One of the joys of childhood in Ocean City for many was the chance to earn some spending money (usually spent in a pinball arcade) selling sea shells on the Boardwalk.
Conch shells were the best sellers and could easily be found on Assateague before the opening of the Verrazano Bridge made public access to the island easy in 1964. Other items sold were comic books, handmade jewelry and prior to World War II, “shark strings,” which were woven string ankle bracelets that claimed to ward off shark attacks.
Sadly, the cry of “shells for sale” is no longer heard on the Boardwalk in the early evening. In the mid-1990s, some merchants protested that the kids were infringing on their business and sea shell sales were banned by city ordinance.
Photo courtesy of Sue Hurley