Cowries are, together with cones, the most popular of all families. As a little boy, these were the smooth, glossy shells I got fascinated with and brought me into shell collecting. Here I present some shells come straight out of my personal collection, and were proudly owned. However I bought them as an investment and is now time to let them go. These are top quality specimens, ranging from uncommon to rare.

Cypraea asiatica f. empressae 

Kessler, 2006 - RUSTY OVERGLAZE!

82.84mm. North of Kangean Is., Indonesia

F+. Up for sale is a large specimen of this rarely available variety. This is an aesthetic piece, with an even rust overglaze, that gives the shell´s dorsum burnt caramel color. Like most overcasted specimens, there are nacre blisters and rough spots in the terminals, that do not detract from the overall beauty.

Price: 85.00 usd.

Cypraea guttata Gmelin, 1791

69.4mm. Panglao, Philippines. 

Gem-. These were once a great rarity, now they turn up from deep water tangle nets set in the Philippines. Shells reaching the 7cm. mark remain rare and expensive. This here is a perfect, large gem guttata. It is extremely globose, has perfect formation and beautiful pattern. Just a tiny, contained dull spot in the base; very hard to notice . Gem to eye.


Cypraea cervus peiliei Schilder, 1932

52mm. Cuba

F+/++. An uncommon, endemic, dwarf variety of the largest cowrie species: C. cervus. I obtained this particular specimen in Habana back in 2003, when I visited the island. These are very scarce in the market. This particular shell is very globose and glossy. Notice the white callus in the base and very dark teeth! There is a very minor chip in the anterior canal, as usual.

Price: 145.00 usd.

Cypraea m. panerythra Melvill, 1888

81mm. Tayabas Bay, Quezon, Philippines.

F+. A most striking, red form of C. mappa; which is in its own right a very attractive species. This here is very red and has a good size. There are a few nacre blisters and blemishes, which are unfortunately, almost inseparable from these red beauties. Other than that, the dorsum is very glossy and the terminals saturated in dark magenta. Very beautiful.


Cypraea eglantina Duclos, 1833

57.1mm. Palawan, Philippines.

F++. When alive, cypraeas have a fleshy mantle that wraps around the smooth shell, giving it its perfectly round, glossy surface. A sporadic consequence of this design is that the mantle can easily incorporate foraneous particles from the habitat into the shell´s outer layer. In the case of this very green eglantina, microscopic algae particles are to blame.


Cypraea m. rosea Gray, 1824

61mm. Sauddy Bt., Mauritius Island.

F++. Another striking, lavender toned form of th much more common C. mappa. This here is a very pretty specimen, with lots of purple spotting in the base and  nicely contrasting bright orange teeth. The base color is cream, and has a strong pattern. The shell comes from an unusual location and makes an excellent display piece. Uncommon and nice.

Price: 175.00 usd.