I am lucky enough to have inherited my grandparent's amateur shell collection. They collected it throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s from the shores of the Northern Peninsula on the coast of NSW. It is not in any shape complete or outstanding, but reminds me of them fishing, beachcombing & swimming every day.
It was housed in random recycled boxes & jars, showing me where they were shopping & what they were eating! A tiny box from David Jones, a cardboard coffee container with metal lid, glass jars with orange & yellow lids, pin boxes etc.
On my recent South Coast roadtrip I bought a similar shell collection. I discovered it at Turnbull Bros Antiques in Milton and complete with a display cabinet, which I kindly left behind.
The collection consists of some fabulously kitsch souvenir pieces (including the Harbour Bridge) as well as bailing shells, kelp, nautilus, sea urchin, a seadragon, giant oysters, conical, olive, big, small & spiky scallops.
The story goes, it was collated by a fisherman's wife from Moruya River (south of Milton) where the river meets the sea, from the 1960s. Although not precious, it is going to be displayed on a high purpose built shelf, pride of place, in my venture opening next week, The Fish Shop: 22 Challis Ave, Potts Point. Come & check it out.