true gold banded alphabet cone

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…

true gold banded alphabet cone Conus spurius atlanticus

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.

clark sorting alphabet cone shells

We try to keep the perfect specimen type ALPHABET CONE shells inside the house displayed in a bowl…

bowl of alphabet cone soup

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)

damaged alphabet cones

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.

alphabet cones from sw florida

Then low and behold… a GOLD BANDED CONE! Holy Cowrie! Clark knew he had found one! Shellzam!

true gold banded alphabet cone

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 

difference between alphabet, gold banded cone and florida cone

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.

alphabet cone patterns Conus spurius atlanticusv

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 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.

special gold banded cone in a box with other alphabet cones

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!

colorful alphabet cones

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!

color forms alphabet cones Conus spurius atlanticus

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!

gold banded cone SNKv

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.

shelling adventures trips by pam