Originally Posted by Journeyman
There's the Russian reindeer
leather that was recovered from the sunken Danish brigantine, the Metta Catherina. The supply of that is limited, it is expensive, and is only available (as far as I am aware) as MTO, rather than RTW, at least in regard to shoes and luggage.
When the wreck of the "Metta Catherina" was discovered in 1973, the Duchy of Cornwall gave maybe a dozen of leather-working firms access to the hides. It is understandable, that in the intervening 40 years a number of those original firms are no longer in business.
One of them is the leather worker Athene English
http://www.atheneenglish.com/2010/03/29/200-year-old-russian-reindeer-leather/New & Lingwood
(possibly through the acquisition of bespoke shoemaker Poulsen Skone), was another one of those original firms and have produced bespoke and ready-to-wear shoes in the material ever since. At one time they stocked RTW shoes (made by C&J) in the material; it is possible, that in recent years they have been only available as made-to-order.
firm (founded in 1993) through it's founders George Glasgow and John Carnera (former N&L employees) has had access to the material right from the start and has managed to become the distributor of the material. I believe, all other firms have to get it now through Cleverley.
Originally Posted by chogall
Supply is limited but never seems to run out. Sounds like those peak oil theory if you ask me.
It's rather like the loaves and the fishes ("feeding the multitude") in the bible or the old Volkswagen advertising: it goes on.....and on.....and one.
Apparently there are a great number of hides still inside the wreck, but the original divers, due to age, have decided not to dive any longer. But then, who knows, in a few years time, there might be another generation of divers who bring up the goodies out of the Plymouth sound mud.