In light of the winter weather, I’ll highlight one of The History Center’s more unusual artifacts this month: a wombat coat.
The popularity of wombat coats rose at the beginning of the 20th century and reached peak popularity in the 1920s.
The coats were made from the fur of an Australian marsupial that’s about the size of a pig.
They were warm and less expensive than a mink or even a raccoon coat, selling for $22 to $35 in 1904.
By 1920, Killian’s Department Store in Cedar Rapids was selling wombat coats, much like the one in our collection, for $175 to $245. That’s equivalent to about $3,000 in today’s dollars.
• Jami Roskamp is curator and education coordinator at The History Center.