Was looking to organize a varied topical collection of worldwide and US stamps and hoped the forum might be able to offer some advice and which program to get. Collection is rather eclectic, and includes several topics, a few albums of US stamps that I inherited, and about 85 nations.
Any help or suggestions will be most appreciated. If it makes any difference in the advice, I use and am quite familiar with MS Access and Excel. Thanks for any advice.
To me, simpler is best. I used Excel and created an inventory of sorts for all of my collections. Pain to get the 1st one done. Once I had everything tweaked the way I wanted it, I used it as a template to create other inventory sheets. You can put your column headings however you want. For mine, I stuck with basics. Scott Number, Year Issued, Description, Perf, Condition, Notes. For Perf and Condition, I created list boxes so all you have to do is select from the list box drop down. For the Scott numbers, I populated that by doing the pull down and it will auto number. Once you have all the numbers in, you'd need to edit to fit that particular country. Some numbers get deleted, add in the sub numbers like 1819a or whatever. For a particular country, I have different tabs setup. Regular and Commem, Semi Postal, Air, Officials, etc and so forth. You can setup as you like. Trick is to get that template created, then it's just a matter of copying it to create the sheets that you need.
I might add that it is very labor intensive create not to mention filling in all the information. One column that I neglected to mention is the "Have" column. That's a drop down list that has Yes No. That way you can sort by Have or Don't Have. I also put in a "Last Updated" cell that will auto date the last time you worked on it.
I use a simple Excel spreadsheet for my want/need lists. Easy enough to put one country per tab, years across the top as column headers, and catalog numbers down underneath each year. I highlight each cell in yellow when bought/ordered, green when arrived, then delete when mounted/placed.
I don't keep track of what I have, that's what the catalog (Michel, Sakura, etc) is for.
Enjoy having fun with stamps! That is the name of this game. Wonderful you are carrying on your father's collection. You are the next steward of a family treasure you can pass on to future generations. Its value as a family heirloom wil always surpass it monetary value.
Collecting for the enjoyment of collecting, whatever that might be, is the name of the game. Don't hesitate to ask questions especially if you need basic information and especially more advanced sources of information for any possible topic. You should be able to find folks on this board a little further along on their collecting journey glad to share experiences.
My personal bias is a used stamp loses the story of its journey in the postal service when it is removed from the cover it transported to its destination. Collecting postal history adds a whole new aspect to your journey in our hobby.
Wishing you many enjoyable future days in our hobby. Russ
Pockets, welcome to the forum! I also use Excel for keeping an inventory, and at one time I used the same tab as a "have" list and a "want" list. This works great if you are collecting by sets vs. singles.
In more recent times, I've been managing my want list as a separate tab. This is mainly because I'm low on sets I need so I've had to try and build difficult sets a stamp at a time. A want list for this approach is much easier if it's separate.
If you're interested in seeing examples from my excel sheet, just ask!
Like others I use an excel sheet that tracks the basics - status (have/need/replace), year issued, Scott #, Denomination, Description, and perforations in the case of Canada shown below. This was my first basic effort, and as mentioned above I use list boxes for easy selection and sorting what I still need.
As I copied my original Canada formatting over for a couple other countries, I did end up deleting half the columns as that info is readily available within the Scott catalogs for reference.
Edit - the formatting did not hold up, and I'm too lazy right now to work on correcting. Not sure how well the formatting carries over from a copy and paste from Excel, but hopefully you can see the intent of the layout some of us mentioned.
CANADA BACK OF BOOK Status Year Number Denomination Description Perf
SEMI POSTAL X 1974 B1 8c + 2c Olympic Cojo Symbol Bronze 12.5 X 1974 B2 10c + 5c Olympic Cojo Symbol Silver 12.5
Thanks for the responses. I am gratified to know that I have been doing it sort of right. Used an Access database and Excel spreadsheets but see now I probably don't need the software so can use that $ to buy more stamps. Again, thanks.
It isn't difficult to build a great inventory spreadsheet in Excel, and as oldmanriver posted you can set up any way you want to. I've used Excel for 20+ years to track my collection.
Way back in 2005, I wrote an article/tutorial on using Excel to create a philatelic inventory that was published in The Compulatelist by the Philatelic Computing Study Group. Most, if not all, of the article can be implemented today using a current version of Excel.
Most software suffers from two issues: 1. To avoid becoming obsolete, it must be maintained. For many collecting areas, beyond simply entering a catalogue number and, maybe, an issuing authority, the details required to describe a stamp change. 2. There must be sufficient buyers to cover development costs, at least.
I started collecting my home country. Then, I started collecting UK stamps. I added the smaller Islands (Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man). I, later, stopped collecting Dutch stamps. Then, I started collecting Irish overprints on British stamps. Next, I started collecting Ireland. I bought Spanish yearbooks as souvenirs. Then, I added blocks of Spanish definitives. I expanded the range of overprints on British stamps. I stopped collecting the smaller British islands. I started collecting Spanish landmarks in blocks. I started adding classic Dutch stamps.
Even three years ago, I would not have guessed what my collecting interest would be. So, I might have been chasing my tail if I would have bought software to keep up with my interests. And as a child - not that there was much software to be considered - I had no reason to buy anything but software for Dutch stamps. At a time, Royal Mail offered a detailed database I bought. They discontinued it. But as a collector of specialised King Edward VII and George V, I had to add many records myself.
I also collect specialised Machins. The development in those stamps has been enormous. Every few years there was some technical change to the production or use of the stamps that meant the database would need to be expanded. That may not be the biggest issue. Entering the details for the earlier issues will be.
Unless you never change your collecting interest and want only a basic list, there is a good chance you soon consider software to be too restrictive or not fully covering your interests.
Excel does not cost me anything extra and it has been very obedient when I wanted to add further details or collecting areas. It also allows me to use different formats for different areas.
In my work, I use applications in Excel. There are people who consider Phyton or R as the solution to everything. They are good to code all sorts of calculations. However, they are also what black boxes are made of. They can analyse what can happen, but hardly ever allow me to drill down and analyse why it happens. Good Old Excel applications still do. Excel's flexibility and simplicity have made it a survivor and a collector's friend. It has its drawbacks, but many can be overcome.