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#1 ww2vault

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 04:16 PM

Hi there,

I was really curious to the way you keep records of your collection. Personally I have a notebook that I have split into a couple sections. In the front of my record book is where I keep my receipts for each purchase I make for a item in my collection.

The first section lists the name of the business, phone number, hours open, and the physical address of the place.

The next section is for items that I bought from a private seller such as vets family member or some one that just happened to have a WWII item.

The last section list the actual items I bought, along with the price paid, estimated value of item, and date bought.

I thought this would be a interesting topic to add, maybe some people will learn a new technique on how to keep track of their items or maybe inspire some people to start keeping a record of their.

I know a few people who use Access and computers to keep track of their collection and I know a few people who keep really detailed records on their collection.

Post away! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

- Jeff

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#2 fightn5th

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 05:54 PM

Hey Jeff,
I came across a program listed on ebay several years back and it has kept my record keeping in order. All the items you mentioned are in the program and better yet, all on one disc. Currently I have over 730 items on this disc.

Frank

#3 ww2vault

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 04:31 AM

Hi fightn5th,

Yeah, quite a few people use those collecting programs to keep track of their collection. I have to look into getting one for myself some time.

- Jeff

#4 IMPERIAL QUEST

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 07:30 AM

I use an old 1940's ledger that has about 8 vertical columns to record entries. Each item has a number that corresponds to a small circular sticker tag that I place with that particular item. In the ledger, I include, date of purchase, amount paid, current market value, country of origin, maker marks or identifying marks, and I also have a column for sold items listing details of acquisition of trade/sale.

#5 Ricardo

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 07:38 AM

Hi All,

I use has many years Microsoft Excel program ... more 4,000 items listed. :rolleyes:

Data:

Item #
Date
Description
Valour market (in USD and Euro)
Valor pay (in USD and Euro)

Best regards,

Ricardo.

#6 Jeeper704

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 07:45 AM

I use Word and have made several sections (headgear, patches & insignia, weapons and related, etc).
And I keep it both printed out and on my pc.
With it is a short explanation of what to do when I'm gone.

The items are listed with description, where I got it, price I paid and current value (aproximately). I also have photographs for identification and I have a separate subsection listing the complete uniforms on display.
If an item comes from a Veteran, I note that too.

When I sell or trade something, I erase that item (gone is gone).

Nothing complicated, hehe.

Erwin

Edited by Jeeper704, 08 August 2007 - 07:46 AM.


#7 Daan

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 08:32 AM

I use Excel,

The items that i have in my collection are listed with the name/description and the price i paid for it, nothing less and nothing more because that's all i need to know.

I think Excel is fine for this purpose, it's getting to complicated for me using a extended database, not the knowledge but it takes much more time to add these items.

Daan

#8 ww2vault

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 04:32 PM

Very good everyone. Everyone has their own great way of keeping track of their collection, I have learned a few things from some people that I will try and incorporate into my own record keeping. :)

#9 SCF-Collector

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 06:48 PM

A suggestion for anyone keeping track of their collection.

I started with index cards, then a notebook, and eventually built my own computer database that also lets me store pictures of items (that's what I do/did for a living, might as well). Whatever method you use may I suggest that you consider adding a field to your notebook / spreadsheet / or database - called "Last Value". I started keeping track of the price I paid for an item and the price that was "asked" for the item - figuring that was the "value" of that item. As the price of Civil War related items went through the ceiling I quickly realized my inventory was not current in terms of the insurance value. So, I added a Last Value field to my tracking system.

When I purchase an item I enter the Purchase Price, and the Asking Price at a minimum. If I think I got a real bargain, I enter into the Last Value field whatever I think the item is worth. Over time, as I see items on the market at price above what I have recorded for mine - say after trolling a show - I update my database with that value. I also periodically, when I have time, troll through my records and update the Last Value fields that catch my eye as too-low (or even too high sometimes). The result is an inventory that will serve as a better indicator of value for insurance purposes. It's certainly helped me keep my insurance coverage up-to-date.

Just a suggestion.

Mickey
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#10 kklinejr

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 04:44 AM

Good topic! I use excell spreadsheet as well as it does the job and all entries correspond to a photo of the item. The most important categories that I have on the spreadsheet are "current marketplace value" and "how to dispose of." The current market place value is a must, not just for you, but for your family. I try to update that column on a yearly basis depending on current trends. This is important if anything ever happens to you. I have seen several families sell items at what they were purchased at simply because they didn't know any better. Take for example one instance- a fellow local collector purchased a fully complete uniform/medal/paperwork group belonging to a 1st Infantry Division major. He purchased the group from the family for $25 (I questioned his ethics). That was the price they had on the tag because that was the price paid for the item back in 1978. The incredibly naive family didn't know any better.

The second field, "how to dispose of," was done for my wife's sake. She is the most understanding and intelligent person I have ever known, and although she doesn't "get it," she understands that this hobby makes me happy. However, last year when I turned 35, she asked what should happen to the collection if I was gone. Quickly checking my drink for cyanide :rolleyes: that truly made me think about the process. She knows the items are worth something, but she, understandably, wouldn't have a clue as to how to sell them off. There are some items that I want given to one particular museum, other items that remain withthe family as they belonged to relatives, and some others that will go to friends; but the rest can be sold for my family's use. Most are definitely marked for Ebay, but a few have alternate instructions - I can just imagine her trying to sell an M-1 garand on eBay.

Anyway, I'm not a dark individual by nature, but those categories do put my mind at ease that my family won't lose out by putting a 1904 marine uniform in a garage sale for $25 or get arrested by trying to sell a pistol on eBay (not to mention NY state law is incredibly harsh; the vintage handguns have their own instructions).

Just somethign to think about,

Ken

PS- if you are thinking about starting an inventory, do it now. If you wait as pieces continually get added on you to your collection, you may find yourself having to document hundreds of items when you finally do decide to write one up.

#11 Brig

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 07:57 AM

I set up a grid and put pieces on it and digitally photograph it, then use Paint to put a number in the square (number/letter code). Then in Word I document everything about it in the correct category

#12 Jim Baker

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 09:15 AM

This is a very interesting topic. Obviously I think the system used will depend on the type of items you collect. I know when I collected expensive TR items, the system was more complicated with receipts and vendors (some overseas), etc...

Now, with mainly patches and a few uniforms, it is much simpler. First, before entering anything into the inventory, I make sure it is authenticated to my satisfaction. Then I get a good close up digital photo of both front and back. Everything in my collection is photographed. In my pictures section, I have several categories, and I enter the item into the correct category with what I paid for it. As far as current values, I watch what items go for but don't document them unless we are talking over $1,000.00, I will track that. Then I back it up on a thumb drive just in case of a computer problem. I've told my wife, at this point eBay everything and use the purchase price as a starting price. Demand should take care of the rest. If I got just an incredible deal on something I do note that. I also have a for sale icon. When I decide to sell something, it's easy to move it into that category. Once sold, it's deleted.

This is a very simple system, and it's easy to move items between categories as the collection grows and changes.

Here is a screen shot. I click on the appropriate icon, and everything that fits that category pops up. Simple, but it works for me at my level of collecting.

untitled.JPG

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Edited by Jim Baker, 22 August 2007 - 09:29 AM.


#13 Jeeper704

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 10:32 AM

That's a nice system too, not too complicated.
Do you keep it printed out too?

Erwin

#14 dhcoleterracina

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 11:36 AM

All are good ideas but I would additionally make photos a priority. I used to collect German but the prices are ridiculous now. When I did collect back in the 70's I used a camera that date stamped the photos. When I go and sell something German now and I have photos of the object back in the 70's its much easier to convince someone I don't know that the item is authentic. Not that they didn't fake stuff then but it wasn't as crazy as it is now. I wish I had done it in more detail. We as collectors probably don't sell much but there will come a day... and we don't want our families robbed because they didn't know. Good topic

#15 ww2vault

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 12:13 PM

This is a very interesting topic. Obviously I think the system used will depend on the type of items you collect. I know when I collected expensive TR items, the system was more complicated with receipts and vendors (some overseas), etc...

Now, with mainly patches and a few uniforms, it is much simpler. First, before entering anything into the inventory, I make sure it is authenticated to my satisfaction. Then I get a good close up digital photo of both front and back. Everything in my collection is photographed. In my pictures section, I have several categories, and I enter the item into the correct category with what I paid for it. As far as current values, I watch what items go for but don't document them unless we are talking over $1,000.00, I will track that. Then I back it up on a thumb drive just in case of a computer problem. I've told my wife, at this point eBay everything and use the purchase price as a starting price. Demand should take care of the rest. If I got just an incredible deal on something I do note that. I also have a for sale icon. When I decide to sell something, it's easy to move it into that category. Once sold, it's deleted.

This is a very simple system, and it's easy to move items between categories as the collection grows and changes.

Here is a screen shot. I click on the appropriate icon, and everything that fits that category pops up. Simple, but it works for me at my level of collecting.

untitled.JPG


I do that to Jim. I like to keep a written copy of my collection in a notebook and then I photograph every item that I think it WWII authentic and place them in different categories on my computer. I will have to go back through my photos and re-take images that are blurry. I start off with a WWII folder and then split it into different folders listed by country, like German militaria, American militaria, ect. ect. Then it goes into the categories of items.

- Jeff

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#16 SCF-Collector

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 05:21 AM

Ken -

EXCELLENT point about "disposal instructions"!

I've verbally told my similarly understanding wife how to "dispose" of my collection should she decide to do so (i.e., within 24 hours these dealers will be calling you to express their condolences...and trying to get in line). However, I've recently started a document that captures this information in detail. It will be stored in a secure location, along with the inventory itself, to make sure she's got what she needs to handle the task - and not get ripped off.

While wanting to help my wife avoid the "wolves" that will descend upon my collection if something were to happen to me, I have another purpose in writing these summary instructions - to discuss the broader issue of how to dispose of my 25+ year collection (at this point - hopefully a 50+ year collection <g>). We've half-discussed the possibility of donating it to a museum, but never really settled on anything. I want to make sure she knows my wishes (and what I don't want), and that the decision is ultimately hers.

Another component of my "disposal instructions" is a detailed explanation of how my filing system works - not just the database/inventory itself. I get a lot of enjoyment out of doing research on the items in my collection - tracking down and documenting the owner and their history - etc. I have this supporting information filed separately and I want to make sure she knows it's there - and how important it is in terms of value. I've actually started putting digital photographs and an inventory cross-reference in each of my files to make sure that connection is there.

I always tell my wife that my collection is an investment - so I'm doing everything I can to make sure the value of that investment is protected if/when something happens to me. There won't be any dealer "you won't believe what I stole this for" stories originating in this house!

To echo Ken's comments - if you don't have an inventory - start one now, and keep it updated!

Best,
Mickey

#17 the.warlord1944

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 11:44 AM

Not every item i have catologed sofar.

I do it in excel.
Include
*what is it.
*timeperiod
*what did i pay for it
*marketvalue ( i check this once a year).
*specific marks ( is it used/new/has it wear and tear).

I only did it for medals and manuals/books, military maps, military newspapers magazines.
But thanks to this site i think i`m going to do everything now.
from helmets to patches.

#18 The Meatcan

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 09:37 PM

Lots of great ideas here! I use Excel to track my webgear collection and all my firearms. I use pretty much the same data columns most of the other previous messages mentioned. In addition, I add hyperlinks so I can readily view digital photos of each item; in most cases I've got multiple photos of an item capturing not only overall condition but close up detail as well.

The point about "disposal instructions" is well-taken. I, like many of you, have a notarized document explaining who my stuff should go to if need be. And that document is in the safe deposit box at the bank.

This discussion thread is just one of many that have been really helpful to me in furthering my collections. Great stuff!

#19 JLENG

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 07:56 PM

I have tried Access, Ecxel and a couple of others being sold on eBay. I recently stumbled across Adobe Professional. In a fraction of the time it takes to learn Access or Excel you can create a form with many of the features found in those programs. The form I made has drop down lists so you do not always need to retype information over and over again. I am in the process of tweaking it now but it looks promising and I think it can be combined with other pdf files allowing me to scan in paper receipts ect. If anyone would like to look at my form email me and will attatch a copy on the reply.
John

#20 pathfinder505

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 08:09 PM

I have tried Access, Ecxel and a couple of others being sold on eBay. I recently stumbled across Adobe Professional. In a fraction of the time it takes to learn Access or Excel you can create a form with many of the features found in those programs. The form I made has drop down lists so you do not always need to retype information over and over again. I am in the process of tweaking it now but it looks promising and I think it can be combined with other pdf files allowing me to scan in paper receipts ect. If anyone would like to look at my form email me and will attatch a copy on the reply.
John


John
I would like to see your form
Thanks
Robert

#21 pathfinder505

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 08:09 PM

I have tried Access, Ecxel and a couple of others being sold on eBay. I recently stumbled across Adobe Professional. In a fraction of the time it takes to learn Access or Excel you can create a form with many of the features found in those programs. The form I made has drop down lists so you do not always need to retype information over and over again. I am in the process of tweaking it now but it looks promising and I think it can be combined with other pdf files allowing me to scan in paper receipts ect. If anyone would like to look at my form email me and will attatch a copy on the reply.
John


John
I would like to see your form
Thanks
Robert

#22 tredhed2

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 11:57 AM

I use an Access-based program that I bought from a fellow ASMIC member. One of the advantages is that he has already loaded 3500 images of patches into it. (They include subdued insignia, and he is coming out w/ a 2.0 version w/o them).

It's important to catalog your collection becasue we're all gonna die but don't know when. I have handled the collections for a couple of deceased friends, and yes, there are wolves. "Joe owed me $250 for a patch" or "Joe owed me this patch for a trade"..etc..... If you're wondering, I handled all the requests, this way - "Too fricking bad".

If you catalog, you can save your wife or other family members grief. Prices are (or should be) up to date; you can note to whom you want to give something - or eliminate some wolf who calls later. By cataloging, you are giving your survivor(s), or yourself w/a fading memory, the best chance at the best price. Add all the notes you want or need (at least w/ the program I'm using).

#23 Andrei

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 12:11 PM

I guess I should start to catalog my collection !
I never did it for my past WW2 collection. You guys are very pro !

#24 JBFloyd

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 01:23 PM

I have recommended that planning include a short list of people you would trust to help dispose of your collection; and a short list of those you do not want involved.

This latter list might include the local sharks, but it might also include good friends who collect similar things and should not be tempted with your collection. Your responsibility should be to your family, not helping someone else's collection.

#25 Bank Vault

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 12:27 PM

I use white paper tags with a description and a number. Then I use a note book and have a one word summery such as jacket or medal and have the retail value for this year so it would be like lets say number 0023 is a slot brooch purple heart, under 0023 in my book it will be listed as medal then say 07: for the year 2007 and then say $50.


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