Tracking Your Collectables, Part Two, Getting Started Part Two in a series of articles about the hows and whys of tracking your collectibles. (First article published 5/5/08.) This article discusses how to use Excel spreadsheets.
News-Antique.com - May 12,2008 - I’m not a computer geek. I can manage a word processor, I love to Google, I’ve learned to operate a web store, but Excel spreadsheets? Those passed me by.
What I’ve learned, though, is that spreadsheets are not difficult to master. Basically, you have columns (those are the vertical stacks – think Roman columns or Greek columns) and rows (those are the horizontal lines). The basic grid format lends itself to placing your list of collectibles in a column (one item below the next) and your categories side by side.
With my parents’ collection of 502 (yes, 502!) paperweights, the categories originally were: Index #, Producer, Artist, Diameter, Height, Date Acquired, Cost, Signature, Internal, Molded, Etched, Label, and Description. The first eight categories required a typed entry, such as PW83, Bridgeton Studio, Chris Buzzini, 2.5”, 2.25”, 1977, $75.00, “Bridgeton Studio '77 Buzzini C-822”. The next four categories only required an “X”, if the entry would have been “yes”. The Description category would include as much information as seemed appropriate. For example, “Iridescent white botanical, thread wrapped base, White and rust tropical fish on blue case over white core.”
Other types of collections would, of course, require different categories. If you collect Elvis memorabilia, for example, you might want categories that reflect the different types of items, such as Record, Magazine, Autograph, Photo, Doll. You might need space for describing the condition of the item, whether you have the original packaging, even where you bought it.
The beauty of spreadsheets is that they can hold an infinite number of items and categories, and you can use the data sort feature to put the information into whatever form you need. Just be sure to have a master version that you “Save” separately from a version you might play with. Be not afraid! And have fun with it.