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New Member here :) Old Shell Collector
11-11-2012, 05:11 PM,
New Member here :) Old Shell Collector
Hello fellow shell collectors

I'm a new member here but an old shell collector. Some background info about my collecting. When I was 14, I became fascinated with shell collecting and my collection started out as any young person's would, with the most common shells I could find in stores according to my allowance. I am from the San Fransisco Bay Area ( but now reside in Reno, Nevada), and the very first store I began buying shells from was a place near my home called The Shell Cellar at Pier 39. Eventually after I bought as many of the less expensive, very common shells, my mother became involved in collecting with me, and from that point on, the collecting became an obsession. It was no longer amateur as we began to scour stores wherever we travelled, with one named Ruth's in the Monterey Bay area and others in San Diego and Hawaii.

When I was 16,  we ventured Back East to the Du Pont Museum of Natural History. Sad thing about Mr. Du Pont who had a massive shell collection that his great wealth enabled him to have.  At the time the curator of the museum's shell collection was named Mr. Jensen and he gave me a very rare, unusual Japanese murex specimen as a gift. I believe he authored some books on shell collecting and in one of them, his photo was in it. He autographed the book I bought with me.

Most people thought it was very unusual that a young girl and her mother were shell-hunting. We aquired some beautiful specimens and some very rare ones. My favorite species to collect were cowries. I also love the murex family and the volutes. I was big on operculums and even have a collection of some very beautiful ones.  Some coral, sand dollars and other members of the echinoderm family also made their way into the collection.  My collection is small, but has some prized specimens in them.

Over the years ( I am now in my 40's) of course, with school and moving away and a career, my mother kept the collection in a cabinet that has been collecting dust. The cabinet, not the shells Smile. I recently for some reason just started to search on Ebay for those 'dream shells' I never got, including the Glory of the Sea cone. At the time I was collecting that shell was going for 1500-2000 US dollars.  My father would hear nothing of paying that much for a shell.  I noticed it was now going for MUCH less and wondered if that was because many more had been found, or there simply was no demand for it. Conversely I noticed some Cowrie and Murex species that I have are selling for much more than what my mother paid for back years ago.  I also wonder, how many  of the shells in the collection are now endangered?

I plan to move the collection from my parents house ( thankfully only one mile away) and the dark, dusty cabinet it sits in to a brand-new lighted glass curio at my home . I also collect mermaids and Pirates of the Caribbean things, so the shell collection would be right at home in my hobby room.

I look forward to getting back to collecting ( am currently looking at the Golden Cowrie and a Cat's Tongue oyster on Ebay) and to trying to  identify ( I kept some the labels from the rarer shells but now must go back through many books and use this forum to help me identify the other shells that were lost over the years) and giving the collection a brand new home.

11-13-2012, 12:44 PM,
Re: New Member here :) Old Shell Collector
Hi Meshelle, always nice to hear the story of how people got started on shell collecting. One word of warning, make sure the new curio cabinet has soft (preferably LED) lighting otherwise the shell colours will fade over time. I bet they will look great in their new home.

If you want any identified you have come to the right place, there are plenty of us here with experience of a wide variety of shell families. My personal faves are Murex, Nerites, Olives, Limpets and Strombs.
I started collecting the usual cowries and cones over 40 years ago now when I was 15, but once I had got all the ones under £100 ($150) I stopped and decided to concentrate on the families mentioned above. Lack of space also played a major part too!

Ragarding the prices, well as you guessed a lot of the 'classic rarities' have been discovered in greater numbers now and have dropped in price. Shells like the Glory of the Seas cone and the Golden Cowry are quite cheap now and I have several of each.
Conversely some shells that were relatively common back in the day are scarce now due to many different factors. Mainly habitat destruction and, sadly, in some places, overcollecting.
There  are very few shells that are endangered now, mostly some land snails and freshwater clams, but a lot are now protected and are consequently difficult to get.

The Queen Conch is protected now and it is very hard to get good specimens here in England now, when a good one turns up it goes for a lot of money. These are the shells that used to be a couple of pounds each in every seaside curio shop!

If you are interested in buying specimens look at the list of dealers on here,they are all pretty good but the prices vary so it pays to shop around first. If you are on Facebook there are also a few shell groups there that buy, sell and trade shells.

Happy shelling,
11-18-2012, 09:37 PM,
Re: New Member here :) Old Shell Collector
David I am having problems registering there because a sign pops up that says something about enabling 'cookies' . It's the section where I post what shells I am interesting in buying or selling, and it's sort of a profile thing...I keep putting in my password and it won't seem to take it because of the 'cookie' thing.

Oh yes, the curio won't be lighted because of fading.What I  meant by that is when I want to see all my shells in glory, I want to turn on the light briefly and admire my treasures. As I said I am looking for cowries. Other faves are murexes, volutes, and cones.

I don't have a HUUUUGE collection but it's a beautiful collection of manu unusual and rare species and I am very happy to say that they will soon have a new home.
11-25-2012, 05:38 AM,
Re: New Member here :) Old Shell Collector
There seem to be a few 'glitches' with his site lately, it has taken me 6 days just to get on here! They recently changed to a new server and I think they are still having teething troubles. Give it a while then try again.
As to Facebook, I don't know what is happening. The 'enabling cookies' thing is nothing to worry about, just say yes.

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