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Ancients Collection Organizing Advice??


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I’m looking for guidance on how to best put my collection in some type of sequence and order.  I have just over 300 coins and growing at this point, running the gamut from the early coin-making era in Greece to the fall of the Western Roman Empire.  The collection continues past that point in time, but so far that era doesn’t pose as vexing a challenge when making a spreadsheet!

Is there a generally accepted list of issuers and regions that I should consider adopting when I organize my collection and my spreadsheet?  I notice that the auction houses seem to follow similar — but not identical — ordering protocols.  Is there a good master list out there somewhere, the more inclusive the better, that anyone can point me to?

I don’t want to sink a lot of effort into a spreadsheet inventory only to have to greatly overhaul it — likely one row at a time — down the road.  Thank you for any suggestions you may have!

 

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My spreadsheet ordering was based on assumptions I made about the collection as it was when I started the computer file around 1988.  I followed the Sear Greek order for Greek dividing them into G0 through G9 and Romans R0 through RZ based on my estimations of how many coins fit in the periods.  My numbers would be meaningless for most people because I allowed RE through RJ dividing up Septimius Severus as fit my interest but lumped all the Augustus through Domitian coin to RB.  Other two letter codes divided up 'Other' coins  in an order that made sense then to me (the only viewer of the codes).  These letter codes were divided into four digit numbers that followed and coins were assigned meaningless numbers that sorted them as I wanted for that type.  I wish I had used five digits because things got tight when I started buying late Romans.  Sorting on these fields that need not show on a report allowed things to be in an order as I chose for that period.  As you are facing now, I had to make guesses as to what I would want in 35 years.  Overall I was happy with most but new books reassigning some things like Parthians made a mess of my coins ordered by Sellwood.  Every coin got a number based on its position in the sort scheme followed by a separator that distinguished the photo type and a four digit accession number (thank goodness I never approached 9999 coins).  Below is one coin known to me as rk5210bb2446 or rk (eastern mint Domna) 5210 is mostly meaningless but over 5000 were all Syrian while under that was Alexandria and all the Venus reverses had numbers together.  bb separated the sets allowing sorting out the accession numbers since there was no accession group using bb.  It was the 2446th coin bought.  Had the coin been Rome mint, the number would have been prefixed RL.  Caracalla and Geta shared RM while RE through RJ divided up the issues of Septimius.   

rk5210bb2446.jpg.4374735b84889370a334ebd65e592418.jpg

 

The same second letter preceded by a P rather than an R divided up Provincials so Domna Provincials were PK.  This was pk1180xx1318 but the xx tells me that I no longer own that coin. 

pk1180xx1318.jpg.502157624a34a2ec2f35dcf56eaa0ceb.jpg

This made sense to me then and still does.  Your system need only make sense to you. 

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I don’t think there is a standard. Even within auctions there are contradictions - the overlap between Roman Provincial and Imperial, for example. So other people’s categorisations won’t help.

I would suggest you define your own collection to allow for any flexibility you might need. I have split my spreadsheet so one collection isn’t even related to the other. But if I need to combine bits, it’s a quick cut and paste, not line-by-line.

Edited by John Conduitt
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Posted (edited)

I use a much simpler (a/k/a more primitive) system to organize my collection of ancient coins (currently 380 in number), a system well-suited to a technological ignoramus like myself. It doesn't even involve a spreadsheet, because I never learned to create and revise Excel documents -- only to read them, which is all I ever had to do in my 35+-year career as an attorney. Instead, I have my collection catalogued in a Word document, with no permanent number assigned to each coin. Each time I buy a new coin, I simply insert the description at the appropriate place in the document (with all the entries automatically re-numbered by Word).  And of course it's easy to find any given coin simply by doing the appropriate word search. The catalog is divided into three sections: (1) the relatively tiny number of Greek (including Republican Provincial) coins, with the coins organized chronologically (as best as possible) rather than geographically within that section (much easier to do than trying to follow Sear's Greek Coins organization!); (2) Roman Republican (organized by Crawford number); and (3) Roman Imperial and Provincial, with the coins organized chronologically by Emperor; within each Emperor, I keep the coins in two sub-sections (the first Imperial and the second Provincial), each sub-section organized roughly chronologically, as much as is possible. Within each sub-section, coins of Empresses and other family members follow the coins for the applicable Emperor, in the same manner as in Sear's Roman Coin Values

As an example, here are the first six entries in my catalog:

1.               Attica, Athens AR Tetradrachm, ca. 454-393 BCE (“Mass Classical Owl”). Obv. Head of Athena right [w/scratches (possibly ancient) on Athena’s face in form of open square] / Rev. Owl [w/test cut on owl’s face & bankers’ mark on owl’s body], olive sprig and crescent to left, Α Θ [Ε worn off] downwards to right.    2526 var. [Sear, David, Greek Coins & their Values, Vol. I: Europe (Seaby 1978)]; Flament Group II.40 [Obv.]/ II.q [Rev.] [see Flament, Christophe, Le monnayage en argent d'Athènes. De l'époque archaïque à l'époque hellénistique (c. 550-c. 40 av. J.-C) (2009)]. 25 mm., 16.79 g. (Purchased from John Jencek at 2007 NYINC.

2.   Mysia, Kyzikos, AR Diobol, ca. 450-400 BCE. Obv. Forepart of boar left; to right, tunny [tuna] upwards. Rev. Head of roaring lion left within incuse square.  Seaby 3846 [Sear, David, Greek Coins and their Values, Vol. 2: Asia & Africa (Seaby 1979)]; Von Fritze II, Group II, No. 9 (p. 36) [Von Fritze, H., "Die Silberprägung von Kyzikos" in Nomisma IX (1914), at pp. 34 - 56]; BMC 15 Mysia 108-113 [Wroth, Warwick, A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Vol. 15, Mysia (London, 1892) at pp. 34-35]; SNG BnF 361-366 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale, Vol. 5, Mysia (Paris 2001)]. 10 mm., 1.22 g., 6 h.

 3.   Thrace, Apollonia Pontika [now Sozopol, Bulgaria], AR Drachm, ca. 450-500 BCE. Obv. Upright anchor with large flukes and curved stock; “A” [for Apollonia] to left and crayfish to right between flukes and stock  / Rev. Facing gorgoneion (Medusa), wavy hair parted in middle, 16 thin, open-mouthed snakes around head as additional hair or crown, puffy cheeks, mouth open, tongue protruding (but not extending below chin), all within shallow incuse. Goldsborough Type 3 [Goldsborough, Reid, Apollonia Pontika Drachms (see https://web.archive.org/web/20141115000124/http://medusacoins.reidgold.com/apollonia.html), Catalogue of Types]; Seaby 1655 var. (crayfish to left, A to right) [Sear, David, Greek Coins and their Values, Vol. 1: Europe (Seaby 1978); Topalov 41-42 [Topalov, Stavri, Apollonia Pontika: Contribution to the Study of the Coin Minting of the City 6th - 1st c. B.C., Catalogue of Apollonia Coins, 7th-1st c. B.C. (Sofia, 2007) (English Translation, Kindle edition)]; BMC 15 Mysia 8-10 [Wroth, Warwick, A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Vol. 15, Mysia (London, 1892) at pp. 8-9]; SNG.BM.159; see also id. Nos. 154-158  [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume IX, British Museum, Part 1: The Black Sea (London, 1993)] [online ID SNGuk_0901_0159 ]. 14 mm., 2.96 g., 3 h.

 4.               Thrace, Istros. 400-350 BCE. AR Drachm. Obv. Two facing male heads, left head inverted / Rev: Sea eagle on dolphin, ISTRIH [partially off flan] above eagle, globule under eagle’s tail; letter “A” ligatured with [archaic Π with shortened right stem, or sideways Γ ?] beneath dolphin.  SNG.BM.249 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume IX, British Museum, Part 1: The Black Sea (London, 1993)] [online ID SNGuk_0901_0249 with Rev. Monogram No. 49]; AMNG I/I No. 417 var. [no globule], see also No. 422 [Pick, Behrendt, Die antiken Münzen von Dacien und Moesien, Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands Vol. I/I  (Berlin, 1898) at pp. 161-162]; BMC 3 Thrace No. 6 var. [no globule] [Poole, R.S., ed. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, The Tauric Chersonese, Sarmatia, Dacia, Moesia, Thrace, etc., Vol. 3 (London, 1877) at p. 25]; Seaby 1669 var. [Sear, David, Greek Coins & their Values, Vol. I: Europe (Seaby 1978)]. 19 mm., 5.36 g.

 5.               Boeotia (Boeotian League, including Thebes), AR Stater 379-338 BC. Obv. Boeotian shield / Rev. Amphora, ΔΑ-IM (Daim-, magistrate [=Daimachus?]) across fields. BCD Boiotia 523 [Classical Numismatic Group, The BCD Collection of the Coinage of Boiotia, Triton IX Auction, Session 1, Lot 523 (not this coin) (10 Jan. 2006, New York)]; Hepworth 18 [Hepworth, R., "The 4th Century BC Magistrate Coinage of the Boiotian Confederacy" in NK 17 (Hungarian Numismatic Society, Numismatic Gazette (Budapest)) (1998)]; BMC 8 Central Greece 126 (at p. 81) [Head, B., A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Central Greece (Locris, Phocis, Boeotia, and Euboea) (London, 1884)]; Head, Boeotia p. 64 [Head, B.V., On the chronological sequence of the coins of Boeotia (London, 1881)]; Myron Hoard pl. D, 13 [Svoronos, J. "Θησαυρoς νoμiσματων εκ τoυ χωριoυ Mυρoυ Kαρδιτσης της Θεσσαλιας" in Arcaiologikon Deltion 2 (1916)]; SNG Copenhagen 323 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Copenhagen, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum (Copenhagen, 1942-1979)]. 18.5 mm., 12.19 g. [Purchased from Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., 214th Buy or Bid Sale, Dec. 2020, Lot 59.]

Link to Vimeo video of this coin: https://vimeo.com/487429280.

6.               Aspendos, Pamphylia, Asia Minor, AR Stater ca. 380/75-330/25 BCE (Tekin, 4th Series [see fn.]). Obv. Two standing wrestlers, naked, grappling with legs spread apart and heads touching; wrestler on left grasps his opponent’s left wrist with his right hand, and left elbow with his left hand; wrestler on right grasps his opponent’s left arm with his right hand; letters “KI” [for name of minting magistrate] in field between wrestlers, below knee level / Rev. Slinger wearing short chiton, standing with trunk in facing position, head and legs in profile facing right, legs held straight with feet apart, left arm extended forward holding sling with left thumb, right arm drawing sling back with elbow bent; triskeles in right field with legs running left; ΕΣΤϜΕΔΙΙΥΣ [adjectival form of city name Estwediius in Pamphylian dialect of Ancient Greek] upwards behind slinger; all contained within square dotted border. SNG Copenhagen 226 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Copenhagen, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Part 31, Lycia, Pamphylia (Copenhagen 1955)]; SNG Von Aulock II 4557 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock, Vol. 2: Caria, Lydia, Phrygia, Lycia, Pamphylia  19 Lycia (Berlin 1962)]; BMC 45-46 [both with initials “KI” on obv.] [Hill, G.F. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Lycia, Pamphylia, and Pisidia (London, 1897) at p. 99]; Sear GCV Vol. II 5397 (obv. var. -- diff. magistrate’s initials) [Sear, David, Greek Coins and their Values, Vol. II, Asia & Africa (Seaby 1979) at p. 491], 26 mm., 10.96 g. Purchased from Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., 217th Buy or Bid Sale, 17 Sep. 2021, Lot 132; ex. Spina Collection, purchased by Dr. Spina from Harlan J. Berk, Ltd. on 7 March 2001 at coin show in Baltimore, MD. Link to video of coin: https://vimeo.com/592330186.  [Footnotes omitted.]

As far as photos are concerned, my long-term plan is to insert a copy of the photo (or photos) for each coin in the catalog after its description. That project is in its infancy, although it should be simple enough, since all the photos are already on my hard-drive, labeled in a way that makes them easy for me to find. Which is how I find them now whenever I want to post a photo here or elsewhere.  

As some of you know, I keep my ancient coins in stackable trays from Lindner or Lighthouse (since they're mutually compatible), organized in much the same way as the catalog, although I keep my Provincial coins in a completely separate tray from the Imperials. Yes, it's a pain sometimes to have to rearrange the trays every time I need to insert a new purchase in the appropriate place, but I do try to keep a number of spaces open at the top and bottom of each tray to leave room for additional coins. 

So, a very idiosyncratic system, but it works for me. 

I also have a partial catalog for my non-ancient (mostly British and French) coins and historical medals, divided into various logical categories, but it's nowhere near complete. 

[Edited to add an excerpt from the beginning of my catalog.]

Edited by DonnaML
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Thank you Doug, John and Donna.  Each of your responses is enormously helpful.  Although it seems I will need to reinvent the wheel, I really appreciate knowing how each of you built your own.  
 

Aside to Doug:  If I truly have to guess what I would want in 35 years, the answer is “to be alive”.  (I am 61 now!)

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I use a very simple system but for my needs it is very flexible.

When I started collecting I wasn't sure how should I organize it. My first lot contained a Greek coin and 33 Roman imperial coins, from 1st century to 4th century.
In the next auctions I have bought Provincial coins and Republican coins also so it was already a little diversity.

In the end I decided what I like the most and also what is easy to maintain and use is keeping the collection in Excel and Word.
I created an Excel table and when I buy a coin I add new rows.

image.png.b2d8b608e3907644e95c70deec24158b.png

 

image.png.bea8334096f45123f3c10cce68dc49ba.png

The order the coins are in doesn't make much sense, probably, bur for me this is very useful as I want to keep track of what I bought exactly in an auction. And I like to see what grabbed my attention 1 year ago.
Also Excel makes it very confortable to filter after exactly what I want - country, mint, price, when I bought it.
Also I can sort the collection and display first Greek coins, then Provincial, then Republican, then Imperial (like most houses do in auctions).

When I participate in an auction, I also create a Word document for every auction where I take a print screen of what I bought, then I write my own description (I like my descriptions as detailed as possible) and then a picture taken by me.

image.png.20ff68529989a09dbf89fd13746f89d8.png

And I also have a master Word document combining all the individual Word documents.

This is something I would like to reconsider though as the master Word file is quite large (204 MB now). My PC is still handling it without issues, but when the collection grows, I don't think a 500 MB file is still suitable. I want to use a database software but I am too lazy for now.

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Personally, I have my coins in an Excel spreadsheet with a column for „collection“. I have several different collections I’m working on right now, and a given coin can be a member of several. Perhaps at some point I’ll import them into a database, but for now the collection attribute enables me to sort them in any order.

There are „general“ orders the auction sites use, but with proper fields there’s no reason to enforce any order. That can be done later.

Note that I have a separate order on my web site, where I have them grouped by theme in order to best tell the story. I plan to completely redo that I hope around the end of the year by separating some coins out by collection, ordering some by when the ruler lived, and allowing others to be selected by geographical location on a map.

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27 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

with the coins organized chronologically (as best as possible) rather than geographically within that section

I agree that chronilogical has to be the fundamental basis.

7 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

Also Excel makes it very confortable to filter after exactly what I want

1 minute ago, kirispupis said:

There are „general“ orders the auction sites use, but with proper fields there’s no reason to enforce any order. That can be done later.

But with Excel, you can create columns to allow you to search and filter as appropriate, for each attribute that might be of interest e.g. date, geography, ruler, metal etc. So it wouldn't matter if chronological didn't work for a particular requirement, as you can just filter by e.g. empire or collecting interest.

The only problem then is keeping your images somewhere. Excel is terrible for images.

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I didn't even bother to add images in my Excel. It would have been irrelevant and the size of the file would be huge. My excel contains all my current collection (335 coins) and it has 88 KB. I pasted the header with all the fields I added and for me it's complete.
Also it's very easy to display, for example, all the provincial coins in Æ. Or all the Trajan silver coins from Roman imperial etc.

 

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Posted (edited)

A problem I would personally have with an Excel spreadsheet, viewing the example above, is that given the columnar format there wouldn't be room for my (some think excessively-)detailed descriptions of each coin, never mind the even lengthier footnotes, without taking up a couple of pages of vertical space for each description! Much easier (for me, at least) to keep it all in a Word document. The document is currently almost 100,000 words and 154 pp. long, but is only 11 mb. Obviously that will change if and when I create a version with photos inserted.

Edited by DonnaML
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1 minute ago, DonnaML said:

A problem I would personally have with an Excel spreadsheet, viewing the example above, is that given the columnar format there wouldn't be room for my (some think excessively-)detailed descriptions of each coin, never mind the even lengthier footnotes, without taking up a couple of pages of vertical space for each description! Much easier (for me, at least) to keep it all in a Word document. The document is currently almost 100,000 words and 154 pp. long, but is only 11 mb. Obviously that will change if and when I create a version with photos inserted.

I find this is the strength of Excel. I have copious notes, divided into columns so that some sense can be made of them - description, provenance, references, historical context etc. As long as you don't wrap the text, Excel stores it all neatly in the relevant square without it all having to be visible on the sheet. Although to be fair, I keep a Word document concurrently, which contains images and brief descriptions needed for posting on forums like this 😆

16 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

I didn't even bother to add images in my Excel

I use the 'compress images' option, so I can have a thumbnail image in my Excel spreadsheet without making the file enormous. It helps make sure I know which coin is which when I come to look at them in real life. Quite a lot of mine differ in small details and they're much easier to distinguish visually.

19 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

My excel contains all my current collection (335 coins)

1 hour ago, DonnaML said:

my collection of ancient coins (currently 380 in number)

This is very interesting. Both of you have great collections, but 300+ isn't a huge number. I have about 1000 coins, although admittedly, 400-ish are modern overseas coins that you wouldn't be counting. Still, just my British/Roman collection is approaching 500. Do you cull them regularly?

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18 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

there wouldn't be room for my (some think excessively-)detailed descriptions of each coin, never mind the even lengthier footnotes, without taking up a couple of pages of vertical space for each description

Your descriptions are excellent but there is no need to have them all directly visible.
To explain better this is what I see for a random coin in my Excel

image.png.97d1d58a9e1156507680678aff650de8.png

Double clicking reveals that the full description is in fact

image.png.518427ee167daa92f3bdb441ac72dc3c.png

 

If I want to check a longer description, I copy the cell content and paste it into a Notepad.

18 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

Much easier (for me, at least) to keep it all in a Word document. The document is currently almost 100,000 words and 154 pp. long, but is only 11 mb. Obviously that will change if and when I create a version with photos inserted.

Yes, unfortunately. My Word file has ~330 pages (for an auction I kept 2 coins/page but I intend to correct this, also on some coins I took more than 1 picture + some pictures of similar coins added for comparison) And 204 MB which is too much already. I want 1 page/coin. Each coin has 2 photos (one from the auction house and one taken by me). This is probably not a good option, but it has become a tradition for me to do this for all the coins. There are still about 100 coins where I didn't take personal photos yet because I didn't have a camera, but I intend to do this in the near future.

 

@John Conduitt- this is just for ancients, my other collections have different systems 🙂 I know Excel can handle a lot more so I'm not worried.

But for Word I noticed that a lower end PC has some issus in opening it so I don't think, at least for my idea, minimum 2 photos/coin, that Word is the perfect system.

I also had the Excel thumbnails idea but for me it was not relevant since the thumbnails are too small and I already have the photos in Word, like you also said. The Excel spreadhseet is for me a shortcut to the collection containing organized details. Adding photos might mean overkill.

Edited by ambr0zie
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3 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

Your descriptions are excellent but there is no need to have them all directly visible.
To explain better this is what I see for a random coin in my Excel

image.png.97d1d58a9e1156507680678aff650de8.png

Double clicking reveals that the full description is in fact

image.png.518427ee167daa92f3bdb441ac72dc3c.png

 

If I want to check a longer description, I copy the cell content and paste it into a Notepad.

Yes, unfortunately. My Word file has ~330 pages (for an auction I kept 2 coins/page but I intend to correct this, also on some coins I took more than 1 picture + some pictures of similar coins added for comparison) And 204 MB which is too much already. I want 1 page/coin. Each coin has 2 photos (one from the auction house and one taken by me). This is probably not a good option, but it has become a tradition for me to do this for all the coins. There are still about 100 coins where I didn't take personal photos yet because I didn't have a camera, but I intend to do this in the near future.

This is what I do in Excel and Word.

I have 4 Word documents, divided chronilogically and geographically, so I can keep photos and images without the file being massive. But I delete auction photos if my photos are better, and don't take my own if the auction photos are good.

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I am considering stopping using the master Word document. But I would need to re-check it carefully as there might be various notes on coins I added only in it.
Personally I like my system, creating a new Word file for each auction I participate in. The files are not large as I usually buy between 2 and 12 coins maximum. This is a personal choice as sometimes I like checking an individual file to see what I found interesting 1 year and a half ago and how my collection evolved and branched.
Locating a certain coin will not be an issue, as every new coin has a new current number that is present also in the Excel spreadhseet, where I have a column with the exact auction I got the coin from.

Edited by ambr0zie
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, John Conduitt said:

I find this is the strength of Excel. I have copious notes, divided into columns so that some sense can be made of them - description, provenance, references, historical context etc. As long as you don't wrap the text, Excel stores it all neatly in the relevant square without it all having to be visible on the sheet. Although to be fair, I keep a Word document concurrently, which contains images and brief descriptions needed for posting on forums like this 😆

I use the 'compress images' option, so I can have a thumbnail image in my Excel spreadsheet without making the file enormous. It helps make sure I know which coin is which when I come to look at them in real life. Quite a lot of mine differ in small details and they're much easier to distinguish visually.

This is very interesting. Both of you have great collections, but 300+ isn't a huge number. I have about 1000 coins, although admittedly, 400-ish are modern overseas coins that you wouldn't be counting. Still, just my British/Roman collection is approaching 500. Do you cull them regularly?

I simply don't see the need for an Excel spreadsheet, even if I knew how to make one. And I like having everything visible. I bought my desktop earlier this year when my 10-year old one died, and I don't think having enough space or speed to open a large document is a problem; the hard drive is 1 Terabyte. Plus I pay for lots of space in the cloud with Google Drive & Dropbox and all that kind of thing.

The 380 number is for my ancient coins alone. I began collecting them only about five years ago, in the fall of 2017. I've never culled or disposed of any of them; I only buy what I like!  As I've mentioned a number of times, I had previously been a collector of British (and to a lesser extent other "World") coins and historical medals for at least 35-40 years, and have no idea how many hundreds of individual items I owned! I sold off most of the more valuable parts of my collection back in 2014-2015 out of necessity, but still had (and have) a great deal of minor silver and copper coins, and copper and white metal medals, mostly uncatalogued, plus the remaining (and re-acquired) gold coins, silver crowns and historical medals that I've been posting here over the last few months. Most of those are entered in the separate, partial catalogue I mentioned above. I have made no attempt as yet to catalog all the hundreds of pennies and halfpennies and threepences, etc., a lot of which I actually started buying (or collecting from circulation in the Bahamas, etc.) when I was approximately 10 years old and my father bought me my first British coin catalogue by Ken Bressett.

 

Edited by DonnaML
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For the past three years, whenever I buy a coin or a bullion I immediately enter what I bought and it’s price in Excel, and with ancients I take photos and upload to Forum ancient coins to keep an online database,  

9638A0DE-2417-47D4-A215-9780A8742C81.jpeg.165224fc576319a7354dbb56ebfcc6e2.jpeg

and for the coins I keep them in a Renniks album with simple handwritten attributions.

FFE1F3B3-D9BD-45A6-84E3-B12BB750D53E.jpeg.6584eae2ff8b04702c5a89db6db93824.jpeg

Edited by JayAg47
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3 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

This is very interesting. Both of you have great collections, but 300+ isn't a huge number. I have about 1000 coins, although admittedly, 400-ish are modern overseas coins that you wouldn't be counting. Still, just my British/Roman collection is approaching 500. Do you cull them regularly?

I have north of 1200 coins in total — 300+ ancient, the balance being medieval/Islamic or modern.  I am an incorrigible generalist, more satisfied with breadth than depth but valuing both. 

As for culling, I have been doing so somewhat regularly, but only in the past year. All proceeds, and then some, go back into the collection, with the goal of raising quality as I lower quantity.  Very satisfying, even if hard choices have been made.  

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I have probably tried everything at one time or another ranging from hand written flips coupled with recipe cards to the system I currently use. Okay lets start with the coin 

Ae Silvered Follis of Constantine II As Caesar 324-325 AD Sirmium Obv, Bust right laureate draped and cuirassed Rv, Victory advancing right ALAMANNIA DEVICTA,RIC 50 3.00 grms 19 mm. I do not have a pic of my own so this was was supplied by Leu Numismatik Web Auction 21 Lot 5466 July 19 2022 

9739273.jpg.76ad528f211248dbcaabf457dd03876d.jpg

For each coin I now create a computer generated flip. It is a lot neater and I can fit more info in. 

900183672_Screenshot(5).png.b7cd5b0389b9750191b8291a70397877.png

This is done on a Microsoft Excel  spread sheet. I can put a lot of info on this flip which is necessary as I like to keep as much info with the coin as possible. I have gone to page three and in one case page four. 

Because some of the information on these coins has required that I do a certain amount of effort I keep a back up. This is also done on a Excel spread sheet and consists of some additional info as well. 

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As you can see this system is quite colorful. On Line 594 you can see the Constantine II Follis.  To the far right is the code for the flip RID 28. As I have over 600 coins I needed a system to access the flip in case I need to make a change. RID denotes a Roman Imperial Coin in the fourth century AD. The red bar indicates that I have a picture of that coin taken by W. Hansen. The Medium blue bars furthest to the left  indicates that I have featured that coin on Numis Forum since June. The Blue an Green bars in the center denotes that have featured that coin on the CT Forum The blue over a year ago and the Green over the course of the last 10 months. The orange/brown bars signify the strength of the pedigree, and the grey/black bars how far in the past that pedigree goes. The good thing about this system is that it allows me some flexibility in modifying the information as I go along. 

Edited by kapphnwn
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I use a very simple system that involves nothing more than creating a Word document for each coin and storing that in a folder (with sub-folders) on my computer. It works fine for my 536 coins.

The single page Word document contains pictures and a full description of the coin together with details of when, from whom and for how much the coin was purchased.

It then gets stored in a folder on my computer simply called Ancients. Ancients has 5 sub-folders for Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Celts and British. If I click on the Greek folder, by far the largest, there are sub-folders for Gold, Silver and Bronze. If I click on Bronze I go to Eastern or Western. If I click on Western, there are folders for Italy & Sicily, Thessaly, Thrace, etc; for each of those regions coins are listed alphabetically by city and each Word document is given a title which differentiates it from other coins of the city - e.g. 'Syracuse, Dionysios I Hippocamp'. For Roman coins the main sub-folders are Republican, Imperial Denari, Antoniniani, Folles and Other and for the most part the coins are listed alphabetically by Emperor or Empress.

This system allows me to find any coin very quickly. I just timed how long, having exited the Ancients folder, it would take me to go back in and find the Word document for a randomly selected Seleucid coin (Ancients/Greek/Bronze/Eastern/Seleucids/Seleucos II Bull). It took just 10 seconds to have the photos and description displayed before me (admittedly I was doing some pretty fast clicking!) The Ancients folder currently uses 115 MB of storage and I copy it onto 2 memory sticks, regularly updated. One stays in the house in case the computer suddenly dies. The other stays with my son, who lives 200 miles away, in case of a catastrophe such as our house burning down or me falling under a bus. And if he didn't want to keep my collection when I pop my clogs he could take that one memory stick into Roma Numismatics or whoever (he lives in London) and my entire collection is immediately visible to them.

I do appreciate that the more coins you collect, the more sub-folders you need to keep order. I wouldn't want to be going down into the 8th sub-folder and so at some point I am going to have to tweak this and perhaps involve some elements of the more complex systems referred to above. But it's more than adequate for now.

Edited by IanG
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1 hour ago, IanG said:

involves nothing more than creating a Word document for each coin

I must admit that my system is similar. I started using it more than 20 years ago and now I am too lazy to create Excel spreadsheets for my now 5000 or so coins.

The difference with your system is that I save a Word doc, various pictures, invoices and other additional information, in different folders, but with the same file name.

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Roman coins are organized chronologically by Emperor.

Greek coins are organized clockwise around the Mediterranean.  "Uncertains" go last.  The clockwise ordering is for the regions (e.g. Macedon) only.  Within each region the coins are sorted alphabetically by city.  Within each city they are ordered chronologically.  Within each time period by denomination.

"Roman Provincial" are either placed with the Romans, by Emperor, or clockwise with the city, depending on your preference.

The Wildwinds order is given here: https://www.wildwinds.com/coins/greece/geo.html

You can sometimes get interesting results by breaking the above rules.  For example, if you put all coins in chronological order the the Roman and Parthian contemporaries are highlighted.  You are also allowed to put the Provincial stuff in BOTH places -- with the emperor and with the city.

Edited by Ed Snible
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I use Google Keep .. its a free program that saves to the cloud. Meaning I can access on my phone or laptop or whatever.

I also download a copy as a backup.

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There is a search function - but I do really like the "tags" you can add as many as you like to each entry for quick look ups. They are listed on the left hand side.

You also see them in circled within each entry. For instance for this rough coin of Agrippa I can easily click on any of the Tags (Agrippa, As, Caligula, Neptune, Roman Empire) to see all coins in my collection with the assigned tag. 

Its very simple but I really like the interface and the flexibility.

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18 hours ago, Bailathacl said:

Aside to Doug:  If I truly have to guess what I would want in 35 years, the answer is “to be alive”.  (I am 61 now!)

I'm 76 and in all honesty hope I'm not alive in 35 years.  I've had family that made 104 and I don't want to go there.  

To all considering this question:  A lot depends on how large you collection is.  I started, and still maintain, a 3x5 card file for each coin when I had only 40 coins.  At a later point, I entered those cards (by then a couple hundred) into my first IBM computer.  Since then several computers and software have been tasked with reading and translating those files into a format of their choice.  I now am using Open Office which is free and reads Microsoft files if required.  I really believe you each should do this when your collection is small enough to input with some ease.  It is easier to start with a couple hundred and input new additions as they arrive than it is to start from scratch when you have several thousand.  The software I use has a serious flaw in one sense.  It displays at the bottom of the 'cost' column the total I have spent on coins for all the coins listed.  That may not be a number you want to know.   I do not have a column for what I would expect to be able to get if I sold the coin (considering dealer commissions etc.).  That could be depressing.  

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