William Legrand is remembered as the 'musty old book-dealer' who occupied, one after the other, two dim and cluttered secondhand shops in central Hobart during the last half of the nineteenth century. Yet appearances can be deceiving; and tracing Legrand's obscure colonial career as secondhand bookseller, antiquarian, and amateur conchologist provides insights into the pervasive influence of imperial vision within intellectual endeavour and cultural activities in late nineteenth-century colonial life. Imperialism, as it is understood here, extended beyond economic, political, and military parameters: it was, as John Mackenzie has described, 'a habit of mind, a dominant idea in the era of European world supremacy which had widespread intellectual, cultural and technical expressions'. It produced, among other things, a preoccupation with acquisition, collecting, and the central display of artefacts, possessions and other goods. The shells, books, and other items Legrand collected had strong, but different connections with both imperial inquisitiveness and imperial acquisitiveness; and during his Hobart years, he played a small, but important role in what I suggest are significant, yet rarely considered, culture industries of imperialism.