Keeping track of one's collection
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Grandstanding Collector
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:26 am 
 

silver_beetle wrote:
I've noticed a trend: the more posts someone has, the less organized their collections seem to be.  :lol:


silver_beetle...that is so dead on in my case.  I estimate that my collection (counting magazines, which would be half the collection) must be somewhere around 500 items.

I have no idea where everything is and I rely totally on memory for condition and print runs and the like.

I have considered starting a spreadsheet...but where do I start?

Mark   :lol:


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Post Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:55 am 
 

Excel Spreadsheet for each part of my collection. (eg OD&D/BECMI/TSR Magazines/Other Magazines/Traveller/Other crap)

I sat and did it a few weeks ago and it took me a couple of nights, and a week or so tweaking it.

My collection stands at (from memory as I haven't got the stuff to hand) just under 500 items so i dread to think what serious collectors would have to go through to get organised.

My spreadsheet is, potentially, quite extensive with columns for all sorts of stuff (purchase date/price,condition,estimated value etc etc) - however I have only filled in the condition in for hings like OD&D and 1E rule books.
I guess I could fill in all of these blanks later but it's not really likely if I'm honest.

I'm pleased I did it though - It was a lot of work for a computer moron like myself, with no experience of spreadsheets whatsoever. If I wanted to I guess I could merge all the docs,spread them out, add pictures,flip them over, colour them purple .....whatever took my fancy.

One thing to note that my 'collection' is only the stuff I would never part with - there's so much oher stuff knocking around - ready to resell, not sorted yet,not sure if I want to collect, might be interesting, just want to read such-and-such article - the list goes on.

this means that while my 'collection' is neatly boxed and sorted and safely stashed away, all the rest of the stuff is just about everywhere!! This is a particular nightmare with the reselling when I come to find somrthing thats been BINed from my ebay shop. I start in the cupboard, then go to the cupboard in the storage area just off the kitchen, then into the loft, then the boot of the car, under the bed,and finally in my locker at work. Great system except it's not quite that limited - I was about to refund a chaps money a while ago when I had a flash of insoiration and remember wher I had put his WRG book - under the seat cushions of the sofa  8O.

I'd love to have a room like IO(or a few others here) but without a lottery win it's not going to happen - in the meantime I'm content that a lot of gaming stuff passes through my hands


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Post Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:38 am 
 

I use a Word document for each part. Role Aids is one, T&T is one, JG, etc. I have 21 categories.
It's a pretty shitty system, but who cares.


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Post Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:28 am 
 

Safe storage is great and all, and I own a few white magazine boxes for the purpose.  However, I've found recently that I want to be able to look at my stuff frequently/easily, especially cover art.  What do people use to display modules and such?  

Right now I've got a clear plastic three-tiered office "inbox/outbox" dealie on top of my book case, showcasing some of my favorites.  With the light low (I keep it fairly dim, to avoid light damage) from more than a couple feet away it looks like the modules are floating in midair.  

Primitive, I know, which is why I ask..  There must be a better way.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:41 pm 
 

I have a real problem in this area.  I'm not very good at keeping track of what I buy, and sometimes buy or bid on things I already own.  An Excel spreadsheet seems like a good way to do it.  Now if I could just find an afternoon to catalogue the stuff... :D


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Post Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:07 pm 
 

i'm a spreadsheet bloke as well.

my main vice is prog rock so i use the same system for d&d&D (that is d&d and derivatives) as I do for LPs

different worksheets for OD&D rule books & supplements, AD&D modules, chaosium, merp, rolemaster, arduin, bard games, dimension six, companions, columbia, judges guild, palladium, ad&d rule books, midkemia, runequest, you get the drift

since i read all the modules & try to play as well (rip that SW off!!) backing boards & covers kept in magazine archive folders in my study are the order of the day


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Post Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:59 pm 
 

FWIW, I use Google's spreadsheet to keep track of my stuff.

This has come in handy since I've started collecting pre-1983 issues of The Dragon.

Google is handy for me since I can edit it from home, the office, Starbucks, the local watering hole, etc.

Keith


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Post Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:56 pm 
 

This thread reminds me of......

Wanna run wit my crew, hah?
Rule cyberspace and crunch numbers like I do?
They call me the king of the spreadsheets
Got 'em printed out on my bedsheets

Lyrics copyright Weird Al.
:)

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:11 am 
 

Mine is on spreadsheet too (Microsoft Works v8.0), and the only way I can keep it up is to put them on the spreadsheet ASAP after I buy them or receive them in the mail.  That number is now . . . let me see here . . .over 350 modules, sets, etc. (not including dice in all sizes, shapes, # of sides, etc.)--which now take up four 30-gallon plastic tubs (with more items not in tubs yet) and one treasure chest full of dice.  There is NO WAY that I could remember what I have without having it on spreadsheet.
     I only put down module code (if any), title, level, # of copies (2 or more); on the second edition and later, it's title, domain (Greyhawk, WOTC, etc.), level, # of copies.  I even keep track of where the modules come from; right now they have come from 40 U.S. states, five Canadian provinces, plus England and Japan.  (This started late, so not all of the places were input originally.)

  


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:19 pm 
 

I think this is an interesting question and have appreciated most of the responses.  I am a little surprised that more of you don't have an up-to-date catalog of your holdings.  The perspecive I look at this is from the insurance and replacement side.  My insurance company requires a list and sometimes photographs of 'collectables' in the case of catastrophe that requires replacement.  Without lists and photographs, it is not impossible to secure a fair settlement but the burden of proof regarding what you have is much more imposing without them.

I live in no glass house, mind you.  My wife and I update our list of belongings, including collectables as best we can each year around tax time.  We burn a CD with this information along with digital photographs that we have taken and then put it into the flame-proof safe for safe keeping.  We always forget to catalog things and it is a bitch of a job that neither of us look forward to.  One year we found that the replacement value of our belongings grew beyond our coverage and had to call our agent to bump our coverage up a bit.

We are more motivated this year than ever, though, because a huge wind storm blew through our area this last year and many roof were removed with nearly total distruction inside these structures.  We were lucky and only sustained roof damage.

Please note this disclaimer:
Please note I do not represent any insurance company, have relatives or know someone that does.  In truth I struggle with the concept but accept it as a sad fact of life. :)

Andy

  

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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:23 pm 
 

Boreas wrote:I think this is an interesting question and have appreciated most of the responses.  I am a little surprised that more of you don't have an up-to-date catalog of your holdings.  The perspecive I look at this is from the insurance and replacement side.  My insurance company requires a list and sometimes photographs of 'collectables' in the case of catastrophe that requires replacement.  Without lists and photographs, it is not impossible to secure a fair settlement but the burden of proof regarding what you have is much more imposing without them.

I live in no glass house, mind you.  My wife and I update our list of belongings, including collectables as best we can each year around tax time.  We burn a CD with this information along with digital photographs that we have taken and then put it into the flame-proof safe for safe keeping.  We always forget to catalog things and it is a bitch of a job that neither of us look forward to.  One year we found that the replacement value of our belongings grew beyond our coverage and had to call our agent to bump our coverage up a bit.

We are more motivated this year than ever, though, because a huge wind storm blew through our area this last year and many roof were removed with nearly total distruction inside these structures.  We were lucky and only sustained roof damage.

Please note this disclaimer:
Please note I do not represent any insurance company, have relatives or know someone that does.  In truth I struggle with the concept but accept it as a sad fact of life. :)

Andy


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 4:05 pm 
 

Yes I am.  I know there are a few of us Washingtonians here at Acaeum.

  


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:54 pm 
 

obiter wrote:i'm a spreadsheet bloke as well.

my main vice is prog rock so i use the same system for d&d&D (that is d&d and derivatives) as I do for LPs

different worksheets for OD&D rule books & supplements, AD&D modules, chaosium, merp, rolemaster, arduin, bard games, dimension six, companions, columbia, judges guild, palladium, ad&d rule books, midkemia, runequest, you get the drift

since i read all the modules & try to play as well (rip that SW off!!) backing boards & covers kept in magazine archive folders in my study are the order of the day


Another music collector! Yay! I collect live recordings, and all of them are catalogged online at www.phishhook.com. I want to start trackign them locally (i.e. in a spreadsheet onmy PC), but with the size of my collection, it's going to be quite an undertaking.

One thing I haven't done is included my JG & Role-Aids stuff. I probably should, huh? It'd make my collection seem that much bigger.  :)


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 2:17 pm 
 

Boreas wrote:I think this is an interesting question and have appreciated most of the responses.  I am a little surprised that more of you don't have an up-to-date catalog of your holdings.  The perspecive I look at this is from the insurance and replacement side.  My insurance company requires a list and sometimes photographs of 'collectables' in the case of catastrophe that requires replacement.  Without lists and photographs, it is not impossible to secure a fair settlement but the burden of proof regarding what you have is much more imposing without them.

I live in no glass house, mind you.  My wife and I update our list of belongings, including collectables as best we can each year around tax time.  We burn a CD with this information along with digital photographs that we have taken and then put it into the flame-proof safe for safe keeping.  We always forget to catalog things and it is a bitch of a job that neither of us look forward to.  One year we found that the replacement value of our belongings grew beyond our coverage and had to call our agent to bump our coverage up a bit.

We are more motivated this year than ever, though, because a huge wind storm blew through our area this last year and many roof were removed with nearly total distruction inside these structures.  We were lucky and only sustained roof damage.

Please note this disclaimer:
Please note I do not represent any insurance company, have relatives or know someone that does.  In truth I struggle with the concept but accept it as a sad fact of life. :)

Andy



I have had more than one insurance company flat out tell me they wouldn't insure my more valuable D&D items, end of story. Their line was basically they dont' recognize those items as collectibles.  These are major insurance companies, btw.  They will however insure items such as stamp, rare books, coins, comic collections, IF a certified adjuster is able to go through and grade the items independently. You wouldn't believe the cost of that!  I declined for my comics except for the 3-4 most valuable.
  My youngest brother has worked in the insurance game for over a decade.  He has confided to me that NO MATTER WHAT THE COMPANY TELLS ME, that he doubts they would pay a claim on stuff like D&D valuables.  They would just flat out reject something like a white box set being worth say $150.  It would be incumbent on me to present to them why it's worth that much, which I could probably do given enough time and effort, for example catalouging auction sales. He has told me even a respected site like the Aceaum would very likely be rejected by the insurance agents as proof of worth.
 All this having been said, it really depends on what company you use, and what kind of person you can get to talk to if catastrophic damage occurs. I have heard of people getting paid off immediately for collectibles ruined in a storm, and I have heard of companys initially refusing to pay a penny, then offering an insulting sum as a counter offer (Ok, we'll give you 5 cents each for all the Silver Age comics you had in the warehouse that burned down).  
   Remember, after Katrina, State Farm was successfully sued because of the sleeziness of their tactics, including telling those who had wind damage coverage that flooding did most of the damage to their houses, while teling those with flood insurance that the culprit was wind damage (they just lost millions in a successful suit against them by the stat of Mississippi for such skuzz ball tactics).  I can see your friendly neighborhood insurance agent paying you off happily for your lost D&D stuff and handing you a check for 10 grand, I can also see him laughing his ass off at your misfortune and refusing to ante up because there is no "established" value for your items.
    If I can in the next few days I'll try to get my little brother to write up an insider's view of this and post it here....he's pretty savvy and can probably give some good tips, and maybe some ideas for insuring this stuff that will stand scrutiny. In my case, he's told me to maintain better records, but mostly just to bump my existing coverage to the highest level I can WITHOUT declaring my collectibles...in most cases, raising your limit from 40 grand to say 60 grand will cover all that stuff anyway.  Besides, who needs furniture?  If something catastrophic occurs I'll definitely replace my modules first.... :wink:

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 2:59 pm 
 

bombadil wrote:I have a real problem in this area.  I'm not very good at keeping track of what I buy, and sometimes buy or bid on things I already own.  An Excel spreadsheet seems like a good way to do it.  Now if I could just find an afternoon to catalogue the stuff... :D


Hello All,

I started this task a few weeks ago, as I started losing track & bid on or even worse, won items I had already acquired. I used Excel, which I love and work with all the time . . .sorry :roll:  So, I thought you guys might like a tip or two to save some time. I did not want to type all of the items, so I went to the Acaeum site with the list of items and then Copied & Pasted them into Excel. This takes a few minutes for all the categories.

Now the problem is that you have all of the infomation for a row in one cell. Here's the fix: 1st, highlight or select the pasted colum, then go to Data (top menu line), then select Text to Columns, which gives you a Wizard (even wonder if programers played D&D? :wink: ), leave "Delimited" checked, then click Next, on Step 2 UN-check Tab and select Space in the Delimiter area, now click Next, and now in Step 3 just click Finish. Do not worry about the other selections.

This will now have separated the names out into individual cells in the same row. Now you just have to do some sorting from the far right, working inwards to delete the stuff you don't want. After you finished that, a simple formula in Excel called "Concatenate" will recombine the item names into one cell. It would look like this from the most right column that is empty: =CONCATENATE(A1," ",B1," ",C1," ",D1," ",E1). The "  " places a space between the words so you get the full name in one cell looking like: "The War Rafts of Kron" instead of "TheWarRaftsofKron".

Once you're done with this, just highlight or select this column with the Concatenate formula and select Copy, then Paste Special (in Edit menu), and then just select "Values" from the pop-up window & click "OK". Now you have a nice clean list of items and you can delete the junk to the left.

If people want, I could email or post ( :?: ) this Excel file here, as I could just make a copy with the names. It unfortunately does not include Boxed Sets, as there was no list that I could find. If people want this, please let me know how I can make it available for everyone.

Hope this Helps & Happy Easter,


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 3:56 am 
 

Hi Paul,

I keep all mine on an Excel spreadsheet, so would be interested in comparing the one you've mentioned with what I have already. Mine's very basic with the items just listed down and plugged into a new line when I get them.

Brendon


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:20 am 
 

I seem to be the only one that uses a database program - Microsoft Access. It is pretty easy to use and it comes with Microsoft office.

Once your items are in a database programme, you can print out and / or cross-reference any elements on your list.

You can run all manner of queries such as total values, all items written by Gary Gygax, all items in your collection that are less than a certain quality etc etc. I would highly recommend it.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm 
 

I'd love to learn how to use Access, especially as it has come up in my last two job interviews. It seems like a program with a steep initial learning curve, though, whereas Excel is more of a "jump right in" program. That could be just me, though ... but I do find it interesting that probably 75 percent of people in my peer group can use Excel, but only 10 or 15 percent can use Access.

Any advice or resources you'd recommend? Or should I pretend it's no worse than Excel and just jump right in?  :)

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:16 pm 
 

I use Excel for my collection only because it's small (the collection), but I know Access fairly well also.  It's pretty easy to learn, really, and I highly recommend it for someone with a bigger collection or someone who needs to keep track of more pieces of information about each item.  I'm sure you could just "jump right in" with it, at least the basic functions.  The best way might be to just open Access, import your current Excel spreadsheet, and start messing around.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:32 pm 
 

Radovarl wrote:The best way might be to just open Access, import your current Excel spreadsheet, and start messing around.

Ooooooh ... importing! I didn't realize you could do that; I like it! I might have to give that a shot.

Radovarl wrote:I highly recommend it for someone with a bigger collection

Sadly, that is not me. But I'm assuming Access would still work for small collections.  :)

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