How do you manage records, documentation, notes, etc

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Stork, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Stork

    Stork I deliver Supporter

    I'm sure this is a topic covered here, but I can't seem to find a specific thread.

    Basically, I am a confirmed world coin collector with terrible records (working on that), but have slowly bought a couple ancients. The numbers are low, so I'd like to start off on the right foot, and in an organized way in my efforts to keep my documentation done properly.

    Does anyone use pre-fab software (preferably Mac oriented)? Like Coin Exchange? Use an excel or other type of spreadsheet/database? If so, what do you use to populate and in what order?

    So far I've been making shots like this, copying from the auction or seller's tag like this one (or just cut/pasting it from a screenshot for an auction or seller's site), plus keeping a screenshot of whatever receipt I have. Paper receipts are currently residing in scattered piles in my usual fashion.


    Somehow though individual document folders holding the combination photo, any other photos, plus receipt copies seems a bit incomplete or inefficient. A database or spreadsheet of some sort would be nice.

    Any recommendations for what data is everyone's favorite to document, and HOW the documentation is stored/arranged would be very educational--and helpful for someone just getting into ancients.
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  3. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter




    If I were organized, how would I maintain the every-day-is-Christmas experience of stumbling over things I'd forgotten about?

    Seriously, I've got a problem. :(
  4. IdesOfMarch01

    IdesOfMarch01 Well-Known Member

  5. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Just a guy making his way in the universe

    I'm not very good at this. I keep my coins in a couple of cigar boxes in either the yellow envelopes or flips that come with the coins. I write my attributions on either the outside of the yellow envelope or on the paper insert that goes in the flips. If they are already attributed by the seller I do nothing.
    galba68, Justin Lee and Stork like this.
  6. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I use Excel and have shared it with others on this board. I have no problem sharing it again if anyone might like to see an example.
  7. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    I just use my email. I build an email for each coin including purchase information, attribution information, pictures of other similar coin examples and anything else of interest I find while researching. I then just send that email to myself and drop it in the “ancient coins” folder. In this way, it’s searchable and can cointain as many photos as I’d like. Anyone else do it this way?
  8. Dave M

    Dave M Francophiliac

    Excel, but that's not the point... have you posted the image of that ancient along with the similar coin from Albania? They are amazingly similar, enough to make me wonder if there's a story.
  9. Stork

    Stork I deliver Supporter

    @Bing, I'd be interested in your Excel set up. I am an absolute newbie with Excel, but I do have a copy of it on my laptop (2011 for Mac IIRC). Even if I use the Mac's Numbers or another program, that would give me an idea on how to organize.

    @IdesOfMarch01 THAT is the type of thread I was looking for. Will go study it.

    @Orange Julius I never thought to use my email that way. I'm basically doing that sort of thing with my photo folders (my cropped and templated finished works, not the raw photos). Not the photos as managed by well, Photos, but folders I set up myself after making them ready for posting.

    That's exactly WHY I bought it :D. The Italian designer of the Albanian coins was definitely drawing on the classics (due to the influence of the Italian King, an avid coin collector). I'm a theme collector and my new thing is to find some of the ancients that inspired the Albanian coins of King Zog.

    prow compare.jpg

    and another

    Hercules combo.jpg
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  10. Dave M

    Dave M Francophiliac

    Nice! The connection back thru history is really great. I guess the copyright had expired :)

    There is a French engraver C. Romagnol. I wonder if there's a relationship; I wasn't able to find one in a brief google.
  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    While I have a computer spreadsheet of my own design that allows sorting and searching, I still, first, make out a 3x5 file card for each coin which I keep in a series of boxes and find easier to reference in many cases when all I want is some curiosity question rather than a sorted series. I started the computer file two software changes ago (Microsoft stops supporting their old programs after a while) but so far I have been able to convert without retyping. File cards live on.
    Nicholas Molinari and Stork like this.
  12. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE

    I do. My next mjor project would be @Bing 's Excel sheet that he graciously shared, and posting to FORVM. At this point, I use my Email and also attached .jpg files to the email. I also hard drive and backup via WD and cloud-based for the .jpg with a reasonable attribute. I have over 1,000 filed that way. Lazy, yes, Time, no. One day I will get it right.

    RR Flaminius Cilo 109-108 BCE AR Den X Biga wreath Sear 179 AUTH Craw 302-1.jpg
    RR Flaminius Cilo 109-108 BCE AR Den X Biga wreath Sear 179 AUTH Craw 302-1
    galba68, Theodosius, Ryro and 4 others like this.
  13. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Here’s my system:

    STEP 1: Take my own photograph of the coin.

    STEP 2: Enter the coin into my personal catalogue, which is simply an MSWord document with tables. I have a separate document for each era of coins (e.g., Twelve Caesars, Severans, etc.). The table records all relevant info, including a unique catalogue number for each coin.

    STEP 3: Make a tray insert for the coin with the same unique catalogue number but a briefer description.

    Into the tray with insert it goes.

    PROS: A systematic and well documented means of cataloging, appropriate for a modest collection like mine consisting of under 300 coins.

    CONS: I wish my catalog could automatically generate my insert information. I know some collectors who have systems that can do that. Since I’m not using any prefab software, everything I do is just done myself through Word via cut and paste and manual formatting in an insert template.

    I as of yet do not have ways of cataloging original owner documentation and proof of provenance, which is becoming increasingly important. I have saved almost all that info and right now just have all that material in a three ring binder. Using my unique catalogue number, I should be able to match up that information easily enough but haven’t devised a system for doing so yet.
  14. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

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  15. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Thanks! Got it just last week. This is the third time I’ve managed to show it in a thread. :shame:
  16. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    That's what I do... I use Bento on the Mac, which automatically adds a catalogue number for each new coin I add. I put all the paperwork into a #10 envelope identified by the catalogue number, and there are boxes designed to hold #10 envelopes. I'm happy with this system! The only problem is that Bento is not being kept up. As soon as it stops working I'll migrate to Filemaker. (I've tried TapForms and wasn't too happy with it.)

    This photo shows my Mac running Bento, showing coin #570, and envelope #570 sticking up beside it in the box.
    Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 11.25.22 PM.jpg
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  17. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    I've started putting my cost and other pertinent notes in the "private notes" section of each coin's listing on my CollectiveCoin page. That field is only viewable by the owner. (I mention this since I know you have a CollectiveCoin account, and you were somewhat influential in my increased utilization of that site.)

    Haven't done it yet, but I intend to start keeping a binder with clear sheet protectors. Into each of the sheet protectors I'll have a page in the front with my writeup and photo of the coin - exactly as they appear in the threads on the forums (and yes, I'm working on creating a writeup thread for each coin). Behind that printout of the writeup, I'll also keep the invoice I got when I bought the coin, the original dealer flip or envelope, and any other miscellaneous paperwork.
    Stork, Theodosius and Johnnie Black like this.
  18. altaycoins

    altaycoins Junior Member

    I take a photo of the coin myself using the following setup:

    I register the coin information to my computer. I use recollector app on my mac but can also work on pc. It totally worth to give 50 bucks.

    I looked for a dedicated software for years and finally i found this one which is completely customizable. In the beginning you define the information you would like to enter. And if you change your mind, you can add/ remove sections later.



    Then, I also add it to my collection website so that it can be reached even if I don't have my computer, tablet with me.

    Then I store in a folder with with proper labeling (back side has the metric data and the collection ID):
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  19. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    I use an application called Google Keep. Its a simple note-taking app that is actually ideal for creating a digital coin catalog that is with you everywhere you go (there's a phone app). All of your data is backed up to the cloud as well, so you'll never lose your hard work. Your data is tied to your to your Google email address. You can tag your individual coins with keywords (example: Roman Republic, Denarius, etc) for easy categorization, and it has search functionality as well. Here are some screenshots with brief descriptions of each.

    Overview of launch screen. You can toggle between two columns or a single column view (enabling more coins to be seen, or bigger photos). This is the two column view.


    Here is an individual coin entry, seen after clicking on a "card" or whatever you call it.


    Tip: one of your cards should be your information template. Duplicate it when you have a new coin you'd like to add by clicking and holding on it, then selecting "make a copy" from the menu that will pop up. This will lend to consistency, and save you from typing in redundant details for every coin.


    A note on tagging: this is a great feature and shouldn't be overlooked. Google calls tags "labels" within the Google Keep app. If you're not familiar, think of them as being similar to labels on a paper filing system, like a hanging file folder. You can create and apply multiple tags to the same coin. For example, tag a coin as "Greek" which is a wide net to cast, but also "Sicilian" - this way, you can select either of those tags in your search effort and get related results with increasing levels of specificity. You may want to see all of your Greeks, or only bull-man coins from Gela in bronze, issued under a certain ruler. Tags will provide this. Spend some time thinking about your label structure before you begin adding coins. You can manage your tags/"labels" in one place within the app:


    I hope you find this useful! I love having my coin information and photos at my fingertips all the time. I probably sound like a Google fanboy, but in this instance I really am.
  20. PipersSpring

    PipersSpring Celeste Jones Mining

    Google Keep sounds simple, inexpensive (free) and flexible. I use Apple 'Notes' which is very similar and also free. It's easy to directly enter data in to, cut, paste or import. As many photos as you like can be imported, cut and pasted or dragged in from Photos or even from an auction catalog.

    When I buy a coin at auction, I just copy and paste the attribution, drag or control click the photo in to the coin's notes file and drag the file to whatever Notes folder I want it to reside in. I often go to AC Search and find similar coins, with prices and attributions, and paste those in so that I have a record of the relative value of the least at the time I purchased it.

    You can make tabs or labels, but the program's search capabilities are so good that it will find every occurrence of whatever word you are searching for (even those in the body of the text), and display the results on it's left border. It's super search ability is a big plus, especially when you are in a hurry, but it often produces irrelevant hits simply because your search term was found deep in the text of an unrelated coin's description. The program is pretty good about prioritizing it's search findings. If searching for Hadrian, you might get 8 Hadrian coins, then a Trajan and then back to Hadrians. I haven't quite figured out the logic that the search function uses. It's probably improvable by using advanced search methods, but it works so well, I just enter the name of the emperor I want and don't waste my time trying to do a fancy search. Interestingly, with Shekels of Tyre, which are dated, it will keep them organized by date and normally find the coin(s) for the year I'm looking for simply by searching for "30" or "162", etc. However, it can get confused if that same number occurs in birth and death dates like, Poppaea (30-65 AD).

    I keep my Notes files in iCloud, which enables me to access or add information from my iPhone, as well as my MacBook Pro.
  21. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo Temporarily Away

    @Stork ,

    I use an excel sheet that includes basic information and hyperlinks to the different documents related to the coin that I have stored in the same folder (export documents, auction results etc.). I upload photos to the excel document but I've noticed the file is getting too big and causing lag. I'm considering moving to a Word doc format unless I come across something better before I go to the trouble.

    I find your new collecting area very interest. I admit that I seek out modern coins that have drawn inspiration from the ancients in my collection. Although I don't have any modern coins that come near to the beauty of your Albanian pieces. I'm a big fan of your website.

    You may recall allowing me permission to post a photo of your lovely 1927-R Frank Ar for my write up on the first denarius.

    Here are a few of my ancient / modern design pairs :)

    Roma and Mercury

    Alexander III the Great


    John Hyrcanus / Israeli 2 Shekel
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