The mission of North American Fur Auctions is to be the premium seller and cost effective consignor service provider of the highest quality and broadest selection of fur pelts sold around the world.
NAFA is the world’s oldest fur auction house, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Our roots trace back to 1670, to the historic Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), which was created to market the finest furs from North America to the world. From the earliest days, the marketing of furs was done in a competitive environment, originally by a sealed bid and subsequently at public auction, in which the price level for each fur type was determined by supply and demand. The HBC operated out of London, England; Montreal, New York and Toronto from 1670 to 1992, after which time it became North American Fur Auctions.
Today, NAFA continues these age-old traditions, and holds competitive public auctions three to four times per year as the principal method of selling the finest collection of mink and the world’s most diverse collection wild fur to the international market.
The history of the fur trade is inseparable from the history of Canada and the United States. Explorers quickly recognized the economic advantages of the export of fur pelts to Europe and began the trade that would define the location of major cities in both countries, first as fur trading posts and much later as modern metropolises.
The Hudson’s Bay Company, the oldest incorporated company in North America, received its Charter in 1670 from King Charles II, although trading had actually begun decades earlier with the expeditions of Jacques Cartier and Henry Hudson. Fur auctions where held in it’s London facilities, providing the worlds highest quality furs from North America to the European fashion trade, including clothing and felt for popular top hats, at the time.
After years of competing with the NorthWest Company for furs from North America, that included armed conflict, the two companies merged, forming a virtual monopoly.
In an effort to fill in the blank sections on their maps, the Hudson’s Bay Company was constantly exploring and establishing local fur trading posts. They quickly became one of the biggest landowners in the world. The newly formed government of Canada was lucky to be able to buy back a big piece of the pie for 300,000 pounds in 1868. A great buy when you consider the state of Alaska was bought from the Russians for almost $7 million dollars only ten years later.
After 1925, the Hudson’s Bay Company began to segment its operations into departments: Fur Trade, Land, Wholesale Distribution, Retail Stores, Natural Resources, Distilleries and others. In the 1930’s the Fur Trade department emphasized the rebuilding of trading posts in the North and expansion of transportation facilities – all in an effort to ease the movement of furs from the wilderness to the auction room.
As a result of an expanded consumer market in North America, in 1949 the Hudson’s Bay Company opened its first Canadian fur auction operation in Montreal. This operation served as a sales outlet for the Canadian fur ranching community and independent consignors of wild fur, as well as for fur collections purchased by HBC through its Northern Stores and raw fur divisions.
By 1970, the Hudson’s Bay Company continued to maintain auction houses in its traditional locations of London (England), Montreal and New York to service the traditional fur trade centers.
In 1975, the Company moved into expanded quarters in Pointe Claire, Quebec.
In October 1978, Hudson’s Bay Company acquired the Dominion/Soudack Fur Auction Sales of Winnipeg and its subsidiary, Edmonton Fur Auction Sales. The company contributed Canada’s largest collection of wild fur to the Hudson’s Bay Company offerings.
In 1981 the Hudson’s Bay Company further expanded and decided to relocate from Montreal to Toronto, Ontario because the Toronto marketplace offered better accessibility to the international fur trade, as well as the supplier community.
Changes in corporate direction in the late 1980’s resulted in a number of decisions which saw HBC selling off many of its assets including: the distillery, mining, real estate and eventually the fur division. As a result, in February 1987, the Hudson’s Bay Company sold the Canadian fur auction business to the Canadian Fur Division management group and its supporting fur producer groups, Canada Mink Breeders Association (CMBA) and Canada Fox Breeders Association (CFBA). The new company was named Hudson’s Bay Fur Sales Canada Inc. and continued the 300-year tradition of Hudson’s Bay in the fur trade.
In June 1989, the company purchased all of the assets and ongoing business activities of Hudson’s Bay New York Inc., the one fur business not sold by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1986/87. (Hudson’s Bay sold its London fur auction in 1986 and its Northern Store in 1987). This U.S. based business operated out of the New York area under the name Hudson’s Bay Fur Sales New York Inc.
In the Spring of 1992, the Company changed its name to North American Fur Producers Marketing Inc. in Canada and North American Fur Producers Marketing (New York) Inc. in the U.S. The auction activities of the two companies were combined and began operating under the updated trade and legal name of “North American Fur Auctions Inc.”.
Furthermore, with the purchase of the New York auction, the American Mink Council (AMC), the mink breeder organization in the U.S.A which supported the auction, became partners with CMBA and CFBA in the ownership of the business in October 1992.
On May 2, 2000, exactly 330 years after the issuing of the Charter of Incorporation for the original Hudson’s Bay Company, the NAFA Wild Fur Shippers Council (WFSC), representing the ownership interests of Canadian and American trappers, completed the circle with the purchase of shares in NAFA.
In January 2007, these four producer groups, the CMBA, CFBA, AMC and WFSC, purchased the remaining shares of the business and became 100% owners of NAFA.
Studio NAFA established. The first fur design center of its kind in North America.
In 2010, NAFA Polska was established in Goleniów, Poland.
In 2015, the European Fur Farmers Council (EFFC) was established.
Today, NAFA continues operations from its head office and Auction House in Toronto, with receiving, sorting and office facilities in Stoughton, Wisconsin and Goleniów, Poland.
NAFA is led by an executive management team with many years of fur industry experience and leadership.NAFA is an equal opportunity employer committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.
NAFA is wholly owned by North American Fur Producers Inc. (NAFPI), which represents the following member associations:
- American Mink Council (AMC)
- Canada Mink Breeders Association (CMBA)
- Wild Fur Shippers Council (WFSC)
- Canada Fox Breeders Association
These organizations, together with the European Fur Farmers Council (EFFC), play a valuable and important role on the Company’s Board of Directors where they provide NAFA with a global perspective on the fur industry.
NAFA’s corporate head office and auction facility is located in Toronto, Ontario Canada. NAFA’s U.S. head office, grading facility and pelt processing operation is located in Stoughton, Wisconsin. NAFA also has a state-of-the art grading facility in Poland and a European mink representative office in the Netherlands.
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