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huntssurplus

Cataloging Your Collection

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Hey,

 

I have been thinking for months now about attempting to cataloging my collection not just so I know everything I have but for insurance purposes as well. However, with just the amount of "stuff" I have even thinking about it makes me cringe. I'm wondering if any fellow members here on the forum have taken the great undertaking of cataloging their collection. Now My collection isn't small but I have seen many of the collections here on the forum where members have literal garages full of militaria so if any of you guys can do it then maybe it will give me the motivation I need to catalog everything I have. And if you have done it and have some tips I would love to hear them.

 

Hunt


I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.

 

Looking for items related to:

-The Aleutian Island Campaign of WW2, Alaskan Theater, Alaska Defense Command, and more specifically the Battle of Attu

-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

-Smaller WW2 Groupings

-7th Infantry Division Items

-WW2 Photos and Letters (all branches, theaters, services, etc)

 

^^ PM ME!!

 

Instagram: @surplus_central https://instagram.com/surplus_central/

eBay: http://www.ebay.com/usr/giovachm

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I've attempted something similar in the past but because I collect mainly small items and most aren't really monetarily valuable I gave up after a couple hours. The time to sort and catalogue something is not worth it unless the items have significant value in my opinion. Plus who amongst us hasn't experienced the joy of refinding something awesome that you forgot you purchased years ago! The only minimal thing I've done is to write down the names and information of soldiers who's groupings I now care for and putting that with the lots of items that belonged to them. Just my 2 cents...

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Just do it! The hardest part is starting, but once you get going you can get a lot done fairly quickly. The problem then becomes keeping up with it. I keep an excel spreadsheet that is backed up on an external harddrive. I have small tags tied to each uniform article with corresponding numbers, for example a jacket, pants and hat set would be U0031-1, U0031-2, U0031-3. In the spreadsheet I note anything outstanding about it and who it is ID'd to. I also note what the value is if I were to try to sell or if it burns and I want to claim it. Groupings I try to keep in drawers or boxes and are similarly labeled.

 

An easy way to start is to temporarily relocate EVERYTHING. If you have this stuff in your closet, put it all out in your room. Or, take it outside and let it get sun. Then you're forced to put it all back in a day or a weekend.

 

Honestly, I keep the spreadsheet so if anything happens to me my wife will have a reference of what to sell things for so she's not left with a bunch of moth eaten wool. :) I am many months and many items behind, so while I talk about how easy it is, it is just as easy to fall behind. But, I have most everything and most of the true 'keepers' catalogued so it will all service its purpose if needed.

 

Rob


Exhausting & Dirty Work



Interested in buying identified or re-searchable Korean War uniforms, groupings, medals and more.

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Hunt, I've thought about cataloging my collection, mainly because I don't keep grouping items in one place....I fear one day not remembering what came with what.....

 

I have thought about using tags like they use in antique stores for example....The ones with the strings attached.....Put one on each item along with a reference number....A group item starting with a "G" prefix and individual items starting with an "I".....Grouping prefixes adding a number to reference which particular grouping.....I only have a few groupings, so this wouldn't be extensive...Than put on a master list that can be kept on my home computer...Hope this makes sense....Bodes

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Thanks for the responses so far! Most of my collection are uniforms and field gear so as you can imagine I have a few duplicates of some items. I recently moved a lot of my collection into a new closet I cleaned out as I was running out of space! I wanted to catalog all of that stuff, but I forget and only remembered after I had already put most of it away... I guess one of these weekends are start knocking it out in increments until I have all of it down. Good Idea to tag everything with a designation so you can find it in the list though. And having the prefix if part of a group is smart also. Although for the much smaller items it might be harder to tag them, but I'd also like to add a picture as well to the item so I can more easily identify as well if the tag was to come lose or something. I'll get to work drawing up a plan here soon I guess and see if I can actually implement it!

Hunt


I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.

 

Looking for items related to:

-The Aleutian Island Campaign of WW2, Alaskan Theater, Alaska Defense Command, and more specifically the Battle of Attu

-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

-Smaller WW2 Groupings

-7th Infantry Division Items

-WW2 Photos and Letters (all branches, theaters, services, etc)

 

^^ PM ME!!

 

Instagram: @surplus_central https://instagram.com/surplus_central/

eBay: http://www.ebay.com/usr/giovachm

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I have a couple of ways that I have inventoried some of my collection. And yes, like the bulk of us, I am behind schedule. I have some in an excel file and others in a Powerpoint format. The Excel file is for the books, field manuals, technical manuals, magazines, etc. since they are easily identifiable by their title. For other things a picture is worth a thousand words. I take a picture of the item, multiple pics if it is required, and then paste it in a Powerpoint presentation file along with a basic description of what it is and the amount that I paid for it or what i believe it to be worth at the time. I will also include any other pertinent information along with it as needed.

 

The Powerpoint format also works well if you have a grouping or a bunch of smalls too. Usually a group photo will work and then you can simply paste a number on the object in the picture and write a simple description and value.

 

Digital photos are cheap and you can take as many as you like!

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I have tried and failed several times to take a complete inventory of my collection. We are planning to move in the near future and I figured when it is time to pack everything up, I'll just start writing everything down as I put it in the box.


Always looking for WW1 28th Division; anything, papers, field gear, uniforms, etc.

donation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

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Here an example from my collection catalog, in addition i always keep high resolution images of the item for reference. I tend to only catalog higher value items over a certain price range.

 

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CDub


My Military collectibles website with Special Forces Gallery: https://rpjmilitaria.com

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Luckily I started this in the very beginning of collecting. I guess the best advise I can give is to keep a log with corresponding inventory numbers on the items as the items enter and leave your collection and stay up on it. Once it falls behind, many tend to just forget about it altogether.

 

I can't tell you how many collectors I've met that have said; "Well it's my families problem after I'm gone". And all I can think of is it all being sold in a garage sale for pennies on the dollar.

 

The things I like to keep track of in my inventory logs are;

  • Date of purchase
  • Who and where I purchased the item(s) and any contact information
  • How much I paid
  • Estimated value (if different)
  • Good item description
  • Photo of item
  • Any known history to the item
  • Any research completed
  • and if there is a research file to go with it.

 

 

The benefits of a cataloged inventory;

  • Insurance purposes
  • ID if stolen
  • If something happens to me, will help the family to ID and sell items
  • And most of all, fun to look back at what you had / have and what you paid over time.

 

Troy


USMC 2/2 Fox Co 0311 & 1st Recon Bn Delta Co. 0321. 1986 - 1995 (Desert Storm 90/91)

US Army Long Range Surveillance Co F 425th INF ABN LRS Team 1-6 2003 - 2005 (Iraqi Freedom 03/04)

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I started a system for tracking my headgear collection using an Excel spreadsheet and paper hanging tags. The tag is hung from the left side button, chin strap loop on helmets, or safety pinned inside overseas and patrol caps with a brief description (USN officer's cap, khaki, 7 1/4) and a number (like US123). The number corresponds to the line on the spreadsheet with the full description (and if it's named), where I bought it, when, and price. Whenever I get a new hat, I make a tag and give it the next number on the list, unless I sold one and there's a blank line to be filled in.


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