How to Price Seashells

By Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor

Seashells are not just for making decorations or buying souvenirs on vacation. In fact, Native Americans once used seashells for wampum (as money), stringing elaborate necklaces signifying wealth and power. Today rare and average, but very decorative, shells are sold at varying price levels to collectors and traders. The pricing is based on several factors, including the condition and unique habitat of the shell.

Gather Background About Seashells

Obtain an understanding of the field of seashell collecting. Review how seashells are obtained, bought and sold.

Visit online sites and read books to help you. Go to the Conchology, Inc. website to get a list of experts in this field and resources about collecting seashells (see Resources below).

Explore the different classes of seashells to better understand the field. See how they are classified and know the difference between the common beach shell and the rarer ones.

Click on the "Collectables" menu at Conchology, Inc. to see some of the more expensive shells and what parts of the world they come from.

Learn How to Price a Seashell

Price the seashell based on its grade. If the shell is virtually flawless and unique, it should have a GEM grade. The buyer's price for the shell will be based on how many are available, the condition and any unique patterns or shapes.

Set an average price if the shell is graded at an "F level" category. This classification is represented by the letter F and a series of plus symbols (such as F+ or F+++). This price level is not as high as a GEM grade.

Explore the different price levels of shells by looking at your competition. You will find several seashell dealer websites on the Internet as well as vendors on eBay.

Price shells to sell to jewelry makers and crafters. Some shells, such as oyster plates, are pretty and can be reasonably priced (sold individually). A lot of these little shells are not that hard to get, but the excellent condition and unique colors are what make them attractive to buyers.

Tip

Have a wide range of prices. Do not just shoot for the rare collector. This will get more people to buy and possibly create repeat purchases. Offer currency exchange calculations with your shell pricing as many dealers and collectors are outside the U.S.