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Collection Rich Kirk - Philadelphia
 

 
One of the reasons I have always loved to go to the Philadelphia shell show is because I can stay at Rich Kirk's home. He invites several other shell friends to stay over for the weekend so we have lots of fun! His home is beautiful, built in the 1920s with a very characteristic architecture.

Rich has a very nice collection, full of colored and beautiful shells. He uses a combination of metal and plastic cabinets, plus a showcase for larger shells. His collection is quite large, although it seems he has not much space left, his shells are arranged in a very nice and unusual way.

I asked Rich to write a few words about his passion:
" I started collecting shells when I was four years old, I had done something good one day (unusual) and so to reward me my mom took me down to the basement where she pulled off a dusty shelf a round tin can with a picture of an Indian on it. She opened it, revealing the contents, sea shells, which she said were from India. She said I could pick ONE as my reward. It took me an hour to decide on just one. That night I went to the basement and stole the whole can. Its been like that ever since! I still have that first shell in my collection, it is a very small Busycon sinistrum, and well, its not from India, those shells in that can were all from Florida!
I collect marine shells and fossils. During the seventies and eighties I was primarily interested in getting a good representative sample of species from each marine faunal province, and the shell collection is therefore organized that unusual way. My interest has since evolved to gathering good representative samples of species from each family. These days I seem to get obsessed with two or three families, concentrate on them for a while, then move on to other families, but it is never a case of losing interest in everything else, I love them all! To me, shell quality is not strictly limited to what goes into grading standards. I gravitate toward shells that exhibit special or unusual qualities. I also look at color, pattern, sculpture, sometimes the locality is important, my reaction to their aesthetics is always a deciding factor! I like to collect specimens that contribute to a series which show a full range of qualities which the species can produce. This is a source of never ending fascination to me.
After well over fifty years of collecting the collection is now extensive and of course still growing. The collection is now being photographed for a book, which is a rather daunting task. I have made arrangements for my collection to eventually go to the Academy of Natural Sciences."

 

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