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Best source for identifying seashells?
05-17-2017, 11:39 PM,
Best source for identifying seashells?
I am new to this forum and group. I have acquired a collection of seashells that I ran across at a garage sale. I am astounded at the beauty of these shells and never thought I would become interested in them. But I found out that as I get older (I am now 77) everything of beauty interests me as a collectible. Good for me but not for my wife who knows well my weakness for collecting everything under the sun.
Anyway, if someone could answer my post on what the best book is for identifying seashells, I would appreciate it. I believe that most of these are from the U.S. and perhaps a number of them are from Florida since this is where the lady I bought them from lives. Some of them are very beautiful! It appears that she was into creating shell pictures using these shells as there were a lot of very tiny shells that had some glue still attached to them. I didn't get a chance to talk much to her but by the looks of the shells she sold me, she was also into collecting them.
From time to time, I will post some photos of them and I must tell you that since I am really into stamps and coins, I probably won't be able to put the money into collecting seashells so might be selling some of them through this venue. But, first, I must be able to identify them or at least the better ones. Thanks for allowing me into this forum David Touitou!
P.S. Tried to post some photos but all of mine are over the limit so couldn't post any at this time. If you are interested in seeing some of the shells, email me and I will send some. Thanks.

05-18-2017, 07:30 AM, (This post was last modified: 05-19-2017, 06:59 AM by paul monfils.)
RE: Best source for identifying seashells?
Hello and welcome to the forum, and the fascinating world of conchology. I can help with the identification of shells but I'm not sure how helpful I can be concerning shell books. The reason is, I have been collecting and dealing in shells for many years, and back in the early years I purchased many books, so I have a substantial library. As time has passed by, the books in my collection have served me well, and I have not felt the need to purchase many additional books in recent years. So, many of my best books are quite old, and may even be out of print(?). On the other hand, I don't know much about books that have been published more recently, but other folks on this site may be able to recommend some. For identifying American seashells, the first book I go to is called, of course, "American Seashells", by R. Tucker Abbott. For foreign shells some general books like Compendium of Seashells by R. Tucker Abbott and S. Peter Dance; The Encyclopedia of Shells by Kenneth R. Wye; and The Collector's Encyclopedia of Shells by S. Peter Dance are good starting points. But these are not comprehensive works by any means. They show many of the common attractive species that beginning collectors are likely to encounter in shops, etc. They do not include all the species from any particular locality, or all the species in any one family. There are other books that cover a given family of shells very comprehensively, like Cone Shells by Jerry G. Wall; Manual of the Living Conidae by Dieter Rockel, Werner Korn & Alan Korn; A Guide to Worldwide Cowries by Felix Lorenz & Alex Hubert; Olive Shells of the World by Rowland Ziegler & Humbert Porreca; Bursidae of the World by Tiziano Cossignani; Volutes by Guido Poppe & Yoshihiro Goto; and many others. You may be able to determine the family a shell belongs to by selecting the family identification page from the home page of this website, where there are a series of composite photographs I put together for that purpose. And finally, if you know where a shell came from, there are many books covering specific geographic areas, like Philippine Marine Mollusks by Poppe; Shells of the Philippines by Springsteen & Leobrera; Marine Shells of South Africa by Steyn & Lussi; Seashells of Tropical West America by Myra Keen; Australian Marine Shells by Barry Wilson, and again, many others.

There are also some useful sites online that picture a huge number of species, but they are more time consuming than books, especially if you are trying to identify a shell you are holding in your hand, especially if you don't know what family it belongs to. Two of the best are (gastropod species only) and (includes all types of mollusk shells).

You mentioned that some pictures you attempted to post are "over the limit". I assume you are referring to the maximum pixels allowed per picture? Gee, live and learn! I have been one of the moderators of this site for quite a few years, and I never realized there was such a limit! I use Photoshop software to resize pictures, as well as adjust colors, increase sharpness, etc. If you would like to email me some pictures I'll be glad to take a look at them and get back to you. To get to my email, click on my name in pink letters above.

Paul Monfils

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