COLLECTOR: Marie Stuart of Wahoo holds one of the seashells she has collected over the years. More of her shells and other sea related collectables are now in the collector’s case at the Saunders County Museum in Wahoo. (Staff Photo by Lisa Brichacek)

WAHOO – There are no two alike in the collection now in the special display case at the Saunders County Museum in Wahoo.

And, that is one of the reasons that Marie Stuart has loved to collect seashells, rocks and minerals over the years.

“See how many different versions there are,” the Wahoo woman said. “All of them are different ones. It’s really unbelievable.”

Stuart began collecting seashells in the early 1980s, when she and her husband, Dale, vacationed near San Diego, Calif. Many of her first shells were found during walks along the beaches there.

Journeys to northern California and Puerto Rico added to her collection.

But, her collecting didn’t stop there. She also said she has purchased quite a few shells over the years too. When she saw one that caught her eye, she would buy it.

“I don’t know, I just like them,’ she said about what makes a shell eye catching.

Stuart doesn’t plan to buy anymore shells though.

“I don’t think I’ll buy anymore; they are getting so expensive,” she added.

Her collection at the museum also includes rocks, minerals and fossils.

Stuart said she has picked up some of those items at rock and mineral shows. She has gone to shows as close as Lincoln. She also attended a large rock and mineral show in Tucson, Ariz.

Some pieces in her collection were even found during vacation destinations in Europe.

A couple of pieces now on display in the collector’s case were handmade. Stuart said her daughter made them out of shells or rocks. Those pieces are extra special to her.

She also relishes the fact that her great-grandson shares her collection passion for shells and rocks.

“He loves them too,” Stuart said.

Stuart’s collection will be at the museum for the next month. Then, she will get to take them home again. She said she has them on display all of the time.

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