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Do you take specimen's grade serious?
05-26-2009, 09:36 AM,
Do you take specimen's grade serious?
As a shell dealer, I am trying to give the most accurate grade of the specimen, but I don't believe that the grade will always be accepted by collectors.

I've read an article about how grade system was created, that was in the age of price list and/or catalogue. Before the internet age, I believe grade was a standard practice among shell dealers, otherwise they have to print a lot of photo pictures at expensive cost. The grade system for specimen shells is similar to grade in gem and jewelry market.

Today we have world wide web rich media at very low cost, shell dealers can display photo pictures as many as they want, and also able to communicate with collectors through email or chat online. This can help collectors inspect and check the specimens more effective than in the past.

Anyway, the grade is a traditional option about describing a specimen and people still feel like to have it label with the selling shell. However, I don't think the collectors will always agree with dealer when they opened the box.

I'd like to hear what collectors expect about grade.

05-28-2009, 11:13 AM,
Do you take specimen's grade serious?
Hi. The grading system generally works fine, I believe the one most used is that published in the 'Hawaiian Shell News' many years ago, i.e. Gem, Fine, Good, Poor. The problem arises with certain species which never occur in gem condition, dealers are loth to put 'Fine' or 'Good' because a lot of collectors like as near perfect a shell as they can get and will not buy them. I have seen labels such as 'Gem for species' but who can say what is the best that a certain species can attain? The amount of plusses and minuses some dealers put as a suffix to the 'fine' etc also adds to the confusion, I have seen shells labelled as 'Fine +++' which I have examined and a hand lens was needed to spot a minute flaw. I would class this as gem, as a flaw that can not be seen with the naked eye does not detract from the quality and value of a shell. I have also seen shells offered as 'fine' that were definately 'good'. It is a very confused state of affairs but luckily, as you say, most dealers post a photo of the shell for sale so you know what you are getting. There are still some who post a photo of the apertural view and when you get the shell the dorsum is ruined but invisible in the photo. The best thing to do (if you can spare the time) is to post a photo of the dorsum and base of a shell so prospective buyers can see exactly what they are paying for.
I hope this is of some help.
05-28-2009, 12:26 PM,
Do you take specimen's grade serious?
Thank you for your reply, Dave.

I accept that dealer hate to put Fine or Good to an offering shell. And it really take time to take and post the photo of dorsum and base for every shell for sale, but I think this should be the basic requirement needed for prospective buyers. I'd like to follow this solution. And for some expensive shells, the more photo pictures is better for everybody.
06-08-2009, 02:34 PM,
Do you take specimen's grade serious?
As a marine biologist and shell collector, i belive that the shell size it is an important feature. Not for the run to the WRS, wich in my humble oppinion does not add nothing valuable.

The size does not reflect many times the maturity of a certain species, but in general the bigger they get , more mature they are and have reproduced and generated their offspring, assuring that the prole will perpetuate.

About the quality, thats an issue that i am used to. Or i like it or dont, and each case it is very particular.

You cannot ask the same price for two shells, different qualities. So, i feel that the grade system works perfectly well, with an exception for Muricidae and Volutidae. As a gem quality they exist, but many dealers use and abuse on stating specimens as "perfect" and there is always an imperfection.

The run for the most perfect specimens leads to blindness, and many details are lost on the way. I have seen rare , unusual or almost impossible to get that are not sold, simply for the fact that they might be from older collections, a small defect , etc. , all details that do not matter at all.

The wise man it is the one that collects now those specimens that shall disappear for good  in a short time to come. I am not talking about the so called rarities and most expensive shells.

Think about a Hexaplex fulvescens; Pteropurpura macroptera ; P. vokesae and others this genera, including the New Zealand volutes and even Macrocypraea zebra , up 80 mm, no matter the quality they may present . You shall see.

Kind regards



09-16-2010, 04:26 PM,
Re: Do you take specimen's grade serious?
Hi Jose,
Can you please explain why you think the New Zealand volutes will soon disappear.
Peter Poortman

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