The snail and mussel collection at the Natural History Museum Basel goes back to the activities of various collectors in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the middle of the last century, Lothar Focart was the Museum's last mollusc researcher (malacologist). The collection has been extensively used and expanded thanks to his work.

The mollusc collection contains original material of 19th century authors such as Stefano Moricand, C. B. Adams, Sauveur Petit de la Saussaye and Otto Franz von Möllendorff. Noteworthy is the material of the expeditions to Sulawesi (formerly Celebes) by Fritz and Paul Sarasin, as well as collections from New Caledonia, New Guinea and other Melanesian islands.

The type catalogue, which today lists 1,177 samples of 780 nominal taxa, is based on the index created by Lothar Forcart. His definition of types was somewhat indiscriminate. Many shells were given the status of a (holo-, para-, lecto-) type without this having been published in accordance with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. A critical review by specialists with details from this catalogue is urgently needed.

All of the categories documented have been adopted indiscriminately from the old catalogue. The current classification has been checked wherever possible in the Zoological Record (1978 – 2002). The higher classification follows Victor Millard's 'Classification of Mollusca' (1997).

The catalogue was drawn up in 2002 by M. Haase.

Type catalog