Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Opinions & Advice
  How do you keep track of your space collection?

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   How do you keep track of your space collection?
Gonzo
Member

Posts: 506
From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 04-28-2012 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How do other collectors keep track of what they have collected? When you are somewhere and see a patch (for example) you don't think you may have, how do you know?

In the past I've purchased several patches only to get home to find that I already had one or more of the ones I just bought! While that in itself may be a bad thing, my intent was to expand my collection, not duplicate it.

How do other collectors keep track of what they have collected? When you are somewhere and see a patch you don't think you may have, how do you know? In the past I've purchased several patches only to get home to find that I already had one or more of the ones I just bought! While that in itself may be a bad thing, my intent was to expand my collection, not duplicate it.

I've got my own solution that works for me. It also allows me to quickly find a patch if I want to look at it. But I'm curious what others do. I'll gladly explain my method later if anyone is interested.

So, how do you keep track?

By the way, in an unrelated sort of way, how big are other collections?

Thanks! I'm sure this will help other collectors trying to "organize" their collections.

Spaceguy5
Member

Posts: 421
From: Pampa, TX, US
Registered: May 2011

posted 04-28-2012 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While definitely not the most ideal way, I just try to keep a mental note of what I already have. For me, the hardest thing to keep track of are photos/documents/publications as I've bought many in bulk and haven't had a chance to read most of them. I started making a table in Notepad of document name/date/ID, although I still need to update it. Most of what I buy is online though, so I can at least check before I go through with a purchase.

randy
Member

Posts: 1443
From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 04-28-2012 11:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have tried to tried to keep a mental note of what I have. The hardest thing for me to keep track of is the autographs (autopen and original) that I have.

Recently, when I was able to move my collection back out to two rooms, I rediscovered some Challenger crew autographs (autopen I'm sure) that I'd forgotten about.

And I have purchased a book or two that I wasn't sure I already had. When I found I had two, I gave one to my grandson to help him start his collection.

My collection takes up two rooms in my basement, and now that I can actually see what I have, it's a lot easier to keep track of what I have in my collection.

freshspot
Member

Posts: 295
From: Lexington, MA, USA
Registered: Dec 2005

posted 04-29-2012 05:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for freshspot   Click Here to Email freshspot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have two ways to keep track:
  1. I'm a Mac user and have software called "Home Inventory" which is a terrific little program where I enter the item, the price paid, date, and then upload images such as a photo of the item and a receipt. If the value is different from what I pay (such as a change over the years based on auction results) I can enter that too.

    What's great about this is selling items and dealing with the capital gains (usually) and losses (sometimes). Probably most importantly, I just print the entire database as a PDF and send to my friendly insurance agent (who is also a cS member) for proper insurance coverage. He keeps a copy and I store a copy in the cloud. There is a similar PC program from a different company but I forget the name.

  2. My website has some (but not all) of my items listed and I find myself going to it frequently especially when I want to email a link to something in my collection to someone.
I cannot say enough on the importance of keeping an electronic record of your collection especially if it represents a significant portion of your net worth.

Ross
Member

Posts: 394
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 04-29-2012 08:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I mainly collect covers although I do have other items as well such as stamps, signatures and patches. As I have thousands of covers and my memory for details is not that good, I've used a database program from the early days.

My original program was actually written in Basic and could be modified (gee, that seems a long time ago). Today I used Microsoft's Access which does an excellent job. Although for beginners a less complex program would probably be better.

Originally I had to print out pages and pages of data when I went hunting for new items. And I could only take data from part of my collection due to the shear volume of data.

Today, it is much easier with notebook computers, netbooks and tablets. I can now take my entire database and easily find any entry. I could even scan my covers and put that in the database, if I had the energy and time.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3240
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-29-2012 08:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
RFID chips implanted in each artifact (GPS ankle bracelets are to unsightly)

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 04-29-2012 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I scan or photograph every item as I receive it. I then enter info about it into an Excel spreadsheet which has fields for the name of the artifact, mission, serial numbers, names associated with the item (i.e., if it belonged to an identifiable worker or astronaut), whether it was signed or not, whether it was flown or not, purchase price, source, date of purchase, and a comments field. I hyperlink the item title to the photo or scan of the item. I also note where the item is filed (e.g., which file folder and bin, or if it is in my safety deposit box). If there's a context photo for the item or a COA, I also note where those are located.

Regarding your second question, I have over 1,500 individual artifacts in my collection. I started this spreadsheet when I had about 100 items, and it has served me well as my collection has grown.

If you already have a sizable collection, it will take a while to enter the info, but it's well worthwhile. Just break the task down (e.g., do 30 items a day) and it will be done pretty quickly. It's a good way to reacquaint yourself to all those items you've gathered over the years!

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3206
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-29-2012 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by freshspot:
I have software called "Home Inventory" which is a terrific little program where I enter the item, the price paid, date, and then upload images such as a photo of the item and a receipt.
Thanks for that Dave. I just checked this out as an App and it says that you can create and sync between iPhone/iPad, Mac and PC. Just downloaded the free "lite" version to test. I've been looking for a way to inventories my 300 or so signed books.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1772
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 04-29-2012 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can you export a PDF or something like that from this program? Like others above I've created a Word document with photos of everything and that makes it huge - but you can output and compress files that are reasonably sized.

I like the look of this but want the ability to export the entire inventory, not just store it on my computer or tablet. Actually the ability to output "furniture" from "space collection" would be worthwhile too.

By the way, I could not find the free version mentioned above. For a computer version of the app it seems to be $14.99. I guess this would include linked versions for your other devices.

Has anyone tried the Home Contents app? This looks a little simpler but is still appealing.

kyra
Member

Posts: 519
From: Louisville CO US
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 04-30-2012 12:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A simple list in MS Excel is effective. Just format all the cells as text. Create columns for where and when you purchased the item, and even notations of its condition.

The reason I don't use something specialized is that I'm concerned about data ending up useless and having to redo it if the software company goes belly up or ending up not compatible in the future. File formats for common spreadsheets, pdf, jpegs, and bitmaps are "stable" for archivial long haul - even for portions of your collection that are virtual.

Another reason is I'm not fond of some types of software that "link" and interconnect with other systems. In this day and age theres somthing to be said for security and data privacy.

freshspot
Member

Posts: 295
From: Lexington, MA, USA
Registered: Dec 2005

posted 04-30-2012 02:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for freshspot   Click Here to Email freshspot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With the Home Inventory program, you can create and name categories of collectable (I have ones like "flown hardware" and "signed books") and you can delete the defaults (like "furniture"). You can then create a PDF of your entire collection or one item or a complete category.

Larry McGlynn (who is active on these boards) is my insurance agent. If any other cSers live in MA I recommend him.

Here is a video of Larry and I talking about this software and the importance of creating a record of your collection for insurance purposes.

teachspace
Member

Posts: 65
From: river edge, nj usa
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 04-30-2012 08:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for teachspace   Click Here to Email teachspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I use a photo sharing site called Smugmug. I am in the process of taking pictures and scanning all of my items. I have about 6,000 photos on the site (there is no limit) and I'm about half way through the project. I've been collecting for over 50 years!

Here is the site if you have any interest in looking at it.

Chariot412
Member

Posts: 105
From: Lockport, NY, 14094
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 04-30-2012 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chariot412   Click Here to Email Chariot412     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Easy, I look up at a small nook in one bookshelf in my library.

Gonzo
Member

Posts: 506
From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 04-30-2012 09:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My system is very similar to Kyra's.

When I first started collecting years and years ago, I kept everything handwritten on paper. I also kept all my patches in a notebook. Well, this became impractical very quickly.

When I was in college I did a MS Access databse as a senior project. It got me the grade, but as it was MS Access and an app that I created, it too became pretty much a pain to use. I put a lot of work into it and there was a lot I could do with the data, but it was just a pain to use as I had to go to the app anytime I wanted something.

I then got the idea of using Excel and that's what I still use today. I have seperate worksheets (all in one workbook) for related patches. For example, I have seperate worksheets for NASA patches (NASA specific like the meatball, worm, etc.), Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, STS, etc. Each of these also have a "Related" patch worksheet as well. The main worksheet is strictly for the missions themselves while the related worksheets are for variations, anniversary patches, etc. So there's an Apollo Related worksheet for example. I also have an "Inventory Summary" worksheet that lists the totals (count wise) for each area. I can go to it to find I have 17 NASA patches, 6 Mercury, 93 STS patches, 32 Apollo Related, etc.

If I see a patch I don't think I have, I use this spreadsheet and because it's divided to area, it's easy to see if I have the patch I'm considering.

My patches are then kept according to area in storage boxes, so if I want to see a patch that I actually have, I take the serial number for that patch from the spreasheet and go to the storage box where it's stored.

This may not be the best method, but it works for me. I too have looked at some of the inventory programs and I agree that they are probably limited for long term use. Spreadsheets on the other hand will always be usable (we've been using them for many, many decades now for accounting!).

Oh, and to share my answer to the question, I currently have just over 300 patches, with another 32 "other items" like coins, etc. At least according to my summary worksheet.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2014 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement