For the past 79 years, seashell enthusiasts have gathered on Sanibel once a year to see who has collected the most interesting shells or has created the most beautiful piece of art with shells. As the years have passed, the Sanibel Shell Show has become more sophisticated, and today it is known as one of the best shows in the United States. Historically, it is the longest-running shell show in the country. This year there are 27 categories of competition in the Scientific Division (collections of shells) and 23 categories of competition in the Artistic Division (artistic creations). Shell collectors and both hobbyists and professional artists from around the United States and Canada will participate in the show.

The Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club announces the following highly-respected individuals who have been chosen to judge the 79 Annual Sanibel Shell Show, an integral part of the Sanibel Shell Festival being held March 3, 4, and 5 at the Sanibel Community House.

Henry Chaney, PhD

Dr. Henry Chaney, Santa Barbara, CA is the Director of Collections and Research at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, where he also holds the Howard-Berry Chair of Malacology. He received his PhD in marine invertebrate zoology from the University of Southern California and is Past President of the Western Society of Malacologists and the Conchologists of America. A shell collector long before becoming a professional malacologist, he has collected extensively throughout the eastern and Indo-Pacific during the past 50 years, with a particular interest in the zoogeography of neogastropods on oceanic islands.


José H. Leal, PhD

Dr. Jose Leal, Fort Myers, is the Science Director and Curator for the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. He was Director of the Shell Museum between February 1996 and August 2013. Dr. Leal received his Ph.D. in Marine Biology and Fisheries from the University of Miami. His love for shells and sea life goes back to his childhood years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was a Visiting Professor at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, in Paris, and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Dr. Leal holds honorary faculty positions at the University of Miami and Florida Gulf Coast University, where he is an affiliate member of the Coastal Watershed Institute. He is also a past President of the American Malacological Society, current President of Conchologists of America (COA), a past board member of the Florida Association of Museums, an Accreditation Peer Reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums, and editor of The Nautilus. Under his leadership, in March 2010, the Museum was awarded its first accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums.


Anne Joffe

Anne Joffe, Sanibel, is a well-known member of the Sanibel community, and her contributions to the shelling community in the United States cannot be underestimated. She has judged both scientific and artistic categories at shell shows for over 30 years. Some of her past and current positions held include past President of the Conchologists of America, past Treasurer of the American Malacological Society, President of the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club, Shell Show Chairperson for the Sanibel Shell Show, and President Emeritus of the Board of Directors for The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. Anne has also been COA Convention Chairperson and has brought the COA to Sanibel three times. She is the current COA Convention Coordinator. Anne owns and operates She Sells Sea Shells on Sanibel. In her spare time, she has authored two books on shell crafting.


Jeff Oths

Jeff Oths, Sanibel, started collecting seashells in college after receiving a murex pecten shell as a gift. He later became interested in and began collecting Victorian-era mother of pearl antique objects. His collection includes personal items, household items, and vintage hand-made dioramas. He has won awards in both artistic and scientific divisions at several shell shows. An avid sheller, he has found some rare specimens, including the long-spined star shell, which had never been previously documented on Sanibel. His enthusiasm for all things shell-related has led to media interviews, including one for Public Radio International’s Living on Earth show, as well as local TV appearances. He is a past President of the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club, and was Co-Chairman of the 2013 Sanibel Shell Show. This is his third time judging Sanibel's artistic division.

The Sanibel Shell Show competition is open to everyone. Artistic Division entry forms must be received by Feb. 14. Scientific Division entry forms must be received by Feb. 18. For more information regarding how to enter the show go here