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Old 18th June 2019, 01:59 AM   #1
Ian
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Question What records do you keep of your collection?

In a recent discussion, Alan Maisey made some really important, from the heart, comments that struck me as worthy of a whole separate topic. Just how do folks keep records of their weapons collection? What do you want from those records?

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Forgive me.

I am old, I am tired, and I am sick to my guts as what I personally see as a rather ill-informed and unrealistic expectation that everything in the field of S.E. Asian material culture can be labelled and classified using information that is so incomplete and erroneous as to be laughable.

It would please me greatly if collectors and students in our particular field of study would cease the patently unrealistic and adopt a more measured approach.

In places where we can get half a dozen different names for the same object by going to half a dozen different houses a few kilometers apart, how wise is it to be too definite about anything?

We all know that material objects --- not just weapons, but all sorts of manufactured items --- move all over the region and have done so for more than a 1000 years.

Yes, it is in the nature of man to want to label things, but it would perhaps be more acceptable if we used attributions, or references, for instance :-

"A gizmo, collected 1995 Kaba-Kaba, Bali, Indonesia, location of origin:- attributed to Karanganyar, Jawa Tengah, circa 1893 (after Sutrisno)"

with this type of approach we say where we acquired the thing, we say where we think it might be from, we say what period we think it might be from, and we give the reference for our label:- Sutrisno.

There is a very nice little quote that I think is attributed to Lao Tzu:-

"The wise seem confused, knowing the imperfection of their understanding"
Whether said out of tiredness or frustration, these are profoundly wise words!

In a sense we are all "students" of our passion, and it has concerned me for some time that I needed to put together a catalogue of my collection that was both informative to me, helpful for posting on this Forum, and useful for buying and selling (mainly selling these days as I'm getting older and don't want to leave my wife with an enormous task). That combination has proven elusive, even after several attempts.

After reading Albert von Zonneveld's book on Indonesian arms, I am now in the process of completely reorganizing the cataloguing system for my collection. A recent international move was a major impetus, driven by the necessity of dealing with Australian Customs officials concerning importation of my collection of 1000+ items (a frustrating and completely off topic subject!).

I settled on a series of Xcel spreadsheets organized by Country/Geographic Region of Origin:

Individual sheets are organized by Country/Region and assigned a code [e.g. Mainland SE Asia, MSEA; India, IND; Philippines, PHI, Africa, AFR; etc.; plus a grab bag of items identified simply as Miscellaneous, MISC)

Within each of these Country/Geographic Regions, I have set up a sheet with the following columns:
  • Identification number (starting at 1000 for each sheet)
  • Name(s) of item (common name, other names)
  • Attributed Age/Period
  • Dimensions (linear dimensions, weight)
  • Date of acquisition
  • Place of acquisition (if online, then country of purchase)
  • Purchase price (converted to a common currency--in my case USD)
  • Insured value (used for insurance and tax purposes)
  • Date sold
  • Where/How sold (direct sale, auction site, online)
  • Name and address of buyer
  • Selling price
  • Picture (single picture of overall item)
  • Notes/Reference(s)--includes a wide variety of information (details of acquisition, more precise localization of origin, special materials used in construction, description used in sale of item, citations of relevant literature and online sources, including URLs to online sites such as this Forum)
As you can see, this is a mixture of collecting, research, and business (buying/selling/insurance) interests. My goal is to have sold off nearly everything over the next 10 years and be left with an extensive digital archive to ponder in my declining years. (My wife says I'm already declining )

So my question to this Forum is, What have you found useful in describing your collection and using it for reference purposes?

Ian.
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Old 18th June 2019, 10:21 AM   #2
Kmaddock
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Hi Ian

I too keep a similar excel sheet but I do not include the name of the buyer

I also keep a records of trades and swaps of items along with restoration costs of items.

As it is also a means of recording spend I have a few formula built into the excel with profit (or loss) on the sale and a running total of if i am running at a profit or not.

I generally turn a reasonable profit per year (I buy and sell all sorts of items not just weapons) which i solely use for family events and holidays so this is recorded in a separate section of excel so i can see where I have spent profit.

I do not need to do this financially but it can be nice to go for a weekend away in Europe and have a it all paid for from a good sale.

However my wife is adamant i do not sell what i like which i greatly appreciate.

Regards

Ken
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Old 18th June 2019, 11:52 AM   #3
Ian
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Thanks Ken.

I have a similar approach to accounting for expenditures and sales. Because this information may be audited at some time (I've been audited twice by the IRS already), I put the tax accounting stuff into additional files and simply refer to the individual items by their alpha-numeric identifiers (e.g. AFR 1076; MSEA 1134; MISC 1081; etc.). No doubt there are many effective systems.

Ian
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Old 18th June 2019, 09:36 PM   #4
Battara
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Ian I do just about everything you do, but some info in excel and some in the info sheets I do for each piece, plus a picture of said piece.

This was more than they needed for insurance purposes, but glad I do such for research purposes too.
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Old 19th June 2019, 05:44 AM   #5
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Hello Ian,

Definitely make sure that the numbers are unique, e.g. starting with a different digit. Its also common usage to put your initials in front of any code which helps to refer to collections later on.

As indicated by Ken, keeping records of buyers may pose a security issue in case of any data breach and will be illegal under some jurisdictions.

Aside from my best estimate for the age (range) of any piece, I add the minimum and maximum ages that I believe can be defended by objective criteria. This helps with reassessments later on.

Id suggest to always list the materials utilized as well as possible legal ramifications like CITES.

It seems preferable to specify all data separately for each component since age/etc. may differ widely: blade, hilt, scabbard, and accessories (if any).

Regards,
Kai
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Old 19th June 2019, 06:36 AM   #6
Ian
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Hi kai,

Thanks for your thoughtful responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Hello Ian,

Definitely make sure that the numbers are unique, e.g. starting with a different digit. Its also common usage to put your initials in front of any code which helps to refer to collections later on. ...
My alpha-numeric system provides unique identifiers, but the numeric part may not be unique because I start each alpha-group from the number 1000 to avoid leading zeros.

Quote:
... As indicated by Ken, keeping records of buyers may pose a security issue in case of any data breach and will be illegal under some jurisdictions. ...
This is something that I raised with my tax accountant. He said that the ATO in Australia might want this information if I was audited and suggested encrypting the data, which I have done. Is there anything further I should do?

Quote:
... Id suggest to always list the materials utilized as well as possible legal ramifications like CITES.

It seems preferable to specify all data separately for each component since age/etc. may differ widely: blade, hilt, scabbard, and accessories (if any). ...
This information is contained in my "Notes" column, which can become quite lengthy for some items. In addition to the materials used, I record whether the hilt, scabbard, etc. appears to be a replacement.

Ian
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Old 19th June 2019, 01:33 PM   #7
fernando
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This is what i call my 'INVENTORY', which i have put up a several years ago, in a manner i found adequate with my collector profile.
The basic purpose is to have (A) a record, for what the word means, (B) a source for my own consultation when i don't recall a particular detail, (C) a resource for my wife and daughter to have some data for when eventually i kick the bucket and (D) a listing to supply the insurance company when i update its items and values, which (actual) total value i declare, under a status of 'special' specific contents, added to my global home insurance policy; to whom i also send a set of global pictures that i take around the house where the pieces are hanging or kept.
In this excel sheet, i have three separate pages; firearms, white arms and various. Each is titled in the same fashion, as follows:

1 - The # number is the position in the inventory page and not the number of the piece tag; when i deaccess an item, i re-number the position of the others in the page. I didn't find that, physically labeling the items with a connected number, would be a practical procedure: call it an option.
2 - Type of the piece; musket, sword, lance ...
3 - Country of actual origin, not where bought... when known.
4 - Model, style, pattern.
5 - Serial number, when available.
6 - Marks, inscriptions, when short.
7 - Dealer or person whom i get the piece from, either swapped, paid for ... or offered.. I omit this column to the Insurance company; prefer to keep it private.
8 - Date the piece was made; precise, approximate or unknown.
9 - Description of the piece, as exhaustive as possible; historic, long inscriptions, construction, materials, detailed measurements, weight.
10 - Price bought; or 'O' when offered.
11 - Year acquired.
12 - Hyperlink to detailed photos, kept in collection image files.

PS
When i mention 'actual' value for the Insurance company, is the price i 'actually' paid and not one inflated.


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Old 19th June 2019, 04:41 PM   #8
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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I know one collector who just chucks it all in the cupboard!
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Old 19th June 2019, 05:13 PM   #9
Kubur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
I know one collector who just chucks it all in the cupboard!


I know another one like that!
Only with a rough market valuation for his wife in case of problems...
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Old 19th June 2019, 07:53 PM   #10
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
I know one collector who just chucks it all in the cupboard!



Kinda like all my books, notes etc. in the RV (NO room for pointy things).stuffed in every cabinet, drawer and open space.....they don't call it the BOOKMOBILE for nuthin'

Great and interesting entries here, and great topic Ian. I think as many of us are reaching uh, 'maturity' (?) OR NOT we do need to plan for the itemized handling of our precious ones to relieve the family of the enormous pressure.

I think the best method is basically to have each item catalogued by a number system, with a brief categoric description with estimated age and value (and appraisal dates parenthesized) .

Many items will have the 'comp' values but may have outstanding inherent value beyond that due to stellar provenance or rarity.

While condition of course dictates valuation by the numbers for appraisers, many exceptionally rare items (one of a set number known to exist etc) may be regarded as 'whatever market will bear'.

These need to be handled accordingly in an auction setting probably and with high reputation auctioneers or dealers.

While I have not collected in years, there are still some of my stalwart 'friends' left, and it would be so hard to place monetary value on them, as in 'collectors parlance', they're just ugly ducklings but historically priceless.

Whatever the case, and it will vary by each person, the main thing is that we are brought be think of this inevitability, and act accordingly.

Nicely placed topic Ian, thank you.
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