Target: give an overview of what exists in a particular group of mollusks. The subject can be a family (e.g. LITTORINIDAE, or CYPRAEIDAE), or a geographic area (for example: New Zealand seashells).
Identifications and accurate locality data are important. The collection will be used as a reference for new findings, databases, geographic mapping etc.... Unavailable species can be replaced by a photograph.
THE AESTHETIC COLLECTION
"Some collectors specialize in "beautiful" shells. Quality, exceptional specimens, size, color etc... deserve the highest attention. The presentation of such a collection is most important: much care has to be taken in the display.
THE STUDY COLLECTION
Shells brought together for the purpose of study belong in this category. Easy access, research facilities, and labels with field information have priority over beauty. There always ought to be a "dry collection" and a "wet collection". The latter being a collection of mollusks preserved in alcohol solutions (it is better not to use formaldehyde because of its poisonous and calcite- dissolving effect).
THE MICRO SHELL COLLECTION
Many people specialize in micro mollusks: shells smaller than 10 mm. A binocular microscope with x 6, x 10, and up to x 60 is needed. The big advantage is storage: a collection of several thousand shells does not take much space. The many hours spent over the microscope are pure delight.
During the many years of shell collecting, I met people specializing in: ONLY WHITE SHELLS, ONLY BLACK SHELLS, SHELLS OVER 1 INCH, ONLY LEFT-HANDED SHELLS, ONLY YELLOW SHELLS, ONLY REAL ALBINO, ONE OF EACH GENUS, ONE OF EACH FAMILY, etc...