This is truly a GOLD-BANDED CONE. There was lots of controversy over this CONE shell on last week’s post Gold-Banded Cone Found On Sanibel Island and ever since that post, the saga has continued…
From the moment Clark and I saw the photo of Clair’s three GOLD BANDED CONES (GBCs), we knew we needed to look through our collection again. Remember I said… “I think it time to go looking through all of our CONES just to make sure we didn’t overlooked one”? Well Clark got it done. He sat out on our back porch (on our very funky yard sale couch) and sorted through bin after bin of CONES that we’ve picked up over the years which just got stock piled in our Shellaboratory.
We try to keep the perfect specimen type ALPHABET CONE shells inside the house displayed in a bowl…
But the ones in the Shellaboratory are from days shelling we didn’t have time to sort because we had to run back out to some type of appointment or obligation. But lots of the shells were ones that had chips with broken lips and tips. Aint that a trip? (sorry…I couldn’t resist)
We try to give most of our shells away and only collect different color variations or unusual ones but still… the shells stack up. We try to put the really special shells to the side when we find them… but life happens. The good news is, Clark was on a mission.
Then low and behold… a GOLD BANDED CONE! Holy Cowrie! Clark knew he had found one! Shellzam!
After looking at so many variations of CONES in the shell sorting mission, let me show you how closely some of the CONES look alike. In the next photo, the far left is a FLORIDA CONE that looks like a smaller version of the ALPHABET CONE second from the left but the FLORIDA CONE has the tall and wide spire (tip) compared to the smooshed in ALPHABET spire. You can see spots on that same ALPHABET (second to the left) but the GOLD BANDED CONE (which is a rare color form of the ALPHABET CONE) has stripes instead of the spots – that’s what makes it different. So now back to comparing the GOLD BANDED CONE with the FLORIDA CONE on the far right. You can definitely see stripes on the FLORIDA CONE but it just looks like a darker version until you look at the spire again- yep, much taller and wider spire.
Like our friend Mary McBride said about the GBC- “it looks like an alphabet when the printer ran out of ink”. LOL
While sorting, Clark set aside some of his favorites. This photo really doesn’t do these alphies as much justice as they deserve but each one of these CONES has a remarkable pattern and/or color. Each are the same species but with different color forms caused by either food source or environmental like temperature changes, repairing damage, getting transported in a storm or countless other theories. It’s really what makes shell collecting so mind blowing.
Now we have our GBC in a little case that sits in the bowl with the other ALPHABETS just to make sure it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. We took it in to see Larry at Seashells.com and they immediately gave Clark this box with cotton to keep it safe- thank you Gary! We rarely encase shells because we enjoy the raw beauty of them too much but for right now this one feels way too special. It is staying in the box. We still can’t believe we have it.
But of course I had to take it out of the box to get one last photo with all of the ALPHABETS together. OMG I love how it looks! All of those colors and spots and dots!
FYI- I made the photo above into a small puzzle for a gift to a friend of mine. Just in case you want one too, CLICK HERE. (for a larger puzzle CLICK HERE) . This next photo is the bowl that is going IN the house. These are too nice for the Shellaboratory!
Let me preface this with… This next GOLD-BANDED CONE is not ours. This photo came from a friend (wants to be anonymous) that wanted to show this specimen so we could have another example for identification purposes. Un-be-liev-able right? The rich, dark gold stripes are magnificent!
After seeing all of these ALPHABET CONES, GOLD BANDED CONES and even comparisons with FLORIDA CONES mixed all together, we are never going to toss “special” shells into a batch of ordinary shells we collect from the beach…. errrrr but wait… they are ALL “special”! Each one has it’s own unique pattern and color! Ack! How can we decide? Maybe less is more? Humph… It’s too much to think about. As Scarlett Ohara said “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
What beautiful cones you have, and this was a very educational piece. Now I have to go home and look through mine. :)
Thank you for this wonderful blog entry today! It’s one thing to read about all the shells in a book, but to read about them in your blog and see your collection of them is just so much more!
Wow! Thank you so much for all the information! AND all the pics! I never have taken the time to really look at my cones. They are fascinating! What beautiful designs! I now have to go look at mine (which are not that many :( …… Thank you! Again!!!
Wow! This is great information and so clearly presented. Can’t wait to arrive in two weeks and start searching again…thank you!
wow – looking at all of your alphabet cones makes me think that might be my favorite shell! beautiful.
I love your stories! They are so informative and fun at the same time! Now to check MY cones! :)
Wow! How exciting that must have been to find. It’s no gold banded to be sure, but I was tickled to find this oddball in a box of cones I was going through yesterday to pick some to trade. http://i.imgur.com/1r5N7HC.png. http://i.imgur.com/dYw2LAq.png
those are some nice cones! and the total sample size of nice cones shows you just how uncommon this variety is.
a couple of good points from this
1. if you are able to shell the same area repeatedly and/or have access to large amounts of material from one spot, you will eventually pick up the uncommon and rare species that dwell on the far end of the “bell curve” in terms of rarity. this is a well known ecological principle…. Its that unique blend of luck, skill, and statistics we shellers love and count on so much. Even if you have been to a place a zillion times there is always the chance of seeing or finding something new.
2. (a general comment all serious shell collectors will agree with)…. aesthetic collections are great and every collector or beachcomber stores their shells in ways they like, or that work for them, but specimens or objects that are unique or important deserve “special handling”…its also important to record the when and where and details of when you found them if they are to have maximal value to future possessors or generations. Don’t rely on memory alone regarding where/when you found the shell, or where you put it or stored it.
Very good information Steve! This is so true on both points. We start out shelling maybe for one reason or another then find that the sea teaches us something different every single time we step on a beach. The more we learn, the more we want to look for different things or apply new info looking the ones we’ve already collected. It’s so much fun to see the progression in our shelling habits
What a insightful comment. God brings these precious gifts and teaches us so much!
Lovely cones. I enjoyed reading this posting and seeing the comparisons.
But, now I have another mission. Have to find a gold banded tulip.
Congratulations on your GBC Clark!! Alphabet cones are Ken’s favorite. I don’t think he’s pulled himself off the floor yet after seeing all the alphabets you’ve found. The colors and patterns are spectacular. Arriving at midnight tonight, your posts this week make us want to head straight to the beach and start shelling. Thanks so much Pam for keeping us entertained, educated and interested!
yay you!!! :)
we can not say enough thank you. For any instruction you give us for shells … for pictures … and all recommendations. You always learn with you two. I’m still wondering how to classify shellfish .. by … by kinds sizes .. I just had my answer. But I’m pots variety for decoration … I’ll have to open them all to go to the rechecher of golden banded cone :)
WOW! What a fantastic collection of alphabet cones you and Clark have found. How many years did it take? I love the darker ones. I probably would not have thought it was an alphabet cone and just put it with the Florida cones. The last few years I haven’t found many cones. By the way, I like your yard sale couch. Pat
While we have been shelling for years the collection Pam showed was probably started when we moved here in 2001. I’m kind of a ” Alphabet cone” hunter (they are my favorite) and have developed an eye for them in the surf. I’d say the most though have come in the last five years.
Wow! Shellous of all your cones. My son found our first and only alphabet cone last year on Sanibel. Will be back in August to look for another one :-). I never knew there were so many types of cones – thanks for keeping us informed!
Terrific post Pam! So you had one of those gold-banded babies after all!!!!
I reckon that Super Sheller Clark must have enjoyed searching through all those beauties, however long it took.
That platter of the finest of the finest looks to me like a collection of something delicious to eat — I must be hungry! :)
Every time we visit Sanibel, my husband and I resolve to keep ONLY unique shells that we haven’t found before… and every time we break that resolve because we just can’t stop from picking up the beautiful shells, even though we already have examples of their type.
So, yes: shells accumulate!
The year we retired and had to downsize dramatically, we decided we just could NOT keep all our shells. So we picked out the very best examples we had, and kept those.
And the rest?
We gave them out on Halloween, instead of candy. We put a bunch of shells in a gallon-size zip-lock bag, with a sheet identifying the different types of shells… sort of a beginner’s collection. We had a great time doing this, and the kids seemed to think it was pretty cool, too.
Susan Keppy- thank you for adding your comment! I love the idea of shells for halloween- so stinkin cute – they are the perfect age to be curious enough about them.
You’re welcome, Pam– we were hoping some of the kids would want to continue adding to their collection… it’s a great hobby!
Can I go shelling at your house, Pam?? Just kidding of course! What a great interesting post! Thanks!
Thanks for the great clarification on the different cone shells. I love this blog, I learn so much!
I cannot believe the number of cones you two have collected! I have about a dozen and I think that is a lot. Great information per usual.
I am sooooo tickled so see all of these wonderful comments! Of course I ALWAYS read each and every thing y’all say but I cant always comment back on each post since I’m out discovering new things about shells for the next post… but today i HAD to say a BIG THANK YOU!!!! This always inspires me to post about the things I’m learning about or info that you’ve asked about in one of your comments. It’s so awesome to spread the shelling love!
Would you say the GBC now ranks under the junonia for great finds?
And the big question….
Do you remember where you found your GBC? Lol!!
Thanks for another excellent post, Pam!!
The GBC is waaaaay more rare than the junonia so it is a spectacular find. Id say on the average at least once or twice a week, a junonia shows up on sancap beaches. IMHO, the GBCs show up rarely at all in one year. its really hard to tell though since we all hear about junonias and they are pretty much unmistakeable. the GBCs can be confused with other shells so even if tourists find them (most don’t even know what a cone shell is) they might not look into what it is… unlike the junonia.
That was really interesting & informative and good to know. Thanks for posting this, and thanks for taking & posting all the different photos of the cone shells to help us differentiate between the different types. There is definitely an art to this fun hobby of shelling!
My wife and i were on sanibel the week of may 19. We found many nice shells including a few that were new to our collection. I couldn’t identify a couple of them. One of them looked like an African land snail only smaller and it was a solid cream color. I’m at work and I don’t have a picture of it, any idea what it is?
I miss your posts!
I found a GBC yesterday. I am reading all I can about this shell and came across your blog. Thank you for interesting and informative post!