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#26 tbirdismypride

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 04:48 AM

These are some really good Ideas for record keeping. Although my collection isnt large enough to worry about if something should happen, some on this form have enough things to start your own muesuem.(Bastards :P) I have heard that some keep a notebook, some keep computer records and some keep both. Might I make another suggestion that most already know but should be said anyway. You also need to keep some sort of master copy away from your collection such as in a safety deposit box or in a fire proof safe. Just in case the unthinkable should happen and your house catches on fire.

#27 tbirdismypride

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 07:32 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.


Hi, You have a great system there! Not complicated at all. I have a question though. You said you enter the items into the correct categories with what you paid for it. My question is what do you do if you pay for multiple items at once. For example how would you log what you paid for something if you won a auction for $25.00 and there were 45 patches in the auction?

#28 Jim Baker

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 09:47 PM

Hi, You have a great system there! Not complicated at all. I have a question though. You said you enter the items into the correct categories with what you paid for it. My question is what do you do if you pay for multiple items at once. For example how would you log what you paid for something if you won a auction for $25.00 and there were 45 patches in the auction?


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#29 LtRGFRANK

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 04:52 AM

I use several things. First my little black book where I record items. Date bought whom from and price. Then it goes on my computor with all info. Printed out and copies in my fireproof safe and to my insurance agent. I then photograph everything. Its put on my computor and also downloaded to disk and put in the safe. I then have photo albums where the pictures are posted along with a period picture showing the item in actual use(no not the condoms or pro kit) The only problem is when it goes in my war room it sometime gets "lost". I wish there was someway to organize it for better luck at locating an itam.

#30 ItemCo16527

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 07:33 AM

I just use the ancient art of pen and paper. I have two thick notebooks with dividers in them, separating my collection into a variety of categories such as "medals and ribbons", "uniforms", "miscellaneous insignia", "books", etc.

I write down a description of the item, including ribbons and insignia where applicable, and the amount paid for the item. For some reason, I haven't been writing down the dates I've acquired things, but I should probably start doing that.

It took 10 years of collecting before I started keeping a catalog of my collection, but I'm glad I did. It's made going back and researching old prices, and sometimes identifying things I'd forgotten about, much easier.

I'd considered getting the militaria tracker software off eBay, but my collection's gotten so huge, and my time is so limited these days, photographing and writing descriptions of everything would be a nightmare. Still, it might be worth it.

Edited by ItemCo16527, 11 January 2008 - 07:34 AM.


#31 gtpcamaroz

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 05:41 AM

I have everything written down in a notebook right now. I picked up a program off of Ebay awhile back called Collection Master, which isn't perfect, but decent considering the price. It has customizable fields and also always you to attach pictures for each item. I have everything entered already in the program, but I am still working on the picture aspect as that will take some time.

#32 mikeb

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 02:38 AM

PM sent.

Here's what I do for multiple items. Items I buy off ebay or anywhere that are grouped together for shipping I just keep track of the prices of the individual items and record that in my log. In other words, if I buy five items for say $26.42 and $2.00 for shipping, I divide up the shipping cost by five and add that amount to each item. If I buy a "lot" of items, I take the total price, including shipping, and divide it by the total number of items in the "lot". If the amount ends up with more than two digits to the right of the decimal point , I take off the extra digits and round up ( or down) individual items until I get an amount that equals the total price. Seems a little complicated, but it works for me. I also get a lot of stuff off of uniforms I buy at a local thrift store. I use the same technique on these items. For example, I buy a Navy jumper with a rating badge, a hashmark and a unit ID tab on it for a total of $4.15, including sales tax, and divide that by 4. I count the jumper as an item so it reduces the individual cost of each patch. This also helps me to decide if I want to buy the jumper or BDU or whatever in the first place. Everybody has their own way of keeping track of their collection. You just have to figure out what works for you.

#33 wleoff

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 03:10 PM

Plus one on the recommendation to keep a backup of any computer files somewheres else. I fried the hard drive on my computer and my external backup hard drive when lightning sapped them both thru a surge protector and a fault grounded circuit. Until then, I though that the external hard drive with automatic backup every 24 hours would be sufficient. Now about once a month, I download my hard drive onto one of the little portable drives and store it separately in a safe place. I'm setting it up where my hard drive will do an automatic backup on a server.

#34 Blake_E

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 07:15 AM

Some great and very thorough methods in here! I dont use anything at the moment, but my memory, but it's still good and fresh :P
I've been meaning to keep records though, it's just good to, i've only been seriously collecting for about 2 years now though, so dont have an absolute truckload of gear, but it's growing very steadily, and i really need to start with the records. Already have recorded one grouping i got, but that was it.
Some of you guys should ABSOLUTELY back up your PC files though, even if only that, just on a crappy, couple of dollar USB flash drive. Dont want to lose anything, let alone all of it!

Edited by Blake_E, 16 January 2009 - 07:17 AM.


#35 Alonzo

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 12:38 PM

I have been using Excel as my database program for a few years now.
It is versatile and can be easily modified.
The great thing is you can add values in a column then reference those cells to a formula cell which aitomatically generates a total of all entries in the column. You can also link that single formula cell to another spreadsheet to give a totals on multiple sheets, thus giving you a running total as you add stuff to the list.
Every couple of weeks the complete database is saving to an external hard drive, as a back up.
I also have a written hard copy with basic information catagorized, numbered and valued.
The sheets I designed myself on Excel, and they fit in a standard size 3 ring binder.
You go as detailed as you want with listings of specification numbers, contract dates etc.
Just as long as every item is numbered and can be referenced in either the database or hard copy.
The family will appreciate your work in the event of a sudden life changing event.
Cheers

#36 Croix de Guerre

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 06:40 PM

This is an interesting thread,,,I watched a show on Discovery or something about ancient artifacts, i.e., Egyptian, Mayan, etc. and the one of the main things that the museum people were concerned about was provenance. Being able to track a certain piece back through the ages to when it was first unearthed or discovered.

It made me think about the groupings in my own collection. I usually put together a three-ring binder of the research I've done on each vet in question but after watching that show I always add a "provenance" page where I try and trace the history of the group back as far as I can, in some cases back to when it first became available. It was in "so and so's" collection and then was sold to "whosits", etc., etc., until purchased by me on whatever date. Now, I know that this lineage could be faked, but combined with my research I feel that in years to come it will add value and validity to some of the items in my collection. Just my thoughts. http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/think.gif

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Edited by Croix de Guerre, 18 January 2009 - 06:41 PM.


#37 jeb137

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 06:22 AM

After reading this thread for a few days it's fairly plain to see that there are a lot of different ways to catalog a collection. I like the idea of seeing the different ways members have shared with us all.

A few years ago, after our last daugher moved out on her own, my wife and decided that we needed to document our things so that if the proverbal bus ever took us both out, the kids wouldn't just toss out, yard sale, or donate family items.

What we used was excel, we made collumns for what it is, what its current values is, what it originally cost (if we knew or what we paid for it), who it belonged to if it was a family item, or where/when we obtained it. We used tabs in excel for each area; Military, Coins, Family heirlooms, Toys, Books, etc. We included a picture where practable.

I think the bottom line here is "track you items any way that works for you, and would help someone out if your gone". Just keep the record updated, and backed up or copied, and make sure your family is aware that it's there.

#38 Sivart

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 08:37 PM

I have been using Frostbow Collection Manager 3, it is a great program that allows you to adjust individual fields to retain the info that is important to you.

#39 jon prince

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 05:48 AM

I'm afraid I can't add much other than to say that having recently moved my collection from being under my general household insurance policy into an insured collection in it's own right (doubling my monthly premiums in the process!) it rapidly dawned on me that keeping multiple copies of accurate information was vital. I spoke to the insurer and he stated they would want photographic and probably written proof of ownership of any item I claimed for aswell as proof of market value (something that seems difficult to do, especially if you don't have a receipt of purchase!), with any single item of high value also having to be specifically listed as such on my policy. If I couldn't provide ALL of this then they didn't have to pay and I have effectively wasted money by paying for insurance. I've never kept any sort of record of my collection before and I now have 15 years worth of buying to account for, without being able to remember what I paid for most of it! So all I'll say is even if a collection is small then for your own benefit start making a good record of it now as it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Married types may want to keep in under lock and key though lest the good lady wife starts getting ideas of bigger houses, exotic holidays or divorce proceedings :thumbsup:

On the up side I haven't bought a single item recently as the thought of adding even more items to the process gives me a headache.

#40 ww2vault

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 11:17 PM

Hmm, well since I first made my original post in this thread way back, I have re-designed my hard copy record system. Now, instead of writing all my items down in a notebook, I have designed a layout that I print out and plan on sticking into a three ring binder.

Since I am very creative with graphic design, I created what I think is a really eye pleasing record sheet design. The following photo that I have attached is of the Ebay Seller List sheet where I write in the required information and refer to the Ebay Sellers ID later on in my Item Record Sheet.

If anyone would like the original image files of the sheets that I have created just shoot me a PM. Your more then welcome to use the design, I only ask that when you receive compliments on how nice your record system looks, that you don't take the credit for yourself!! :lol:

- Jeff

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#41 ww2vault

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:22 PM

Here is a shot of the Item Record Sheet where I actually record the information of each item. Instead of each item only taking one row in a college ruled notebook, each item will now get one sheet of paper. It allows me to get more data on a item recorded and also in a really nice looking manner! :)

- Jeff

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#42 maddog1129

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 11:08 AM

That is a super nice form, Jeff. Any chance of getting an update on what you are doing now?

#43 Alonzo

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 11:43 AM

Nicely done form Jeff.
I set mine up on a columned (variable width) page that will have from 10 to 50 items per page.
So far the collection has passed the 4500 item mark and is growing steadily.
The need for both a compact and reasonably accurate ledger was the reason behind doing it this way.
The computer database is much more detailed including specification data and dates.
I tried a few of the commercial collectors programs and have not found any that suited my needs. So I designed my own.
All contributors to the thread have provided interesting insight to their individual needs.

#44 ww2vault

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:50 PM

Sorry for my absence guys! I was on a hiatus from collecting not long after my last post in this thread. Kinda ran out of room and was directing most of my money towards school and my car. Hehe. I have been using the same paper form of record keeping, but looking to also start an electronic copy to add some more detailed information.

I can see where trying to convert a huge collection onto records can be daunting if no system was in place prior. All I can say is that you should start somewhere and keeping track of an items provenience should be a high priority. As soon as you buy an item, try to find out where it came from and write any back story on it at all. Trust me, it comes in quite handy down the road and makes researching an item MUCH easier!

- Jeff

Edited by ww2vault, 26 January 2013 - 04:53 PM.


#45 nkomo

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 05:28 PM

Sorry for my absence guys! I was on a hiatus from collecting not long after my last post in this thread. Kinda ran out of room and was directing most of my money towards school and my car. Hehe. I have been using the same paper form of record keeping, but looking to also start an electronic copy to add some more detailed information.


- Jeff

HEY! Glad to see you back, Jeff!

#46 Bluehawk

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:41 PM

Having spent most of my adult life as a grey-skinned museum inventory mouse, the only suggestion I might add for anyone involved with this enterprise would be to, please, whenever and and as often as possible, add something in each photo which shows scale of the artifact.

Now I will shut up again, and return to my curatorial reveries.


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