Very Fine DACK’S / CHURCH’S Genuine BAFFIN BAY SEAL, Brown 2-Eyelet Derby: US 11D (44.5D)


  • Church’s/Dack’s Canada
    Genuine Baffin Bay Seal
    2-Eyelet Derby (Blucher), Circa 1970
    Euro 520

    This genuine Baffin Bay Sealskin derby, also marketed by Church’s as “Fighting Seal”, is one of the great exotic leather shoes of yesteryear. Difficulties interpreting and negotiating the varying endangered species legislation of the many countries to which these and other exotics were exported made continuing their manufacture impractical and most were discontinued by the mid-1970s. This example represents the beautiful traditional work still produced at the time. It is fair to say that the few sealskin shoes shown in these pages are likely among the last of their kind, certainly the last in this superb condition anywhere. In terms of rarity, in ten years, I have only seen perhaps a dozen pairs in this material that were is a condition of interest to us.

    At once dressy and relaxed, this durable, comfortable and overarchingly elegant Derby is worthy of the most advanced collector. Made for the American market, this was a very expensive shoe in its day; today it would priceless. If this shoe is your size, do not hesitate to add it to your collection.

    History of the firm: In 1834, an Irish immigrant shoemaker, Matthew Dack, when opened a shop at the corner of King and Jordan streets in downtown Toronto. He offered bespoke shoes and boots to those few who could afford such luxuries in what was then a settlement of a mere 10,000 people. Dack’s remained a small family concern for over 80 years, with a shop in front and work rooms in back, only beginning expansion after the First World War, opening stores in Winnipeg, Montreal and eventually across Canada. Dack’s was sold to AH Marston Corp. of Toronto, in 1948, which in turn sold the company to the English shoemaker Church & Co. Ltd. in the 1960s. From that date forward, many shoes made by Dack’s, particularly the exotic leather shoes for which they were famous, were marketed by Church’s. In perfect symmetry, Church’s Custom Grade shoes were marketed in Canada under the Dack’s label.  The inevitable decline came when Prada bought Church’s in the early 2000s. Even as they undermined the Church’s label, they sold off Dack’s in 2007 to yet another private equity firm who soon bankrupted the venerable old shoemaker out of existence and sold the name to the present owners who offer Dack’s shoes in name only.  A familiar story; quality on-shore, hand-made product succumbing to market forces, consolidation and decline. Happily, for the sharp-eyed, there still remain a few fine examples of Dack’s craftsmanship from their heyday.

    Size Details:

    UK 10E…..US 11D……Continental 44.5D, correct for the medium foot.

    Shoe Condition:

    Superb condition. Tops showing zero wear, original bottoms showing moderate wear with slight rounding of rubber heel inserts (easily replaced. Please note: two camera setting are used to approximate indoor and outdoor lighting.:

Article Number: RC 445BBS Category:

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