Full Version: Collection-- valuable vs low value
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Thank you in advance for helping me with this question.
I am wondering the very general-- if any value of my collection-- just a ballpark figure like is it worth less than $150 or less than $100. This information would be very very helpful for me. I appreciate any information about this.
Thank you for your time
I'm afraid the news isn't good. Collectors differentiate between "commercial grade" shells (also called "beach shells") vs. "specimen grade" shells. Specimen grade shells are primarily live-collected, checked for any natural flaws, then carefully cleaned, avoiding any chips, scratches, etc. Once a mollusk dies and is rolled around in the surf and sand for days or weeks, tossed against rocks, and baked and bleached in the sun on a beach, it is no longer in a condition that would interest a serious collector. Such shells might find their way into a bag of shells sold for a few dollars in a tourist shop, but a specimen shell dealer or serious collector would not want them. The only shells in your photos that might qualify as specimen grade are the three Murex pomum on the right edge of the middle photo, and perhaps the bat volute and one of the ceriths. These have good color, are nice and clean, and show no damage, and the murexes also have the operculum in place, which is also a plus. However, these are all common species that typically sell for $2.00-$3.00.

There is another rating system that is commonly used. "gem" means a flawless specimen. "fine" means a small flaw or two, but many collectors would still accept it. Between those two is "fine+", a minute flaw easily overlooked. Below "fine" is "fair" and then "poor". These last two would be considered commercial grade under the other system.
Thank you so MUCH for this extremely Informative and very very helpful information.
We did not know this information about "commercial" versus "specimen" shells. We incorrectly thought the shells were valuable and were going to invest money and lots of time to properly store them.
I found this helpful as well. One reason I never purchase shells unless they are in a lot, or look unusual is because I never see really clean high grade shells. And never unusual large shells. (Funny I live a 10 minute drive from the Chesapeake Bay)
I have also noted that many higher quality shells that are selling are closer to 3 inches in length. Some smaller, but many are in the 80-120MM Range.
Of course size depends greatly on species. For some species, 3 inches would be huge. Other species never reach 3 inches, and 2 inches might be huge for a particular species. For some large species, 3 inches might be a tiny juvenile.