specimen shells

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Hugh Morrison has been scuba-diving and collecting shells since childhood. He's been dealing with specimen shells for the last 40 years or so. Simone Pfuetzner is a fellow diver and goldsmith, mainly focusing on the art, craft & design aspects of seashells. Together, we run a reputable, licensed seashell dealership, besides also being professionally involved with scuba diving. Thanks to our keen interest in all things natural history / marine biology / dive travel and our association with likeminded people around the globe, we can now offer the most comprehensive range of seashells and literature on this subject in Australia and the Asia / Pacific region. Our location in Western Australia happily enjoys one of the most extensive and successful fisheries managements worldwide. We aim to source all our decorative / bulk material from reputable and responsible suppliers.


All marine biologists tend to specialise, so unfortunately a broad practical knowledge of seashells (while invaluable for quick ID assessment) is becoming rare. Hugh has been donating his time and expertise to assist curators at WAM (Western Australian Museum) for many years, aside from taking part in scientific expeditions and diving in remote locations to discover and describe new species in his spare time.

Australian Seashells regularly contributes local specimen samples / accurate data to EOL (watch video here). The resulting scientific database is currently developing into the largest global resource for biodiversity evaluation. Pooling global biodiversity data enables faster identification (and protection) of potentially at risk marine habitats.

The rapid rate of damage to worldwide marine environments due to climate change and pollution is an ongoing major concern, not just for us. Watch JEN 'Charlie' Veron's illuminating Royal Society talk on the subject of Australia's Great Barrier Reef here: https://royalsociety.org/events/2009/barrier-reef/.



Natural history buffs around the world are collecting seashells (like i.e. stamps or coins), often focusing on just one family of shell species. Along with curious bits of rock and wood, seashells have been mankind's first ever collectible treasures (since the stone age). All natural shells are beautiful and fascinating; some are truly precious. The value of any collectible shell (aka 'Specimen Shell') today is due to various key features. Besides accurate identification, all specimens should be individually measured and described, graded (for condition); each should have a scientific data label and be packaged individually. You can find collectible specimen seashells (listed in family groups) on our SPECIMEN SEASHELLS page.




Specimen Seashell descriptions and data labels may include the following information:

LOCALITY: Country or region where the specimen was found, incl. local variant / form name or subspecies tag, besides any known details on the location, incl. habitat and depth. The info available for each specimen largely depends on the source: We scuba-dive remote areas and can supply shells that we find ourselves with extremely detailed data, incl. GPS info (within a 100m radius). We also obtain many shells from old collections (some may have less information available). Trawled shells obviously carry less specific information, depending on which boat they came from and how accurately fishing logs were kept.

SIZE: Specimen size in millimetres, which always represents the largest measurable distance between the outermost points of a specimen (except spiny Bivalves and Spondylidae, where the body is measured without spines).

DESCRIPTION: Listings can mention occurrence, condition, shape, colour, pattern, presentation and/or major differences to other forms of the same species.

OPERC / PERIO: Some species have doors (Nerites, etc. ), so we include info on presence / absence of operculum (shell door) or periostricum (soft surface coating).

REFS / IMAGES: References to previously published information or images: We list refs in the header section of a price list. If you are looking for a specimen with particular colour or from a particular location, please let us know your reference (page / image nr. in existing publications) or send us an image, as we may be able to compare and perhaps even match the shell.

GRADING: The condition of a specimen (see FAQ on Intl. GRADING terms).




Please find below the commonly accepted Intl. grading terms explained (shells are viewed under good lighting with the naked eye):



- Shells are without any discernible blemish or flaw. The specimen will be fully adult and of typical size for species.

F++ / GEM

- Shells that have a very minor flaw or blemish which is hard to perceive, shows up only under close scrutiny and in no way detracts from the look of the shell.


- Shells have a noticeable flaw or blemish which does not detract from the look of the shell.

F+ / F++

- Shells have more than one noticeable flaw, growth line or blemish consistent with the species, but the overall presentation is very good. These shells are generally excellent value and suitable for aesthetically pleasing collections, being considerably less expensive than GEM specimens.


- Shells with small chips, noticeable growth lines, nacre lifts, blemishes or other obvious flaws, where the overall appearance and presentation of the shell is obviously not perfect. NOTE: Several large sized or rare species are only available in F+ condition or less.

F / F+

- Shells with major chips, growth lines, nacre lifts, blemishes or other obvious flaws. Very fresh dead collected but otherwise good specimens are also often classed as F/F+.

NOTE: Some shell species are only available in F/F+ condition or less.


- Shells that are either badly damaged, obviously juvenile or dead, but suitable as a representative of the species or for study purposes.

NOTE: Some shell species are only available in F or dead condition.


No grading system can possibly do justice to every specimen available and most specimen shells will require further description. Since seashells are difficult to photograph well (images may not clearly show flaws), the above grading terms are Internationally accepted for seashell descriptions. NOTE: All our DECOSHELLS are non-graded (intended for decoration only).



Beautiful ornamental seashells that have not been graded (i.e. bulk items) for decorative purposes, which are available in our DECOSHELLS section. This category also includes Sea Urchins, Starfish and Sand Dollars, Seashell Mixes and bulk order items to look at and enjoy, play with or use for art, crafts and design.



Yes. We will always try to trade for very good quality Cypraeidae, Conidae or Volutes - or rare & newly described species - and exchange for them just about any specimen shell from our lists. Please e-mail us


Yes! Meet us on the road: We annually present specimen shells for sale at trade events around the world. See our upcoming schedule below:




2017 International Shell Shows & Conventions

February 11/12th, 2017

National Australian Shell Show Sydney
Venue: '30/38 Ethel St, Seaforth NSW 2092 (Sydney), Australia 
Steve Dean, email: steve@sydneyshellclub.net - Ph: +61 (0)411 751 185
March 11/12th, 2017 International Shell Show Paris
Venue: 'Espace Charenton', 327 rue de Charenton, 75012 Paris, France 
French Shell Club AFC: http://www.xenophora.org
Perrine Dardart, email: perrine.dardart@gmail.com - Ph: +33 6 1118 7848
April 29th, 2017 National British Shell Show & Auction London
Venue: 'Theydon Bois Community Centre', Coppice Row, Theydon Bois, Essex CM16 7ER (London), UK (SAT only, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM)
British Shell Collector's Club: http://www.britishshellclub.org/
Simon Taylor, email: show@britishshellclub.org
May 20/21st, 2017  International Belgian Shell Show Antwerp 
Venue: 'Extratime Sports Hall', Louisalei 24, 2660 Hoboken (Antwerp), Belgium website: http://extratimehoboken.wix.com/extratime
Belgian Shell Club BVC: www.konbvc.be/shellshow.php
Charles Krijnen email: bvc.shellshow@planet.nl - Ph: +31 13 4630 607
August 15-19th, 2017 COA Convention (Key West) USA
2017 Venue: 'DoubleTree Resort by Hilton', 3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, Florida, 33040, USA, Ph: +1-305-293-1818, Fax: +1-305-296-6962
Conchologists Of America: www.conchologistsofamerica.org/conventions - see website for COA 2017 contacts. Broward Shell Club: https://browardshellclub.wordpress.com
September 23/24th, 2017 Oehringen Shell Show, Germany
Venue: 'Kultura Kultur- und Tagungshaus', Herrenwiesenstrasse 12, 774613 Oehringen, Germany https://www.kultura-oehringen.de
German Shell Club / Club Conchylia: http://www.club-conchylia.de/termine.html


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Last modified: 25-01-17