Shells

From striking fossilized ammonite shells to beautifully polished contemporary examples, shells reveal a brilliantly beautiful legacy. Shells for sale today reflect this vibrancy, offering specimens to tantalize collectors from the seasoned paleontologist to the sophisticated designer.

The tradition of shell collecting dates back to the ancient world. In fact, one of the oldest recorded shell collections was discovered in archaeological excavations at Pompeii, the Roman coastal town subsumed by lava from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The attraction to these forms was for their beauty and variety: from luminescent to matte, smooth to articulated, shells proved compelling even for the ancient amateur.

Alongside this beauty, there is a remarkable history within each shell, as each was once the home of a mollusk. Fossilized shells add to this history by millennia, revealing the evolution and consistency of mollusk species over the vast epochs of time. Shells add a unique richness to any collection, whether held by beachcombers or prehistoric perusers.


Quick Facts

  • Those who collect shells are known as conchologists
  • Ammonites represent some of the largest recorded fossilized shells. With conical, tightly coiled shells, ammonites were documented as early as ancient Rome
  • The vast majority of mollusk shells are dextral, meaning that they open to the right. Sinistral shells, those that open to the left, are incredibly rare and are typically more coveted by avid collectors

Recommended Items at Auction

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PAIR OF CLAM SHELLS BARTALUMBA BAY, GROOTE EYLANDT, NORTHERN TERRITORY
Nov 07, 4:00 PM AEDT
PAIR OF CLAM SHELLS BARTALUMBA BAY, GROOTE EYLANDT, NORTHERN TERRITORY
by Vickers & Hoad
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD1601 Bid
Nautilus Seashell
Oct 30, 9:00 AM MST
Nautilus Seashell
by Fidelity Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Nautilus Seashell
Oct 30, 9:00 AM MST
Nautilus Seashell
by Fidelity Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
STERLING SILVER FOOTED SHELL BOWL
Oct 24, 1:00 PM EDT
STERLING SILVER FOOTED SHELL BOWL
by Charleston Estate Auctions
Est: $300- $375
$51 Bid
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2 LARGE SHELLS ( SOME SUN BLEACHING)
Oct 21, 9:30 AM AEST
2 LARGE SHELLS ( SOME SUN BLEACHING)
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD10- AUD40
AUD101 Bid
Syrinx trumpet shell 22”
Oct 20, 9:00 AM EDT
Syrinx trumpet shell 22”
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
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CAMEO SHELL LAMP
Oct 21, 9:30 AM AEST
CAMEO SHELL LAMP
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD30- AUD80
AUD301 Bid
Antique Polished Turtle Shell Bowl
Oct 23, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Polished Turtle Shell Bowl
by Atlanta Auction Gallery, ltd
Est: $400- $500
$1000 Bids
pper weiter
Oct 24, 1:00 PM AEDT
pper weiter
by Arts Of World Auctioneer and Valuer
Est: AUD500- AUD800
AUD1800 Bids
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Tiger Cowrie sea shell, Madagascar, 7.5 cm, 68 g;
Oct 24, 10:00 AM EDT
Tiger Cowrie sea shell, Madagascar, 7.5 cm, 68 g;
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $20- $40
$100 Bids
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Painted "Coral" and Shell Chandelier
Oct 24, 10:00 AM CDT
Painted "Coral" and Shell Chandelier
by New Orleans Auction Galleries
Est: $1,200- $1,800
$1,0000 Bids
Gorham Sterling Silver Shell Dish
Oct 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Gorham Sterling Silver Shell Dish
by Dana J. Tharp Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$750 Bids
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Painted "Coral" and Shell Chandelier
Oct 24, 10:00 AM CDT
Painted "Coral" and Shell Chandelier
by New Orleans Auction Galleries
Est: $1,200- $1,800
$1,0000 Bids
Onyx shell earrings designer
Nov 17, 6:00 PM EST
Onyx shell earrings designer
by Captain Ahab's Antiques
Est: $45- $90
$350 Bids
Victorian 14K rose gold framed shell cameo
Oct 18, 2:00 PM PDT
Victorian 14K rose gold framed shell cameo
by International Auction Gallery
Est: $150- $300
$700 Bids
BLACK MUREX SEA SHELL
Oct 18, 1:00 PM CDT
BLACK MUREX SEA SHELL
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$60 Bids
BLACK MUREX SEA SHELL
Oct 18, 1:00 PM CDT
BLACK MUREX SEA SHELL
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$60 Bids
BLACK MUREX SEA SHELL
Oct 21, 1:00 PM CDT
BLACK MUREX SEA SHELL
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$60 Bids
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Huge 8”=20 cm, Cymbiola imperialis, the imperial volute sea shell from Philippines.
Oct 24, 10:00 AM EDT
Huge 8”=20 cm, Cymbiola imperialis, the imperial volute sea shell from Philippines.
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $120- $200
$800 Bids
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Giant Spider Conch shell - Lambis Truncata Sebae, 14.5”=38 cm
Oct 24, 10:00 AM EDT
Giant Spider Conch shell - Lambis Truncata Sebae, 14.5”=38 cm
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $250- $400
$1000 Bids
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Tiger Cowrie sea shell, Madagascar, 6.8 cm, 55 g;
Oct 24, 10:00 AM EDT
Tiger Cowrie sea shell, Madagascar, 6.8 cm, 55 g;
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $20- $40
$100 Bids
Sea shells
Oct 23, 3:00 PM EDT
Sea shells
by Bob Stutler's Auction
Est: $0- $0
$20 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Shells


Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Chiswick Auctions

Chiswick Auctions

Eternity Gallery

Eternity Gallery

New Orleans Auction Galleries

New Orleans Auction Galleries