is much used for muffs, capes, collars, boas, and other kinds of fancy furs. The fur of the beech or stone marten is much inferior to that of the sable or pine marten. It is of a yellowish brown, and, though often colored to represent pine marten or sable, the practised eye can easily distinguish it from them. The best specimens of the fur are obtained in Europe, where it is much used; but in this country, at the present time, it is not used at all. The skins of the fisher or pennant's marten, whose fur is quite valuable, are also exported. Less than 10,000 are caught yearly.

Fig. 5.
PSM V04 D158 Ermine.jpg
Ermine, or Stoat.

The mink is constantly found in almost every part of North America, some 250,000 being taken annually; yet, contrary to the general rule, it has been a very fashionable fur here for several years, for muffs, collars, etc. The color of the finest is chestnut-brown, glossed with black. The lighter colored is of less value, but it is often dyed so as to deceive the ignorant or unobserving. Dealers sometimes call it American sable. We occasionally hear of attempts to tame the mink, and raise it on a large scale in a minkery or suitable place of confinement. The present high price of the fur presents a strong inducement, but I do not know that there is any prospect of success.