Cataloging your Collection


#1

Hi Everyone,

I am a new collector from Melbourne, Australia. Recently joined the Australian Cartridge Collectors Association as I have certainly caught the collecting bug. Since then have got around 50-100 different cartridges and am interested in beginning to catalog them but there is not much out there in the way of cataloging cartridges. So I was wondering if someone could stear me in the right direction and either tell me the best way or even show an example.

Thanks in Advanced


#2

Shooter1992–There are as many ways to catalog a collection as there are collectors. Obviously, it is much easier today with computers than it was when I started in 1958. I must have tried at least a dozen different ways from 3 x 5 cards to elaborate cataloging numbering systems. Today, and for the last 25 years, I have used a MS Excel worksheet. It is flexible, sortable and can be rearranged with little trouble as you decide what to include. There are several Cartridge Collection dedicated programs available, but most are fairly expensive. I have looked at some of these and, while excellent, I always pass on them as I have no interest in redoing my 15,000+ collection.

If you want to see a sample of my Excel catalog, send me an email (click on “email” below) and I’ll send an attachment showing my column headers and a few cartridge entries.

Whatever you decide to do for a catalog, it is good that your starting out with a small collection. When I first got a home computer in 1981 I already had about 5000 cartridges and it was a major undertaking to start from scratch, with more cartridges being added faster than I could keep up.


#3

I use Excel too. It is the simplest way to cataloging your collection.

I use 4 column headers: name , headstamp + notes ( primer annulus for example) , type of bullet, case material.These headers are in different sheets: CF rifle, metric CF rifle, british CF rifle, inch pistol , metric pistol, rimfire, pinfire, wildcats, shotshells, clips ( yes, I know, I should create a “military sheet” ). I know several other collectors that include dimensional data or historical notes, but, as Ron wrote, I started cataloging my collection when I already had several hundred cartridges… I would had been a never ending work to insert all additional data…


#4

I’m more of a “late starter”, and was advised by my mentor to start cataloging early. Fortunately, that meant starting my catalog on the computer.
A simple spreadsheet works well (I use Open Office suite, a free program similar to Microsoft Office suite) for cataloging, the hardest part being deciding what information you wish to record (BTW, how much you paid and actual value are good information to keep) and what categories you want to put them in.


#5

For indexing cartridges I use an ultra-fine tip black marker and write a 4-digit code on the case (for metallic cartridges) such as 0001, 0002, 0003, etc… I also use a letter code in the case of associated components for a cartridges, like having a pulled bullet for a cartridge, I will label it as 0003.a on the base of the bullet so I know which cartridge it goes with.

For all the number cataloging I use an oddball database program called “Data Tracker for Arms” from Data Village. It is really simple, and was meant for gun collectors, but I just re-labelled the fields for cartridge related descriptive terms.


#6

Howdy shooter1992

Welcome to the forum & to collecting. A great bunch of folks.

First I’d decide what information about the cartridge you might need to reference when your away from your collection & need to see if you have it. This might just be the headstamp, bullet, case material & primer. Or if you just intend to collect one of each case type, just the case type, which is simple. But you’ll start seeing different headstamps or bullets & want to add those. So, my 2¢ use either a computer or a note book, which ever is handy for you, & record the important information with as much detail as you can. I wouldn’t get into measurements as variations in manufacturing can then enter & drive you crazy. I use abbreviations & keep a record of those so you can maintain continuity throughout your ‘book’. br=brass, cu=copper. pi=primer ca=case I start wit the headstamp & then primer, crimps, case, (including pertaint details cannelures, mouth crimps, or shot size, hull color, over shot card colors & print if you collect shotshells) bullet shape, material & magnetic or cored & that sort of detail. Group photos might well work, (make sure thay are high quality) but as you add new you need to update. In this digital age that is easy & cheap.
I just number in order that I get them & then enter the case type in another book under the case type number I can add the numbers for future cartridges of the case type. (ie my 1st .303 might be number 45 & so any future 303’s might be 79, 206-225, 409-410 & etc.).

I’d also include the price you paid so should you come across an extra you have an idea of worth in trading it. And (God forbid) in case of loss it gives you proof for insurance or value for a police report.

All this said look at what you think might be the way you will need to use this & structure it so you can easily use it. Remember the simpler the easier. but as you know with cartridge collecting the details are very important.

You guys have lots of shows, go to the next one & poll the members about how they keep records. & how they use them.


#7

Whatever you decide, be prepared to change everything at least 3 times before you finally settle into a system. The more you collect the more your interests will change and, before you know it, you’ll be collecting stuff that doesn’t fit into your current catalog system. So, you just start over or try to adapt what you have. Today’s computers are an absolute necessity. And back everything up. I once lost my entire catalog in a crash and had to re-do the entire thing from my hard copies.

Ray


#8

Many years ago I wrote a simple ACCESS database to record my collection. It is set up for Brtiish military which I collect but the headings and tables could be changed for anythinh required. It has the advantage of good search characteristics and drop down tables to cut down repetitious entries.

Sample page attached.
Regards
TonyE


#9

I have photographed each and every one of my cartridges taking both a profile picture and also one of the headstamp. I then combine the two images using a basic version of Photoshop. I then add descriptive text as necessary also using Photoshop. An example of a completed image is shown below.
Each calibre is allocated a folder and all the folders are then arranged numerically into one large folder.
The real advantage is that I can then upload my entire collection into a photo sharing facility called DropBox - and when I am away from home I can access DropBox via my iPhone. Great for cartridge shows as I can quickly bring up an image & descriptive details of any cartridge in my collection.
It also means that I can post any one of my images on forums such as this one literally within seconds.


#10

Either drop box or google drive is the place to put your collection (free down load) this is in the “cloud” and will not crash when or if your personal computer crashes. I too use excel for the data but would like to link to actual photos of each cartridge. AND PUT IN THE PRICE I did not and wish I did! vic


#11

I remember Compuserve going out of business. Nobody would have expected it. It was at very short notice and in effect my data was inaccessible several days earlier than announced. I could hardly save my data.
My recommendation therefore is strongly against storing data in any repository under control of someone else. The danger of loosing access to your precious data is simply too great.

Really important is to have the discipline to make regular (preferably daily) backups of your data on at least two different external storage devices. For my private data, I do not use fancy backup programs. I use simple routines that save in standard data formats like ROBOCOPY for Windows does. These can be read with the standard Windows explorer.

I suggest you place you own valuable data into one directory (and its subdirectories) -not in the standard user directories- to keep your backup fast and unclogged by junk data.


#12

[quote=“JPeelen”]I remember Compuserve going out of business. Nobody would have expected it. It was at very short notice and in effect my data was inaccessible several days earlier than announced. I could hardly save my data.
My recommendation therefore is strongly against storing data in any repository under control of someone else. The danger of loosing access to your precious data is simply too great.

Really important is to have the discipline to make regular (preferably daily) backups of your data on at least two different external storage devices. For my private data, I do not use fancy backup programs. I use simple routines that save in standard data formats like ROBOCOPY for Windows does. These can be read with the standard Windows explorer.

I suggest you place you own valuable data into one directory (and its subdirectories) -not in the standard user directories- to keep your backup fast and unclogged by junk data.[/quote]

Wise words and amen to that!