Original Vintage & Restored Leather Keyrings for Classic Cars & Motorcycles

Vintage RUSSIA REINDEER LEATHER teardrop keyring


This listing is to order a teardrop shape Russia Reindeer leather keyring.

Most orders that we receive are for this teardrop shape which shows the leather off to it’s best effect and is a tactile shape which fits the hand perfectly .

Teardop shaped keyrings made from 225 year old Russia Reindeer Leather recovered from the wreck of the Danish Brigantine ‘Metta Catherina’ ( The story of The Russia Leather follows the description of the keyrings ) :-

We produce these keyrings using a specially selected grade of this incredible 225 year old leather.

This is a very finite resource & we now have only just one hide left to work with .

The Russia Leather which we use has actually been identified as Reindeer hide which does not have the substance ( thickness ) for us to make the standard of keyring which we are now very well know for- so we laminate and hand stitch two thicknesses of leather together to produce these remarkable keyrings.

Some of the leather recovered from the wreck was bovine ( cow )  hide which was a much thicker and coarser material and not particularly attractive with a coarse grain  and unsuitable for making keyrings from .

£ 75.00 seems a very small amount to pay for the amount of selection & workmanship which goes into each one of these little works of art – not to mention what for us was a colossal investment  in buying our small stock of hides almost 20 years ago.

Careful leather selection has to take place for each keyring .

Your keyring will be unique in terms of texture & colour ( no two are ever the same ) and the leather from which it is made has no equal in this modern world.

You are buying a tiny piece of history literally frozen in time dating back from the late 18th Century .

All the best stories start with ” It was a dark & stormy night……….”and this story is no exception !

In late November 1786 the Danish Brigantine ‘Metta Catherina’ set sail from the Russian Port of St.Petersburg bound for Genoa in Italy with a cargo of leather hides & hemp.

On 10th December 1786 she had reached a position off Plymouth on the South coast of England and sought shelter in Plymouth Sound from a  storm of increasing strength – but all to no avail as the storm continued to increase and the ship was then wrecked & lost.

Two centuries later ‘Metta Catherina’  was discovered by divers and some of the cargo was found to be in a remarkably good state of preservation after over 200 years on the sea bed.

Much of the leather had been very tightly bound which had resisted the ingress of water.

The leather had been tanned in the traditional Russian way using a tanning mixture loosely based on birch tar oil & willow bark .

The leatherworker who was involved in conserving the hides developed an oil emulsion which the hides were treated with .

At the time of supplying us with our own hides he provided us with some of this which we use to this day and it closely replicates the smoky birch oil aroma which our own hides had when we first received them.

In the late 18th Century the world was in awe of Russian leather which was of a quality never equalled before or since.

The quality of leather used to make cavalry boots & saddles could be decisive in winning a battle which could win or lose a kingdom –

Rather like the old story of the horseshoe nail where the kingdom was lost for the want of a horse shoe nail …….

For the want of the nail the horse was lost……….

For the want of the horse the rider was lost…..

For the want of the rider his message was lost…………

For the want of the message the battle was lost…….

For the want of the battle the kingdom was lost…………….and all for the want of a horseshoe nail .

England sent spies to Russia to determine how the leather was produced – the spies were never heard of again .

The secret of how the Russia leather was produced was never discovered and was finally lost forever during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution in 1917.

Just £ 75.00 buys a little piece of this incredible story .

In addition to the teardrop shaped keyring which can be bought in this listing most keyfob badges on keyrings listed in the website shop could be ordered re-mounted onto a Russia leather keyfob in either bottle, classic rectangular  or teardrop shape.

The price of this is £75.00 in addition to the listed price of the keyring with the badge .

These cannot be ordered directly using the website shop – please email us with your requirements.

The listing photos include images of a booklet on the subject of the wreck which was published in 1987 .