TOPS & TURBANS
A diverse group of herbivorous snails, that develop mostly conical hat-shaped and operculate shells. Here is group of highly selected, super specimens from my drawers, representing some of the prettiest taxa in the family.
Calliostoma armillata Wood, 1828
32.55mm. Port Lincoln, Australia.
F+/++. A pretty and large Australian top, with a robust, beaded surface and some nice pink and golden ochre patterns. Most shells that get to the market are under 3cms. and of light color. Here is a chance at a large, attractive, dark and deeply colored shell. The lip is not perfect, hence the grade, but other than that, this shell rates as a highly aesthetic piece.
Price: 30.00 usd.
Calliostoma bellatrix Willan, 2008
40.1mm. Darwin, NT, Australia.
F+. A rare, North Australian species; of exquisite sculpture and handsome proportions: Very angular shape, adorned by a double spiral row of conical spines. The shell is patterned with faint golden marks on a finely beaded, pearly surface. These tend to show up fresh dead in trawls; such seems to be the case here - It has a tiny hole in the spire. Still an excellent piece!
Price: 150.00 usd.
Calliostoma javanicum Gmelin, 1791
23.7mm. Rocky Point, Mt. Irvine Bay, Tobago.
F++. In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful tops. It is a rather large species, with a very angular, finely beaded, golden surface, perfectly interrupted by thin, dark brown or red hair-lines. The composition is simply stunning.
Because this uncommon nocturnal species lives in coral reefs at scuba depths, it is very seldomly available.
Price: 40.00 usd.
Gaza superba Dall, W.H., 1881
36.9mm. off mouth of Mississippi River. USA.
F+. A special beauty among shells: Smooth and globose, with a naturally opalescent, nacreous glow, under its rather matte surface. This is a beautiful example from an old collection, as is usual for this formerly trawled species. No new specimens are turning up right now. There are some worm holes inside the ubilicus and minor nacre flips. Very uncommon today.
Price: 165.00 usd
Lithopoma caelata Gmelin, 1791
Sand Key, off Key West, Florida.
F++. A common Caribbean reef inhabitant. These live on the reef, prefering open boulders, exposed to the currents and the surf. They tend to come in pretty rough shape, specially the larger they get. This particular shell was hand picked and selected in top condition, it is of average size and keeps its original operculum in place.
Megastraea turbanica Dall, 1910
149mm. Ensenada. Baja California. México.
F+. A really staggering, massive species of turban. You just got to hold one of these to believe the proportions! These inhabit kelp beds in water that is almost too deep for divers. It has always been rare. This specimen has a nice size and comes w/o. It has some erosion as one could expect for such a large shell. The lip is trimmed. Still a very impressive display piece.
Price: 390.00 usd.