Putting Together a Fossil Collection

Fascinated by paleontology? Purchasing fossils can help you build a fossil collection from scratch or to fill gaps in a collection you’ve already begun to build. From cephalopod fossils for sale and nautilus fossils for sale to genuine dinosaur bones, you can find a wide array of reasonably priced fossils for purchase on eBay.

Fossil specimens

Dealers offer many different specimens to the public. Here’s a look at some of these categories:

  • Ammonites - Ammonites are mollusks that lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. They are now extinct. Their fossilised shells are tightly coiled. Many of the oceans in which these creatures lived have become land in the intervening 140 million years, so these specimens are not difficult to find.
  • Dinosaur teeth - Dinosaurs lived during the Mesozoic Era, approximately 65 million years ago. Though some dinosaurs were toothless, most had teeth. Plant eaters had flat-surfaced grinding teeth, while carnivorous dinosaurs had knife-like teeth. Many dinosaurs were enormous, so a dinosaur tooth fossil for sale in the UK can weigh up to 1 kilogram.
  • Coprolite - Coprolite is actually fossilized dinosaur poop.
  • Crinoids - Crinoids were close cousins to starfish, brittle stars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers. They filled the seas of the Middle Cambrian Period, approximately 540 million years ago, and a few still survive.

How do you determine the value of a fossil?

Fossils are aesthetically appealing, and they are of scientific interest. Those are two compelling reasons to collect them. Many collectors, however, purchase fossils for sale as an investment. Many different variables determine the value of a fossil:

  • Rarity - The more common a fossil is, the more affordably priced it is likely to be.
  • Aesthetic appeal - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but fossils that make an eye-catching display are likely to be appreciated more highly.
  • Preparation - Many larger fossils require some degree of restoration. Sculpting materials can detract from a fossil’s value, though, if they’re used too liberally. The most reliable way of determining how much of your fossil is authentic and how much is reconstruction is to look at your fossil under a black light. Natural materials will fluoresce.
  • Size - If all other things are equal, larger fossil specimens are coveted more than smaller ones.

Is it legal to buy fossils?

Collectors have been buying and selling fossils in the UK for more than 200 years. So long as a fossil specimen has been legally collected, there should be no issues.