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iccoins's Blog

04 Nov 2018

How To Catalog Your Collection

Coins | iccoins

One of the most important parts of coin collecting is to organize, catalog, and inventory your collection. This is important for you, so you know what your investment is, what you have, what you still need, etc. This is also important for later in life, when your collection is inherited by another family member. Chances are, the person inheriting the collection is not going to know much, if anything, about numismatics and may think that you were just "some old person with mental problems who put useless coins in a safe." No, I am not suggesting that older people have mental problems. I am only suggesting that that may be what some people think when inheriting a collection, since they know nothing about it. The person inheriting the collection may end up taking the coins to the bank, or maybe to a pawn shop, or a thrift store, or maybe they know enough to at least take it to a coin dealer. If you have cataloged and inventoried your collection properly, others will have little problem finding out what the coin is, how much it's worth, etc. Most of the time, a catalog includes the following information about each coin: Year, Mint Mark, Type, Grade, Purchase Price, Purchase Date, and sometimes, Estimated Value. Here are the different ways to go about this. 

1.) Cheap Notebook 

One of the cheapest ways to catalog a collection is to use a simple notebook, which can be had for under $1 at many stores! You can track as much, or as little information as you'd like in whatever way you want. If you have a small collection, this may be perfect. While the notebook route is great (and that's what I started out with), once a collection grows, it becomes much more difficult to handle and doing it by hand makes it almost impossible to reorganize or rearrange your catalog if necessary. 

2.) Spreadsheet 

If you use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets for work, you are probably very familiar with spreadsheets. They can be made as long as you want and are easy to edit, sort, and organize to fit any new coins with ease. You're not limited in what you can keep track of and you can often even include pictures, but spreadsheets are generally used only for information. You can even create different tabs for your different sets of coins. As an example, you could have a tab with your "Franklin Half Dollars" and another with your "Morgan Silver Dollars." There are also free alternatives, like OpenOffice and LibreOffice. Once I discovered the notebook didn't work well for my collection, I switched to the Excel route temporarily. (Yes, I've used all these different forms of cataloging). 

3.) Checklist 

checklist can go along with any other type of cataloging, whether it be a notebook, spreadsheet, software, etc. Checklists are great to see what you have and what you still need, but unfortunately, do not generally have options for purchase date, purchase price, grade, and other more specific information. You can make your own checklist easily on a piece of paper or in your notebook, but there is also a book specifically related to check listing, The Official Red Book: Checklist and Record Book of United States and Canadian Coins. 

4.) Software 

This is where you have loads of options, choices, etc. There are many different pieces of software you can use for cataloging your collection, so you should find what fits you best. There are paid (and open source) options that are made specifically for coin collections, such as Collector's Assistant and OpenNumismat, that are both available for the computer. If you want something more mobile or online based, again, you have options. You can go with a mobile app, like US Coin Plus, which is an app I used to use. Other great options include the PCGS Set Registry, which you can actually use to catalog any coin, regardless of it being graded by PCGS. An option that is less conventional, but one that I like nonetheless, is social media cataloging, which is what I switched to and probably will stay with. Snupps is a great application for collectors of anything and is a very convenient way to catalog your collection. If you don't want other people snooping around your collection, you can set your account to Private. This option is great because you can have all the data about your collection in one app. This way, if you're at a show or a dealer, you can open the app to see exactly what you have and what you need. One of the best options with software is that many can be used wherever you are and you can insert pictures, something you cannot reasonably do with a notebook. 

Comments

Kepi

Level 6

I use a notebook and computer. I'm far behind in my cataloging too... ; ) haha

Numinerd9

Level 5

Um, did anyone notice something exactly like this that we created and posted to the ANA website under our "TOOLS" section? I made a template of an inventory spreadsheet (for Excel) not too long ago that is available to download for FREE to anyone! It has several columns, many of which you can manipulate and adjust to suit your personal collection's needs - and the numerical columns will even add up the totals of your holdings at the bottom! Check more out via the following link; cut and paste it into your browser, or just check out the tools section on the ANA website: https://www.money.org/tools

Longstrider

Level 6

I write my inventory down and use excel. That being said, I am so far behind it's not funny. Thanks.

iccoins

Level 4

Thanks :) I try to catalog, but it's happened a few times where I buy a coin, think "I'll inventory it later," end up removing the price tag or taking it out of the dealer's flip before putting it in my catalog and realize "I don't know what I paid for this!"

Mike

Level 7

I have two books with all the information. Don't trust putting what I own out there. If it on a site it's out there. Books work fine I can describe each coin what I paid for were it's located if it's raw or slabed and if there are any identifying marks on the label or the coin. I started a long time ago and it works just fine. Thanks for the site I'm sure there are many who will use it. Thanks for your work. Mike.

iccoins

Level 4

Thanks :) Some people aren't comfortable with using a site, while others are.

CoinLady

Level 6

Good idea. Thanks for this blog. Something every collector should do

iccoins

Level 4

Thanks :) I agree.

Google sheets is a very easy way to do it, and it is very free.Thanks for this nice article, I loved it, many people forget to do this when they have a collection, but it is indeed very important.

iccoins

Level 4

Google Sheets is a very good option indeed!

"SUN"

Level 6

I created a speadsheet to keep an inventory for my collection. All my cents start with a number "1", nickels "5" and so on. I use "C" for currency. What ever works best for each collector.

iccoins

Level 4

That sounds like a nice way to do it. Thanks for the comment :)

Many

Level 4

A very useful note, I have my own notebook checklist.

iccoins

Level 4

Thanks :) A simple, but good way to catalog.

My inventory includes a description of the coin, including NGC or PCGS slab numbers. I also include when I purchased it and for how much. I keep a disc copy among legal papers so my heirs can find it, and write down stuff like if the coin is rare, or if I just collect it "for fun." Always assume the reader will not know what they are looking at, even through you are.

iccoins

Level 4

Sounds like a great way to catalog :)

Jonas's Coins

Level 5

I use google sheets, it is free and I can pull it up on my phone.

iccoins

Level 4

Great choice :)

It's Mokie

Level 6

Absolutely agree, having said that, I have no inventory and no idea what I actually have. It seems like everytime I dive into my collection, I find something I forgot I owned. I am 60, my Daughter is middle schooler, I better get cracking. Thanks I C!!!!!

iccoins

Level 4

Thanks for the comment :) It sounds like you better start cataloging!

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