See the nice leather briefcase in the picture above, it's brand new but the reindeer leather it's made from is over 200 years old. In December 1786 a Dutch (or Danish depending on the article you read) ship sailing from St. Petersburg to England carrying a cargo of hemp and leather, sank in Plymouth Sound off the English coast. The wreck was discovered by divers in 1973. The leather was buried in the mud and preserved. Apparently the bottom of the sound is covered in peat moss washed in from the moors by streams that empty in to the sound. Peat moss is the same stuff that has preserved the bodies of the creepy bog people. In one article I read that the actual process used by the Russians to preserve these hides was lost during the Russian Revolution, making this leather that much more precious.
It makes me wonder, this leather can sit in salt water for 200+ years and still be supple, yet I have to worry about my Brooks getting rained on. I think I'm going to wrap my saddle in peat moss.