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How to Document a Miniature Collection

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As you progress through the stages of creating a collection of miniatures, a display or a doll's house document the steps you take. Your record will become part of the collection's history and provenance and a valuable record for insurance and future collection/sales purposes.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: variable

Here's How:

  1. Set up a database or spreadsheet - Start off right, establish a spreadsheet with columns for Name, Description, Price bought, Where Purchased, Maker/Supplier, Photograph list, Where Used, Other Documentation/Packaging stored separately, Price Sold, Problems, Comments.

  2. Take photographs - Photographs should be dated and include:

    • items in your collection
    • workshops or club events where you built items in your collection
    • artisans with the objects they created which are now in your collection
    • artisans or famous individuals signing pieces in your collection.

    Number and categorize your photographs if necessary and add a record of them to your spreadsheet.

  3. Record Makers or modifiers - Keep a record of who made or modified (painted, worked on) each piece in your collection. Keep a contact phone number or email so that you can contact them again if you want a similar item someday.

  4. Record Suppliers - Keep records of suppliers used for paint, wallpapers, car bodies, whatever type of miniature supply you use. This record is very valuable if you want to create matching pieces in the future. It also serves as a record for changes if the supplies go off the market or are unsuitable for future use. (paint types that fade or chip for example)

  5. Record Prices - This is a very important record for insurance purposes. Record the price, the date of purchase and the place of purchase or maker.

  6. Record Use/Placement - This record will help you keep track of your collection regardless of whether the piece is stored as a collectible, or used daily on a model train track. Use records (how often you run a particular train/slot car/ airplane) are valuable for service records, how well is the piece standing up to it's use.

  7. Record Original Document/Packaging - Record the location of any important certificates, or original packaging which are part of the collection record for your object. If you sell or trade your piece, you will be able to supply the important extras along with it.

  8. Record problems - If there is a difficulty with the finish, the glue, the condition after storage, record it. This will help you assess whether to continue to collect this type of item.

  9. Record your Comments - These could be comments about why you bought or how you acquired the piece (inherited, gift). They might also be useful as a future reference, example: "Never want to fiddle with that particular scale again, too much trouble cleaning points." These comments can guide you in future developement of your collection.

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