The location and status of older type material are not always clear, and indeed the types of many taxa remain to be tracked down. Such material may have passed through several owners before coming to rest in a particular collection, in movements that are not always documented.
An author’s original labels (where these survive) and other handwritten sources can be useful in verifying the status of a particular lot. In museum collections, original labels have usually been supplemented with those written by successive curators and researchers. We have included photographs of both types of labels in this database.
Through familiarity and context it may be possible to recognise a particular worker’s handwriting and style of label. However, both vary over time (see this example from N. F. McMillan) and to compile a complete set from across UK collections would be an enormous task.
Here we provide a sample of handwriting of nearly 100 collectors and dealers (in addition to those already shown in the database). This is a scanned version of a scrapbook of shell collection labels and shell-related bookplates (“ex libris”) compiled by S. P. Dance at AC-NMW circa 1969-1973 (book accession NMW.Z.1980.007). This may be useful to those investigating older collections in the UK and elsewhere.