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Paving the way for better numismatic experience


mordehaus
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Hi to everyone passionate about coin collecting, whether you’re into research, trading, or preserving them! I’m Art – the founder of https://coinlectic.com It's exciting to introduce myself here and share what I'm doing! So, currently, I'm building a tool to help numismatists around the globe save time and gain a better awareness of their hobby.

I’m not a PRO collector, but for the last 8 years, even an amateur guy like me always felt like something was wrong with numismatics. It has never been an easy one for me… And put bluntly – it feels like technology skipped over it, making the experience of managing coins feel like you’re still living in the early 2000s. You have no place or tools that allow you, as a collector – so you can have a more enjoyable experience with it. It's never easy to understand what’s going on with your hobby on a global scale. No visibility; Hard to keep your coin inventory organized and updated; Lots exist as bookmarks in your browser; etc, etc. Things are all over the place! 

Last year, I started working on a small app that eliminates part of those daily hardships one may experience with numismatics. 

The bottomline:

Quote

I’m at a point where I need your help in the form of feedback on your ongoing pains with numismatics! If you can complete my 5-minute survey, you will help me a TON with building a great, user-centric product.

👀 Here's a link to the surveyhttps://forms.gle/KngDyhNWFTRXnV6o6

Thank you all in advance, and looking forward to your thoughts! 

Edited by mordehaus
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I admire what you are attempting, but as a relative newcomer to the hobby I am lucky that I created an Access relational database from the start. It has everything I need in one place, order, delivery and invoice info, images of the coins, attribution and specifics of the coin. I have no need at present for listing upcoming auction and sales and what I might have bid and when as I buy fixed price from VCoins.  Good luck with your project and hope it works well for you and others.

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20 minutes ago, mordehaus said:

@expatHello! Thanks for sharing this with me. I had to structure something similar for the same purposes. How much time did this take you to create something like this? 

Actually, not long at all being familiar with Access, due to creating databases specific for local businesses. It is an extremely powerfull tool when utilised correctly with all info, links and images only a click away. As opposed to a flat, front end only database such as Excell where the the larger the database becomes, the more scrolling is required to see what you need. For someone new to Access and its neccessary learning curve, it would be a considerable investment in time for someone with an existing collection.

Good that you have rectified the SSL fault on your site.

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To be brutally honest, I don't have issues keeping track of inventory. I have an Excel spreadsheet that does the job admirably and I wouldn't pay for any system. IMHO anyone savvy enough to use an online or installable numismatic inventory system is already going to have their own solution.

Now, if you would like to solve a problem that we actually have, create an AI backed by every sales catalog you can find along with feeds from the major auction houses to return the following:

  • Whether a given coin, based on its image + metadata, has appeared in any previous sales
  • Return any other coins with the same dies that have occurred in other sales

There's one solution already that does the above, but they're expensive and, from what I read, highly unreliable. I would gladly pay a yearly membership for such a service - if it were fairly reliable.

Edited by kirispupis
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I've just checked your site. It looks nice, however, I'm not quite sure what I can do with it? There is no description: will it help me to attribute coins, does it provide an overview of auction results, is it an alternative for my google sheets catalogue? 

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3 hours ago, Roerbakmix said:

I've just checked your site. It looks nice, however, I'm not quite sure what I can do with it? There is no description: will it help me to attribute coins, does it provide an overview of auction results, is it an alternative for my google sheets catalogue? 

Thank you. You stole my thoughts. Funny - that's exactly what I wanted to write. 

The SSL certificate is now working again, so I ventured onto the site. But unfortunately I don't understand the point. This is not meant in a bad way. But I have no idea how the website / the app will help me with my hobby. I would like to have a kind of online scrapbook. But I don't know if this website will ever do that or if it is planned.

Unfortunately the website leaves you clueless - but the look is good 😉

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1 hour ago, Prieure de Sion said:

Thank you. You stole my thoughts. Funny - that's exactly what I wanted to write. 

The SSL certificate is now working again, so I ventured onto the site. But unfortunately I don't understand the point. This is not meant in a bad way. But I have no idea how the website / the app will help me with my hobby. I would like to have a kind of online scrapbook. But I don't know if this website will ever do that or if it is planned.

Unfortunately the website leaves you clueless - but the look is good 😉

Yes, clarification 💬 – the site is just kinda there, for no purpose. Just to kinda hang there and it's basically a sandbox for me to code and do stuff. But there will be a different landing page, with a more specific product, because I'm just working on "one module". You can think of it as efficiency tool for numismatics. Not ready to disclose any details 😞

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Read the survey.

The @mordehaus is asking people about organizing their collection database, their sales paperwork, and tracking auctions.

From these questions we can speculate.

Consolidator sites like NumisBids.com and Sixbid.com (for coins), and BookFinder.com (for books) allow me to search the inventory of many online stores.  It saves a lot of time vs searching many auction house web sites.

Many online stores allow me to view my past purchases.  Usually they show me my purchases chronologically by purchase date.  Some don’t remember what I have bought.  One, eBay, throws away the details after 90 days.  However, I rarely want to look at my coins sorted by house and purchase date.

It would be nice if a single site gathered up all of my invoices and auction text and converted it into a personal database or wiki.  I probably wouldn’t use it; I have a manual system that doesn’t require much effort.  However, I lost a lost of paperwork related to my first few years go collecting before I figured out my current system.

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33 minutes ago, mordehaus said:

Yes, clarification 💬 – the site is just kinda there, for no purpose. Just to kinda hang there and it's basically a sandbox for me to code and do stuff. But there will be a different landing page, with a more specific product, because I'm just working on "one module". You can think of it as efficiency tool for numismatics. Not ready to disclose any details 😞

I must admit - now I understand less than before. But now well. 

You wanted to get feedback. You got it. That it is sometimes not clear what that has as a goal. But somehow an objective honest feedback is also not desired.
 
 

15 minutes ago, Ed Snible said:

Read the survey.

I need to take the survey first so I know what the site will offer? That's right... I didn't feel like it... 😉 

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46 minutes ago, Ed Snible said:

Read the survey.

The @mordehaus is asking people about organizing their collection database, their sales paperwork, and tracking auctions.

From these questions we can speculate.

Consolidator sites like NumisBids.com and Sixbid.com (for coins), and BookFinder.com (for books) allow me to search the inventory of many online stores.  It saves a lot of time vs searching many auction house web sites.

Many online stores allow me to view my past purchases.  Usually they show me my purchases chronologically by purchase date.  Some don’t remember what I have bought.  One, eBay, throws away the details after 90 days.  However, I rarely want to look at my coins sorted by house and purchase date.

It would be nice if a single site gathered up all of my invoices and auction text and converted it into a personal database or wiki.  I probably wouldn’t use it; I have a manual system that doesn’t require much effort.  However, I lost a lost of paperwork related to my first few years go collecting before I figured out my current system.

Fortunately, I printed out and saved in a couple of 3-ring binders almost all of my invoices and dealer descriptions of British coins and medals that I bought back in the late 1990s, mostly from Ebay but also from mail catalogues and a few from places like Spink and Bonhams. Otherwise it would, I think, be completely impossible to recreate most of it. It's a good thing I got in the habit of saving invoices when I started collecting antiquities around 1982. You would be amazed at how many people have saved nothing.

For the last five years or so, I've been saving everything, including photos, on my computer as well as in printed hard copies.  At some point, I probably should figure out a way to link all of the invoices, dealer descriptions, and photos on my computer to the catalogues of descriptions that I keep as continuously-updated Word documents (one for ancients, one for non-ancient coins and historical/commemorative medals, and one for antiquities) -- sorry, I don't like spreadsheets, Excel or otherwise -- without actually incorporating all of them into those documents. Even with only about 390 ancient coins to date, the Word catalogue for them is 160 pp. long; I don't want it to be 1,000 pages! It's not that I really need to create such links for myself, since I can easily find things when I need to, but if and when I'm not around anymore, I don't want figuring everything out to be inordinately difficult for my son.

 

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44 minutes ago, Prieure de Sion said:

I must admit - now I understand less than before. But now well. 

You wanted to get feedback. You got it. That it is sometimes not clear what that has as a goal. But somehow an objective honest feedback is also not desired.
 
 

I need to take the survey first so I know what the site will offer? That's right... I didn't feel like it... 😉 

Not a problem 🙂 And thanks for the feedback, in whatever shape or form – it always comes useful. If you don't want to fill out the survey, that's okay as well! Didn't want this to feel mandatory. 

 https://coinlectic.com site was created to grab initial feedback from IG followers, just to understand the market a bit better 🙂 I know this website has barely any useful information right now, but at a later stage it will change. Like I mentioned previously, I was trying to put something together, just out of curiosity to learn something! 

 

As fas as what I'm doing / or planning with this adventure: 

1. Get idea validated + figure out the market / pains / needs surrounding numismatics. 

2. Build a component (small product) that can help people make some part of numismatics "smarter"

3. See how it goes, get more feedback, reiterate on product, make it better

4. Build other solutions.

 

Hope this makes sense.

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6 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

Fortunately, I printed out and saved in a couple of 3-ring binders almost all of my invoices and dealer descriptions of British coins and medals that I bought back in the late 1990s, mostly from Ebay but also from mail catalogues and a few from places like Spink and Bonhams. Otherwise it would, I think, be completely impossible to recreate most of it. It's a good thing I got in the habit of saving invoices when I started collecting antiquities around 1982. You would be amazed at how many people have saved nothing.

For the last five years or so, I've been saving everything, including photos, on my computer as well as in printed hard copies.  At some point, I probably should figure out a way to link all of the invoices, dealer descriptions, and photos on my computer to the catalogues of descriptions that I keep as continuously-updated Word documents (one for ancients, one for non-ancient coins and historical/commemorative medals, and one for antiquities) -- sorry, I don't like spreadsheets, Excel or otherwise -- without actually incorporating all of them into those documents. Even with only about 390 ancient coins to date, the Word catalogue for them is 160 pp. long; I don't want it to be 1,000 pages! It's not that I really need to create such links for myself, since I can easily find things when I need to, but if and when I'm not around anymore, I don't want figuring everything out to be inordinately difficult for my son.

 

Yep. Globally those are things that I think best to streamline and not worry about too much. And I understand that for some that's a problem, but for some it isn't!!! I'd want to take a chance and automate some of those things. One Reddit guy mentioned that there's joy with digging into the coins, but not necessarily when it's about documenting things, book keeping, storing references, etc. 

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46 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

Fortunately, I printed out and saved in a couple of 3-ring binders almost all of my invoices and dealer descriptions of British coins and medals that I bought back in the late 1990s, mostly from Ebay but also from mail catalogues and a few from places like Spink and Bonhams. Otherwise it would, I think, be completely impossible to recreate most of it. It's a good thing I got in the habit of saving invoices when I started collecting antiquities around 1982. You would be amazed at how many people have saved nothing.

Donna… is a Windows PC or a Mac your computer?

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Perhaps it would have been clearer if you've asked this community to fill in a survey, which I think many of us would happily do. My flow was:

1) interesting and promising title!

2) great: a new interesting site!

3) purpose of the site not so clear ...

4) re-reading your post: do you want our opinion on your site, or want us to fill a survey?

 

just my thoughts. I will fill in the survey though!

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20 hours ago, kirispupis said:

To be brutally honest, I don't have issues keeping track of inventory. I have an Excel spreadsheet that does the job admirably and I wouldn't pay for any system. IMHO anyone savvy enough to use an online or installable numismatic inventory system is already going to have their own solution.

Now, if you would like to solve a problem that we actually have

Personally I disagree with this assessment. Granted there are a lot of people here (yourself and myself included) that have their own solutions that work for what we need it to do, it's usually because we have some secondary purpose, such as feeding that data into our own websites. An off-the-shelf solution that has been designed for generalised use is not going to help people like you and me in this case but these kinds of tools aren't aimed at users like us, at least initially.

There are far more people who do not manage their coins to this degree, who may not even keep a spreadsheet of their coins and purchases, yet are tech savvy enough to understand the benefits of such a tool being proposed and how to use one. I'm probably thinking more of the younger demographic here but I would wager the vast majority of young collectors would have no problem using an online inventory tool for their collection, and probably don't have anything sophisticated themselves (based on my experiences), the main issues would be with getting them to pay for the tool (who isn't already paying for a dozen subscription services each month?) and having a tool that fits most people's general needs.

There are a huge number of collectors out there that do not frequent these forums, or if they do they don't respond to these types of threads about "how do you manage your collection" etc, so it's easy to fall into the trap of assuming everyone has their own solution that works perfectly for them and there's no room for improvement or wider demand for such a tool. And while it may be a bit harsh to say, it does need to be said that a large number of solutions that people currently use for managing their collections are either woefully out of date (e.g. forumancientcoins user galleries, or any forum-based gallery for that matter) or impractical for the vast majority of collectors (e.g. MS Access or other custom databases like my own). Google Sheets or similar is great for what it does but it doesn't make it any easier, for most people, to leverage that data in a useful, accessible, or visually appealing way.

So in my opinion, there is definitely a need for a modernisation of collector's tools but it will be difficult to execute in practice. It's perhaps a bit cliche to say but it is a bit similar to pre-Spotify days where you get a small group of people who have their own particular workflow that works exactly as they need it to (e.g. PirateBay or ripping CDs, managing their own music library and folder structure, cleaning and curating the files manually in iTunes or WinAmp) but the majority of people simply don't have the time, energy, or desire to put in that investment. The former group doesn't need a Spotify but they can benefit from it once it gets to the point where it has most the functionality they need but massive increases in accessibility and time-saving.

Edited by Kaleun96
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@mordehaus I love that you're attempting to tackle this problem, I've thought about it a lot myself. I have my own website to manage my collection and build the tools I want to make my collection easier to use/manage/view, but this only works for me and I wish there was something similar for everyone. It doesn't need all the bells and whistles but basic/intermediate things like: a gallery, a map of where your coins are from, a database/catalogue tool to see all the details about your coins and filter on them, basic charting tools to take advantage of data about the coins (e.g. comparing weights vs diameters), high resolution image hosting (none of these 250kb size / 1024px resolution file limits), converting invoice amounts to a common currency using historical exchange rates, a calculator for estimating final invoice price for a given auction house, tools for quickly sharing your coins to third-parties, or even allowing you to publish your collection to a centralised place on the platform, and maybe a tool that uses some third-party API to automatically remove backgrounds from your photos. As you say, it feels like we're living in the mid-2000s when it comes to the currently available/recommended tools and solutions (e.g. desktop inventory management software 🤮).
 
My advice would be to aim for either the younger demographic (<35) or collectors who are new to this hobby (<5 years of collecting). People who have been collecting for 15 years are probably going to have some solution. It likely won't be a particularly good or modern solution but it will work for them, it will be integrated with their habits, it will be incredibly customised to their specific needs, and they will know how it works inside-and-out. Frankly, you're not going to have much hope of converting a collector like this to a new tool that will start off as being relatively generalised and lacking in functionality.
 
But that's ok because the vast majority of collectors at the moment are probably not in that group I've just described. There's been a huge influx of new collectors, or collectors coming from other numismatic areas, in the past few years and this is probably the best demographic to target. The difficulty with them is that they may not yet see the need for an online tool or app that let's them manage everything in one place. For starters, they'll have to have enough coins to make that a problem worth solving. So any benefits from having all your coin info in one place, or your invoices backed up in the cloud, etc requires a significant investment in the hobby before these features will pay off. But there could be some other things that don't require a lot of coins to get some benefits from, such as a few of the suggestions I mentioned above.
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I'd like to see the creation of a digital library of coin auctions.  Even if I had no access to it.

@kirispupis asks for automatic detection of duplicates, and die duplicates, which is a major unsolved research problem and depends on the existence of a database of auctions -- a database that doesn't exist.

That database may never exist if we don't build it now.

I recently acquired a small cache of Tom Cederlind catalogs.  Digital versions used to be available online, but no longer exist.  Oh how I wish I had saved them!  Not only are the digital versions of Cederlind's catalogs unavailable, the print versions are unobtainable -- they are not old/rare enough to be of value to the kinds of people who buy 1920s catalogs from Kolbe, Fanning, and Davis, so they never show up in book auctions.

Many firms host a few auctions on biddr.com, sometimes with a PDF catalog, sometimes without, then vanish leaving no trace of the thousands of coins they sold.

Once those catalogs are gone it will be more difficult to reconstruct hoards.  There may also be difficulties importing coins in the future without these records.

It would be easy now for an individual to download PDF catalogs from dealer sites, and to "print as PDF" or save in a database the coins appearing on VCoins and eBay.  Yet as far as I know no one is doing that.  (Perhaps some folks are doing that but can't discuss it because of copyright reasons?). The technical work isn't hard -- a script could do it -- but it is boring.

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I use Tap Forms for Mac as a database for my collection.  It doesn't have the sophisticated abilities that @Kaleun96 speaks of, but it's highly customizable and easy to use. You can easily create different "forms" for viewing the data, including one for printing out flip inserts.  Here's a screenshot:

image.jpeg.8337542e54c3acdbde5714afc220d114.jpeg

I recommend it.  Of course it requires constant attention and updating with new info... erm... 😳😆

6 hours ago, Ed Snible said:

@kirispupis asks for automatic detection of duplicates, and die duplicates, which is a major unsolved research problem and depends on the existence of a database of auctions -- a database that doesn't exist.

I would say that acsearch's image search function makes a good start on this.

6 hours ago, Ed Snible said:

Many firms host a few auctions on biddr.com, sometimes with a PDF catalog, sometimes without, then vanish leaving no trace of the thousands of coins they sold.

As far as I know, all the auctions on biddr stay online. @SimonW, is that correct?  Just go to https://www.biddr.com/closed and narrow down by auction house using the dropdown.

Edited by Severus Alexander
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6 hours ago, Ed Snible said:

I recently acquired a small cache of Tom Cederlind catalogs. 

I don't suppose that by any chance it includes his Sale 86 from 1989? My Tiberius "tribute penny" denarius was apparently Lot 305 in that sale.

I understand your concern about the need to continue to build a database of online catalogues, and the problem of sales disappearing -- although anything that's been on biddr, numisbids, sixbids, etc. should still be available, as @Severus Alexander points out, and should be available as well at ACSearch to the extent it covers particular auction houses for the last one or two decades, and at CNG, Heritage, etc. for their own auctions. And of course the continuing addition of catalogues to online databases is a prerequisite to the ability to utilize those databases effectively.

But in addition to the databases available at the various platforms I just mentioned, which all have good search functions, there are also thousands of older catalogues available online at the Newman Numismatic Portal, RNumis, the Internet Archive, etc. The practical problem with utilizing what's available on those websites is finding anything in them without having to go through thousands of pages manually and almost completely at random to look for matches. That will continue to be necessary as long as it's impossible to do word searches collectively encompassing all the catalogs online on each such site as opposed to individual catalogs, in the same way that one can do word searches for all the sales covered by ACSearch and the various auction platforms I mentioned.

At least that kind of ability to do collective word searches, including for example the ability to search for a range of coin weights, would allow a considerable narrowing of any visual search for image matches, although old catalogues are inconsistent in including weights and much other information, most obviously including images of all the coins they contain. I believe that RNumis already has partial searchability for the Greek coins in its catalogues, and it appears to me -- as a complete layperson -- that the creation of overall word searchability for all the catalogues on a given site ought to be more feasible, and seems more likely to happen in my lifetime, than the development of software that's able to detect image matches with a reasonable amount of accuracy. (I suppose distinguishing actual coin matches from die matches would require an ability to take exact shapes and sizes into account.)  I've tried the image recognition software at ACSearch, and although it's somewhat useful, it seems to me that it's far less than 100% accurate or comprehensive in finding matches, and it doesn't really purport to be.

 

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