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Updated my albums!


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  • Benefactor

It took me several weeks, but I've finally updated my albums to the new format. I tweaked it a bit from my earlier "proof of concept."

The following were my requirements:

  • My coins are mobile. I often take them to friends' houses or bring them upstairs when people come over. Therefore, a coin cabinet isn't practical.
  • My in-laws tend to be touchy-feely with coins. Even when I ask them not to, they'll remove a coin from the flip and palm it. Therefore, they need some form of protection. A coin tray therefore won't work.
  • Both sides of the coin must be readily visible along with the original tag. Therefore, having a coin sheet isn't as practical since the flip will prevent one side from being visible.
  • I want to tell a story about the coins and have the page look more professional. Earlier there was a suggestion to take a coin flip page that fits 16 coins and just use one pocket for the coin and one for the tag. However, IMHO that doesn't look great.
  • Coins have to be accessible, though it doesn't need to be easy. Occasionally I'll want to photograph a coin.

This is the result I ended up with.




The following are the details of this approach.

  • Originally I had one page per coin, with a lengthy story. I found, though, that no one read them. However, they will read two sentences or so. My wife, who has a limited attention span, strongly preferred this.
  • At the beginning of the description is a databaseId in parentheses. This maps to a row in my spreadsheet that contains the original seller description, provenance, date purchased, lot number, and price paid.
  • The electrical tape is a bit unseemly, but was the simplest way I found to allow access to the coin. I placed it on the reverse side to make it less obvious.
  • The QR code provides access to the full story for those who care. It also displays a full image of the coin and any attributions. One feedback my wife had was to display a larger image of the tiny coins, but IMHO the QR code provides access to a far better image than I could print.
  • The coins are arranged thematically, which helps tell the story better.
  • To avoid having coins placed behind each other, the arrangement alternates with each page.
  • All flips are non-PVC. Since I don't know the exact brand sellers use, I replace every flip when I receive the coin.
  • I can currently fit 33 pages into one album, or 132 coins. This is an improvement over the 50 coins I fit with the single page approach. 
  • I have a separate album for my Roman coins. That one is simpler. The layout is the same, but the QR codes link to the Wikipedia page. I'm still a year or two away from adding them to my website.

The following are some of the challenges.

  • I initially had the QR code closer to the coin and no text, so the background isn't cluttered when looking through the pages. However, I reasoned that the text was too important to be missing. It's crucial to let viewers know the history of these coins. Just showing a bunch of coins tells nothing. One idea was to place a blank page between each coin page. I tried that out and it was too annoying to have to flip through them, so I kept this approach.
  • The major drawback is when I add new coins. I can really only add increments of two pages in the center unless I add an accompanying blank page. It's also enormously difficult to rearrange coins. I've therefore decided to mainly add coins at the end, but they still need to be in groups of four. For now, that's acceptable, but does increase the challenge of finding individual coins. For that reason, I added an index in the front. This will also help me scale to multiple books, as my Philip II, Alexander III, and the Age of the Diadochi collection is two coins short of a new page. 
  • I debated a bit about page numbers, but they would prevent me from reordering pages in the future. Therefore, I just reasoned that it shouldn't be difficult to find the page when there are only 33 in the album. Page 16 is roughly in the middle. Page 24 is three-quarters through.
  • If anyone knows of a tape with similar re-stick properties to electrical tape, but is transparent, let me know. The white tape is the best I could find so far, but it's still ugly.


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  • Benefactor
1 hour ago, DonnaML said:

Very impressive. But I don't understand why the tape has to be re-stickable.

I hope your comment about your wife's limited attention span was intended to apply only to the subject of numismatics!


The tape has to be re-stickable in order to allow access to the coins. With normal tape I have to destroy the page in order to gain access, which was an issue with my previous albums. Soon I'll begin a project to re-photograph all of my coins as I'm not happy with my current shots. I'll therefore be accessing each one and I don't want to re-create the album.

My wife in general is a squirrel. She can't focus on any one thing more than a few minutes, but she has laser sharp focus during that time. It suits her well in her profession (investment real estate).

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Nice idea with the QR code. That's a really good way of keeping lots of information with a coin when you don't want to take up lots of space.

Interesting that you keep the auction/dealer cards with the coins. I find the format of these (and all the other paperwork) to be all over the place so I keep it separately, but that leaves me a job to match it to the coin. Not great when it's the provenance. Maybe the QR code idea could help with that too - sticking it to invoices etc.

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40 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

Interesting that you keep the auction/dealer cards with the coins. I find the format of these (and all the other paperwork) to be all over the place so I keep it separately, but that leaves me a job to match it to the coin. Not great when it's the provenance. Maybe the QR code idea could help with that too - sticking it to invoices etc.

Personally I find they often tell interesting stories about the coins. My favorites are the hand-written tags from long ago, though I really wish people would date their tags. 🙂 My weirdest one is a coin purchased at auction from I think the 1980's. The guy literally cut out the image of the coin and then separately cut out the description from the catalog. Looks odd, but I kept it. Even the tags that just say the auction house are interesting, because many of our friends are fascinated that most of my coins came from Europe.

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You've put a lot of work into this and its looking great - but that tape just doesn't do it for me (for whatever that is worth - which is nothing).

May look a little cleaner, last longer and be more practical for removal (and replacement) to use something like velcro tape.... there are many clear varieties available.




Edited by Constantivs
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