World War I had unexpected effects on the fur market, not least because of… the invention of the submarine?!
“American buyers and American furs no longer play the parts they formerly did in England. The submarine is one of the chief reasons. It has caused a scarcity of ocean freight space and a big jump in war risk insurance on cargoes.”
Another factor was the plummeting number of materials (read: animals) brought into the U.S. from other nations.
“Another way in which the war has affected the fur situation has been to cut down the supplies of skins received from other countries… However, as a result of depleted supplies, prices have advanced sharply, particularly on skins of animals not native of this country…
“It has been ably aided by Fashion, which is figuratively crying for furs and still more furs. Proof that the women of the country are responding to the cry is seen in the fact that, despite the higher prices, the fur trade as a whole is enjoying one of the best seasons it has ever had.”
Enter America as Chief Fur Trader: Foreign Countries Formerly Ran the Business of Selling Pelts, but New York and St. Louis Are Now the Leading Markets
From Sunday, September 30, 1917