by Alison Waldbart
An excited Sally Peppetoni had the winning bid on an Entemnotrochus rumphii shell at the Conchologist of America Convention live auction Thursday, June 20, at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island. The high school physics teacher, from Brandenton, Fla., saved up the $1,000 she paid for a shell possibly worth three times that amount.
“I can’t believe I got my rumphii. I have been wanting it for quite some time,” said Peppetoni, who has been shelling since she was 2 years old and is president of the Sarasota Shell Club.
The rumphii is a species of large sea snail found off Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines. It was one of 107 rarely seen, highly desirable shells up for bid Thursday evening – ranging from $30 to $2,000 – to benefit the COA Scholarship Fund.
The 48th annual convention brought more than a dozen guest speakers covering a wide variety of topics and marked the 100th birthday of the late Dr. R. Tucker Abbott, a renowned conchologist and malacologist who was a driving force behind the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.
The week-long convention ends with ‘The Bourse’ or the largest shell market ever from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 23, at the South Seas resort. It’s open to the public.
The Bourse sale began Saturday, June 22, in the conference rooms at South Seas and features 26 shell dealers.