Questions that we are often asked about our extensive shell list.
How often is your shell list updated?
The list is usually updated several times a week. Shells that have sold are deleted and new shells are added. If you wish to place a large order, we urge you to make sure that you have the most up-to-date version, to avoid the disappointment of some shells no longer being available.
What do the different colours in your list mean?
Items in the list are colour-coded to denote when they were added to the list. Those shells that are not coloured were added before 2011. There is a key to the other colours at the beginning of the list.
I read your list regularly – what is the easiest way to see which shells have been most recently added?
The shells added most recently are always in blue. If you are a regular customer, you may want to scan down the list looking for the blue items. You can also use the Find and replace function in MS Word to search by colour. Press Ctrl-F (to bring up the Find and replace box), Alt-M (to expand the box), Alt-O (to bring up the format menu), F (to bring up the font menu), Alt-O (to bring up the colour options), then select blue, then press Okay and press Find next.
I'm interested in a particular shell on your list – can I get images of it?
We are happy to supply JPEGs of any shell priced at €20 or more. We also supply digital images of unidentified species, or of any shell when the ID is questionable.
There's a shell on your list that I'm interested in, but no price is given – why?
Occasionally we list shells that have just arrived but which we haven't had time to prepare for sale, or shells that we expect to obtain soon. In those cases we can't quote a price, but if you send us an E-mail enquiring then we will let you know as soon as the details are available. In no circumstances do we 'censor' the price of a shell.
Why does your list only give scientific (Latin) names?
Binomial Latin names (Genus, species) are standard for designating molluscan species. Although some of the common species (and some famous rarities) have been given popular names in English, these have no official standing and are open to misinterpretation. Also, a great many of our regular customers do not speak English. At shell shows we have a small selection of shells intended specifically for children, and we give an English name on the label – but in some cases we have to "make up" the name!
Why don't the names of shells in your list include authors and dates?
In a word: space. We agree that it is desirable to include the author and date of description, since these form part of the name of species. They've been omitted from the list purely to keep the size of the file to a minimum. More than 99% of our data labels include the author and date, and we are happy to quote this information to you for individual shells on the list. Occasionally we do specify the author in our list: either to avoid ambiguity (eg Bufonaria bufo Bruguière 1791 and Tutufa bufo Röding 1798), or because the species has just recently been named.
How can you offer such a wide range of shells?
We can only offer this range by developing relationships with numerous suppliers and by seeking out the molluscan families that most other dealers don't bother with. We have never been satisfied in just offering a selection of shells from, say, the Philippines. Likewise, we don't want to just offer a superlative range of Conus and Cypraea, because there are many collectors who don't bother with these families.
How many suppliers do you have?
We have a network of about 65 suppliers around the world who collect shells for us.
What does "sp." mean in your list?
It means either that we have been unable to identify the species, or that it may be a new and undescribed species. Some of these are shown in a special gallery of images. Occasionally a customer will succeed in identifying a shell after it has been listed, and we amend the list accordingly. Although we take the risk in being wrong, we firmly believe that our customers want to have the chance to purchase shells like this. Very often the truly interesting shells cannot easily be ascribed to a species!
Why do you list families in the order that you do?
Families are listed in taxonomic order. This order treats each molluscan class (Polyplacophora, Gastropoda, Cephalopoda, Bivalvia, Scaphopoda) separately and within each class lists the families in ascending order of evolutionary development. Our deviation from this is to list the terrestrial and freshwater shells separately. We have found that this order suits most collectors the best, and is far more satisfactory than listing families alphabetically.
What do 'w/o' and 'w/p' mean?
Shells that are supplied with operculum have 'w/o' in the description (or, sometimes, in the quality grade column). Those that come with the periostracum intact may say 'w/p'.
Can I receive regular shell lists by E-mail?
Certainly. Just send us a short E-mail asking to receive regular lists. It always helps us if you can tell us what families you collect.
Can I (or my friend) receive printed lists from you?
Of course, simply click here to send us an email with your friend's name and address.
How long will your list take to download?
The download should take 1–2 minutes using a modem, or typically 10–20 seconds if you're using broadband.
I cannot download your list – what can I do?
If clicking on the list link doesn't work then try right-clicking on the link and clicking on 'Save link as...' in the menu that pops up. If you are still stuck, you can also ask for us to send you the list via E-mail.
I can download your list but then it won't open – what can I do?
Your list is in Word 97-2003 but I use a different version of Word – is this going to be problem?
It shouldn't be. If your computer cannot open the file, just ask us to send you the list in an alternate format. Occasionally there are incompatibilities, usually with computers running old software.
When I view your list in Word the text is much too small – how do I alter this?
In Word, go to the View menu, select Zoom, and type a different number into the Percent box. The best percentage depends on your monitor settings and on personal preference, but we suggest you try 140% and make minor adjustments from there. If you use Word 2007 there is probably a zoom 'slider' in the bottom right corner of your screen. We strongly recommend that you don't edit the font sizes in the list. Incidentally, a useful way to view the list is to select 'Document map' from Word's View menu. A table of families will appear on the left hand side. Clicking on a heading takes you directly to that family.
What's the easiest way to find my favourite family in your list?
If you're viewing the list in MS Word, use Word's Find and replace function to move to a family name. For instance, press Ctrl-F, type Cypraeidae, and press enter. You will skip to the beginning of the Cypraeidae listing.