The 1786 Russian Leather is leather that has been recovered from the bottom of Plymouth Bay from the wreck of the Metta Catherina, which sunk during a storm in 1786. This leather was tanned in the 1700's in Russia using a tanning process that has been lost to history. The leather is not necessarily reindeer, the hides are both reindeer and calf leather. This leather is distinguished by it's unique birch smell, which is still very present even after 230 years, and is cross-hatch grained. The hides were recovered from the ship starting in 1973 until 2011/2012 when the salvager retired. The last bundles recovered were all secured by G. Cleverley in London, and for my money they are currently the only ones with the authentic stuff. The modern Russian leather is usually calf leather embossed to resemble to original Russian Leather.
Wow thanks for such a detailed answer!
I did, however, see on Stefano Bemer's IG account that they had some, embossed with 1786. Would that make it original?