The right way to collect fossil sharks teeth

Imagine how boring life would be if we all had the same idea of beauty.  If this was true than all men would be chasing the same three woman around (sorry ladies) and we would all be driving the same pick up truck.  And the same goes for fossil collecting in general.  How boring it would be if you went to your buddies house and he had the exact same identical fossil collection as you did. 

Everyones budget is also different.  I’ve had customers put in $25,000 orders and others put in $25 orders.  Who’s not to say that the customer who is buying the $25 tooth isn’t getting more joy from that single fossil than the customer dropping 5k, 10K, or even 25K? 

I don’t know about you but my very first shark tooth that I found brought more joy, amazement, and wonder than any other fossil I have ever found or purchased after that.  It was a Great White shark tooth I found in the 3rd grade with a current market value of about $10.  I put that Great White shark tooth in its very own box lined with velvet, and to this day it is still my favorite shark tooth. 

So my point is, when you are new to collecting, don’t get bogged down with trying to figure out every last detail and asking yourself, “Is this the right way to collect?”  When I first started this business nearly 20 years ago, I was honestly confused.  I would post three teeth and the one I was 100% positive would sell right away would be the last one to sell.  And the one I knew for sure was going to sit for a while would sell the first day.  It took me a very long time to realize that I could not predict the fossil world in terms of selling.  And the truth is… I still can't.  I don’t think anyone can. I think the best thing to do is to stop trying to figure it out.  If there was truly a "right" way to collect than it would be predictable to some degree, and it is anything but me on that one.   

People have their own interest.  They collect what “they” like...not what “I” think they will like.

The truth is...the overwhelming vast majority of people collect sharks teeth and other fossils for one primary reason: they think they look cool.  It's truly as simple as that. 

If you find that fossil cool or interesting than that is the RIGHT way to collect...for you.  If you see a pic of a sharks tooth or other fossil and everyone is ranting and raving about it on Facebook or Instagram and you don't see what all the fuss is about than that is NOT the RIGHT fossil for you, regardless of how many likes or smiley faces that fossil gets. 

Have fun….enjoy collecting….collect what visually appeals to you and stay within your budget. 

Don’t try to keep up with your buddy and drop a grand on a tooth if you really just can’t afford it right now.  You will begin to hate that tooth if your eating beans for a week to pay for it, and you can’t afford to take that new girl you just met out to dinner.

In my opinion the teeth aren’t going anywhere.  Sure, some locations are getting harder to obtain due to various reasons but don’t let that pressure you into buying something you might regret.  I’ve been hearing for almost 20 years that the teeth supply are going to dry up soon.  I think that is more of a pressure sales tactic than a reality. 

Sit back…be patient…wait for that tooth to appear that you really like and then grab it if your financial situation works at the time.  But if not…let it go and don't lose any sleep over it.  There will always be new sharks teeth and other fossils being found and hitting the market. 

In a nutshell…collect what you like and don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.  There truly is no “right” way to collect and that means there is no “wrong” way to collect.  On a side note I get asked pretty routinely to help pick out some sharks teeth for collectors, and this is usually a new collector. Below is a question I got asked this week and the reason I decided to write this article/blog…whatever you want to call it.  I still can’t figure out what exactly a blog means?  Bump on a log? I'll have to google it.  I must be getting old.


Fossil Collecting Question


Fossil Collecting Answer

I didn't make the sale.  But that's okay.  This is pretty much my standard response to picking out teeth for customers or showing them my favorite sharks teeth for them to buy.  I don't mind helping a new collector pick out a $60 shark tooth for a birthday present for a young child or something like that but once you get up to several hundred dollars...I really hate to make that financial decision for you. I want you to find what interest YOU.  In my mind that is what collecting is all about.   

Garry Dye - Investment Fossils







Thanks, Gary. I hope the teeth I collect will be of value to my nephews someday. For now the collecting is based on color. Silly, but I like it. Thanks, Steve



Hi Garry,

Very good article, I’ve been trying to convince many people of that exact concept. Thanks for laying it out clearly. :D

And this doesn’t apply to only shark teeth, it applies to anything in the fossil world. Nature has made it so that no two fossils are exactly the same, and each one is different in its own way, and there are some for every taste. And not only to specific fossils, but types of fossils too. I am for example a huge fan of fossil bivalves, as I find them beautiful, fascinating, etc etc; yet I am one of the very few who do (most collectors I know are like “oh yeah, bivalves are cool, but shark teeth/ammonites/trilobites/dinosaurs are cooler”). Every person’s taste is different.

BUT, there IS a right and wrong way to collect fossils (not exactly the same subject as this article, but worth mentioning). Some fossils are illegal, such as keichousaurs from China that were exported after the ban (or haven’t been exported yet and that a Chinese dealer is offering). Promoting the sale of illegally obtained fossils by buying them is not a good thing. (Unfortunately it can sometimes be hard to see when it’s illegal or not) Obviously, infringing the law is never a right way to collect fossils (whether those laws are smart or not is another question though). Also, collecting fossils in a closed location (where trespassing is forbidden) or in a natural park is wrong too.

So, in conclusion, as long as you stay within the law, just collect new fossils according to your own personal taste and grow your collection the way you want it!

Great article, thanks again for sharing.

Best regards,


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