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Sunday, February 14, 2010

COLLECTING VINTAGE SHELL CRAFT BOOKS
Hunting for out-of-print bargains

As a collector of out-of-print shell craft books, I've seen the prices of these popular collectibles steadily rise over the years. Don't despair shell art fans, there are still quite a few great deals out there. Here are just a few of my favorites....


Two shell craft books, that can be found on Amazon.com for well under $10.00, are;"Shell Crafts" by Elizabeth D. Logan, 1974 Published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 214 pages and "The Book of Shell Craft Instruction" by Frank and Marjorie Pelosi, 1959, Published by Great Outdoors Publishing Co, Florida, 80 pages.


"Shell Crafts" by Elizabeth D. Logan, (shown above on the right) is a great reference, packed with lots of shell art photos and how-to instruction for crafting various types of shell art including; boxes, jewelry, flowers, sailor's valentines and shell figures, just to name a few.


"The Book of Shell Craft Instruction" by Frank and Marjorie Pelosi (shown above on the left, same book with two different covers). Originally published in 1959, with the red cover shown (notice the $1.50 price). The cover was up-dated with subsequent printings to the new and improved white / black cover (notice the up dated price of $4.95). Although you will find how-to-instruction for crafting various types of shell art, a good portion of this book focuses on making shell jewelry. Another reason why I find this book appealing is because of the little bit of advice the author's provide to the would-be shell artist (on page 5) wanting to sell their work.


A few other wonderful, but a bit more pricey collectible shell craft books, are; "Flowers from the Sea" by Joan S. Wozniak, 1989, Published by Great Outdoor Publishing Co, Florida, 63 pages and "Making Shell Flowers" by Norma M Conroy, 1972, Published by Sterling Publishing Co., New York, 48 pages. Both of these books offer instructions for making different kinds of shell flowers.


Another interesting book and one that is truly one-of-its-kind is, "Neptune's Treasures," A Study and Value Guide of Antique Shell Decorated Love Tokens, Souvenirs & Whimsies, self-published by the authors, Carole and Richard Smyth in 1998. The Smyth’s are antique dealers from Long Island, NY, who have put together a fabulous collection of information, color photos and a pricing guide to antique shell art.


Although, Amazon.com and Ebay.com are popular hunting grounds for out-of print shell craft books, they are not the only place to search. Below are some other sites you may want to visit when looking to expand your shell craft book collection;


Bookfinder.com is a search engine that searches over 150 million new, used, rare, out-of-print books for sale, from individual book sellers on the web.

Barnesandnoble.com not only sells new titles, but used and out-of-print books as well.

Openlibrary.org simply put, is a large database that will allow you to search books from the world's leading libraries and book publishers. Just type in your title (or a key word in the title) and Open Library will come up with a listing of where you can purchase your book. It will also provide you with a list of links for search engines that can tell you if your book exists in a library. One such search engine is...

Worldcat.org
is a US library search engine, that will let you know if your book exists in a library near you.

Search Tip: Searches are word sensitive. If you are doing a random search to see what kind of shell craft books are listed, be sure to use different combinations of words in your searches to help broaden your results. For example, "Shell Craft," "Seashell Craft," "Sea Shell Craft," "Shell Art," etc.

Happy shelling!


1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for this blog post. I live in Orkney, a group of islands off the North of Scotland, so I am surrounded by the sea. I have always been interested in natural history and shells but more recently I became interested in what could be made from the delicate little tellins and the bautiful topshells. I have bought a number of the books you recommend and mention above and, like you said, most were available very cheaply off Amazon. I got one of the more collectible ones off ebay tonight (coming from the USA) and I hope to learn to make some attractive objects including delicate shell flowers. I'm sure my children will love making things too and in time perhaps I'll be able to share the books with the local Brownies and Guides. Thank you, I look forward to reading more on your blog.

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