International Fur Auction Sojuzpushnina

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"Sojuzpushnina" has been in business since the 1930s. Russian furs on the international market have always been extremely popular. The success of the First and the Second auctions of Russian furs in Leipzig conducted by The Trading house of fur-goods Ltd. in 1921-1922 confirmed this.

During the early years of Soviet power cooperative and joint-stock companies were engaged in the export of Russian furs. Thanks to them foreign currency began to come into the USSR and the demand for Russian furs increased more and more. In 1926 the matter of creating a private fur auction was widely discussed on the pages of soviet publications. Leningrad, Vladivostok and Archangelsk were put forward as possible locations for conducting the auction. However various problems prevented the resolution of this matter; the main problem being that the furs export business was in the hands of a great many companies that did not coordinate their activity. Foreign clientele hadn"t been studied well enough and necessary skilled personnel were lacking.

For regulating and centralizing the operations on the furs export the state founded The All-Union furs syndicate in January 1930, and later, in October 24, 1931, the external economic association (EEA) "Sojuzpushnina" that monopolized the trade of Russian furs on the world market.

The first auction was organized in March 1931 in Leningrad. 72 representatives of 67 foreign firms from 12 countries attended the auction. At this auction 95% of the furs displayed for realization were sold at prices on average 6-8% higher than those of the London auction that had taken place in February the same year. The trade furs went up for sale in the first auctions - the sable, wolf, raccoon, marten, lynx, and marmot. The caged furs share was still just 3% - the first fur-farms were only beginning to appear at this time.

From 1932, fur auctions in Leningrad began to be conducted twice a year - in March and August, and from 1935 - in March and June. In November 1935 .Soyuzpushnina. actively began export-import operations not only with raw fur materials but also with dressed furs and ready-made garments. The first consumers of the Russian furs at the auction were Solomon (France), Shackman (Great Britain), Torreck and Hollander (Germany), Samaletdin (Sweden, Finland), Stanford (Great Britain), Vigen (Sweden) and others. All western fur-retailers began to follow the results of the Leningrad auction closely since these auctions gained sufficient importance on the world market and actively began to influence the process of price formation in the area of fur-trading.

The 12th fur-auction in Leningrad was to become a record-breaking one in comparison with the other pre-war auctions. 189 representatives of 163 firms from 15 countries attended the auction. At the 12th auction sales it was not only the main merchants, brokers and commission-agents who participated but also manufacturers and owners of various department stores. Something new happened at the 12th auction - for the first time sales were conducted in English instead of German, which had been used up until this time.

Pre-war auctions were conducted in the various social-historical buildings of the city. Representatives of foreign firms examined and bought soviet furs in the Russian museum, in the building of the former stock exchange, in the halls of the Academy of Arts, in the .Astoria. and .Europeiskaya. hotels and in other places. And in 1938-1939 a special building was constructed for conducting auctions - it was called The Palace of Furs.

In May 1941 "Sojuzpushnina" EEA was established as Fur-Association that included the Moscow furs cold store, Bukhara and Charjow astrakhan plants, fur-stores in Lubertsi, Vologda, Harkov, Rostov, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk and Vladivostok.

With the approach of The Great Patriotic war .Sojuzpushnina. was moved from Leningrad to Novosibirsk where it continued to work on the preparation of goods for export. 25 employees of the association were left in Leningrad to maintain The Palace of Furs. But even during the war years the Association continued its activity and delivered about 40% of its takings to the state treasury. "Sojuzpushnina" was actively engaged in the realization of fur-goods abroad, but it is true that the single main consumer of furs between 1941 and 1945 was one country - the U.S.A.

The first post-war Leningrad fur-auction took place in June 1947. In spite of the large interval in auction activity the main customers were very active and over 80% of fur-goods displayed were sold at the sales.

The 31st auction was the most sizeable among the Leningrad auctions of the post-war period (June 1960) and 198 people took part in it - trade links between "Sojuzpushnina" and foreign customers continued to develop successfully.

In the 60"s-80"s "Sojuzpushnina" was confidently holding a leading position on the world fur market, and Leningrad fur-auctions drew hundreds of customers from all over the world. The 72nd International fur-auction in January 1976 became the biggest event in the International fur-trade. It was unrivalled in its range of furs and quantity of participants: over 2,2 million pelts of different kinds were displayed and sold. Export operations of the Association developed not only due to traders but also due to the increased production of a new branch of farming - fur-farming (the mink, Arctic fox, fox, caged sable) that was created with the direct participation of .Soyuzpushina. EEA. At this time the annual volume of sales at auction reached 150 million dollars.

In January 1989 the government created a larger "Novexport" EEA that included "Sojuzpushnina", "Exportlen", "Novexport", and "Vneshposyltorg". But, following in the post-war years, "Sojuzpushnina" again restored its independence as a unitary state enterprise (USE): "Sojuzpushnina" USE.

In May 16, 1999 .Soyuzpushina. USE was transformed into the open joint-stock association .Sojuzpushnina EEA., and part of the state package of .Sojuzpushnina. shares was sold. In November 13, 2003 the joint-stock association "Sojuzpushnina EEA" was completely privatized.

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