Local kids used to earn spending money for the pinball arcades and Boardwalk rides by selling seashells on the Boardwalk. Conch shells were the best sellers and were found on Assateague before the Verrazano Bridge made public access to the island easy in 1963. Comic books, handmade jewelry and “shark strings” (woven string ankle bracelets which claimed to ward off shark attacks) were other items sold by kids at the shell stands.
The seashell stands were fun and many children had their first business experience hawking shells to tourists in the early evenings. Sadly, the cry of “shells for sale” is no longer heard on the Boardwalk. In the mid-1990s, a handful of merchants protested that the kids were infringing on their business and seashell sales were banned by city ordinance.
Photo by Bunk Mann