ancient coins and collectibles notebook roman

The best way to keep a collecting record.

You probably have many methods of keeping a record or note regarding your collection.  Perhaps you keep key information written on a coins holder.  Maybe you include notes on the receipt.  Whatever the method, I’m going to suggest that without a notebook – it’s not enough! You may be missing out on the biggest opportunity to improve your collecting experience.  It all centers around being in the moment.

I will focus on coins for this discussion, but it could certainly be applied to any collectible.

Let’s begin the discussion with this question: How much information is enough?

The short answer – all information may be important. Although my answer may seem cavalier, or convenient as a catch all – A simple notebook provides the perfect place to record all your information.

Ancient Coins and Collectibles The Best way to keep a collecting record

My notebook contains the following critical factual record keeping, sort of like the “business end” of the record.

  1. Date of purchase
  2. Cost
  3. Who I purchased it from, complete with contact information
  4. How it was originally described in advertisement, listing, website, etc.
  5. The original details that were recorded on any coin holder or envelope. This may include all the information above plus attributions, etc., but I record them separately so I can understand later where the information came from.

Getting past the obvious.

All this information, I am sure you already keep, so why the need for a notebook and record keeping?  Because in addition to the “business end” information. I add the “personal” end of it as well.

Information that I needed later, sometimes 10 years later were:

  1. How did I acquire it – was it a gift? Christmas present?
  2. Why did I purchase it – Did I purchase it for a collection I was forming or hoping to form? Did it replace another piece I sold or traded? Was I planning on using it for Sunday school lesson? Was it low grade because it was going to be used for show and tell?
  3. What do I think of it – how do I grade it or attribute it? Keeping good notes is essential, especially if attributing is taking any length of time – Read about one of my attributing journeys!

ancient coins and collectibles coin record

In the world of ancient coins, I also record my research:

  1. All the information, letters, symbols that appear on a coin. Read one of my Roman Coin Resources
  2. I then translate it all, whether it’s Greek or Latin or even Paleo-Hebraic so I have a record of what it says, or rather what I believe it says (as sometimes, years later with the addition of a new reference book – I realize I might have been wrong).
  3. I identify the coin in any of the reference books I own. I record the book, edition, and page number from each work it appears.

Finally, and this may seem a bit much, I do a hand drawing of the coin. I draw the coin as it should have looked, copying it from a reference book, then I draw my actual coin. This tip can help you years later when looking at your coin and not understand what the full image or legend would have said – you can just flip to your notebook and check, rather than pull out all your reference books.

Ancient Coins and Collectibles coin collecting record Notebooks

In summary there are times when I look at coin in my collection and ask – why did I buy this? Or learn that I made a mistake in how I attributed it, and don’t understand how I made such a mistake? But when I open my notebook, I instantly learn what I was thinking when I purchased it, and maybe my notes show I didn’t have a reference book at that time which led to the wrong identification.

Notebooks as a collecting record, are a valuable component of your collection. My notebooks represent years of study and research and I could never replace them.

After all – isn’t one the best part of collecting is the research and knowledge you gain, and then the opportunity to share it?

Please let me know if you another method, I would love to hear from you.

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