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Stamp Collection Inventory

 
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Posted 06/26/2019   8:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add boxerlover to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I'm new to stamp collecting and was wondering if I should use google sheets or software made for stamp collecting. If I use google sheets how should I how organize it? And where should I go to find information about a stamp?


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Posted 06/26/2019   9:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bakechad to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There are several good inventory programs out there, but I use a spreadsheet.

The problem with proprietary software is that the minute you start using it, you need to do two things. Figure out how to backup the data from the software's database and figure out an exit plan for your data when the software goes away. If you can do that, proprietary software can be more enjoyable than a generic spreadsheet.

With that said, I use a spreadsheet for everything. Google sheets will work fine and since it's cloud based, you are less likely to lose your data. Although, I use and highly recommend https://www.libreoffice.org/ . It's a great open source office suite that works on Windows, Mac, & Linux. It also has a drawing program that can edit Steiner pages and create album pages from scratch.
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Posted 06/26/2019   9:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Welcome to the Forum!

My ponderous reply with more questions than answers ... Every collector has different collecting interests and goals. Without knowing your specific collecting details, it almost impossible to provide any real recommendation.
Do you collect US? Foreign? Mint? Used? Singles? Blocks? Coils? FDCs? Postal history? BOB?
Is this a "have list" for insurance purposes or to avoid buying duplicates?
Is this a "want list" for shopping?
Do you need fields for quantity, condition, value, misc notes, etc.?
Is this to build a specific collection or exhibit?
Is this a list/database just for the sake of using a computer?
Do you want to include an image file?
The fields included/excluded from my own lists vary greatly as well as the sort order.

The spreadsheet or database tool you select should fit the task at hand. I don't know what the precise task is, but a gut feeling is - if you are new to collecting, spend more time with your stamps than the computer.
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Posted 06/26/2019   9:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Hobsun013 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Welcome,

As noted above the best advice if you are new to the hobby is spend more time enjoying the stamps wile learning as you go. The key is don't get overwhelmed with all the possibilities it can be a lot at first. If you have access to a library the "Scott Catalogues" provide a great deal of information and will help you the identify stamps. There are number of websites that can be useful as well but without knowledge of what you have or intend to collect it would be hard to point you in a specific direction.

Have fun ask questions but be aware that your questions will lead to more questions to allow others to help or give you advice. The key is collect what you like and know that how you display, store and record your stamps and the related information is a personal choice and will likely change over time.






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Posted 06/27/2019   02:54 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Welcome.

I cannot see doing philately without a computer in this day and age. I think it is perfectly acceptable to start this hobby without buying costly catalogs, reference materials, or software (for a variety of reasons many people are not in a position to do this). Of course if a hobbyist ultimately become highly involved or specializes then it is probably inevitable that they will need to invest in hardcopy reference works.

Most spreadsheets/databases contain these basic fields
Catalog Number
Country
Denomination
Description
Date Issued
Color
Perforation
Print Type
Watermark
Gum
Paper
Printer
Number Produced

Additional fields can be added to suit personal preferences.

In terms of commercial software, there are several options and a quick online search will identify these for you. There are 3-4 primary choices but I typically recommend StampManage. This does what you inquired about but most importantly it does not encrypt your data. My opinion is that the cost of the application pales in comparison to the investment you make in your time entering your data. As such, I refuse to buy applications which encrypts my data and makes it difficult to access it without the application interface.

In terms of finding information on stamps, there are a number of good websites. Note that most of the 'general stamp catalog' websites which are touted as 'free' are not really free since they are harvesting/selling your personal information or exposing you to ads, affiliate links, or other commercial activities. But with a bit of digging, you can typically find a number of site which freely offer information on specific countries or topics. Building a bookmarked list of these websites will be helpful.
Don
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Posted 06/27/2019   08:59 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I use StampManage and recommend it.
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Al
Edited by angore - 06/27/2019 09:13 am
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Posted 06/27/2019   09:40 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
John Becker wrote: "if you are new to collecting, spend more time with your stamps than the computer." I could not agree more. Hobsun said basically the same thing. Get to know your stamps.

I'll politely disagree with Don in that I don't see any reason for a beginning collector to need a computer, except for online searches, as Don suggests. As one gets more specialized in their collecting interests, then a computer and software could become more handy. Or not. I have one major specialty area (of several); non-USA; and pen & ink notes work just fine. And a notebook never freezes up or crashes.
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Edited by Climber Steve - 06/27/2019 09:42 am
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Posted 06/27/2019   09:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yes. Pick up stamps and enjoy them. Depending in your interests, pick up a cheap, old catalogue or set of catalogues on eBay. It will really help you later on if you organise your stamps - particularly your swaps - as you get them, but, unless you really love computers and lists, they can wait - forever in my case.
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Posted 06/27/2019   11:06 am  Show Profile Check rlsny's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rlsny to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I keep it simple. I just have a spreadsheet (Excel, but any would do) that has catalog number, catalog value, how much I paid, date of purchase, and any note about it. The note might mention where I bought it, if there is a cert, and what the cert says. It also mentions any faults whether there is a cert or not.

It's minimal work to update it and it is useful for me to quickly check what I have and track condition information so I don't have to examine the stamp in order to remember if there is a problem that might not be visible etc. (e.g tiny thin, heavy hinge, etc that might only be visible on the back.) I don't like to write fault information in the actual stamp album. I like to keep album scribbles to a minimum. The spreadsheet makes sure I keep track of the details.

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Posted 06/27/2019   12:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gmot to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Just to prove the adage that there are as many opinions as people - I really don't like the software mentioned above, find it user-unfriendly and inaccurate. They are IMO better software products out there.

But really a spreadsheet works great and can be as detailed or not as you like, for tracking all sorts of useful info on your collection, whether at a summary level or down to individual stamps.
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Posted 06/27/2019   2:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bakechad to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The original post specifically asked about Google Sheets. I use Libreoffice, but took a country I just started and stuck it in Google Sheets so the original poster could see how it looks with some data:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1R...GuVGgmRHJe3c
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Posted 06/27/2019   2:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add boxerlover to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you all for the information, and yes I do sometimes get ahead of myself.
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Posted 06/27/2019   10:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
and yes I do sometimes get ahead of myself.


Disagree.
You made the query prior to action. Sounds sensible to me.

Opinion.
If you intend to spend some time / years in this new hobby, you need 2 things only.
A good scanner (Epson perfection) and a good Catalogue (Scott)

Take 100 stamps, scan them ( possibly 10 minutes)
Identify and name the images from your Catalogue.
Repeat ad nauseum.
There it is.
You have your inventory, forever saved, even if you later sell.




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Posted 11/04/2019   10:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add oldmanriver to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I used Excel for my inventorying. I made a basic template. Usual columns. Catalog number, year issued, description etc. For condition, I used a "list box". In the list, I have all of the conditions like MNH, Used-F/VF so on and so forth. You can auto populate the catalog number column but need to go through it and add the sub catalog numbers for varieties, souvenir sheets and the like. First column is titled Have. If I have that stamp, I just put an "X" in it. That will allow sorting of what you have and don't have. Once I had my template all tweaked, I created new tabs to split things up. One tab for Airmail, one for Postage due and the list goes on. The level of detail you want to put into it is up to you. Mine is pretty detailed. The number of hours I have into them is unreal. But it's setup for what I want. I used the basic template to create inventory sheets for every country or area I collect.
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