Sumary of Were Cowrie Shells The Original Bitcoin? A Fascinating New Book And Museum Exhibit Reveal The Global Influence Of Mollusks:
- When the spiraled white shell of a precious wentletrap was sold at auction in 1750, the highest bidder was none other than the Holy Roman Emperor, who shelled out no less than 4,000 guilders for the two-inch-long treasure.
- The extraordinary sum, equivalent to $114,000 today, was a tribute to the wentletrap’s delicate beauty, but it had more to do with the seashell’s alleged rarity.
- And in the age of conchylomania, which put a premium on exotic shells imported from distant shores, 4,000 guilders may have been a bargain.
- [+] National Shell Museum, reproduced under a Creative Commons 4.0 Non-Commercial International License.
- Bailey-Matthews The story of the wentletrap is one of many told by Cynthia Barnett in The Sound of the Sea, a fascinating new book that explores topics ranging from colonialism to ocean acidification in connection to seashells.
- “From the shell cults of prehistory to the impressive number of mollusk-inspired Pokémon characters, no creatures have stirred human admiration for as long or as intimately,” she writes.