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How to Catalogue and Keep Track of a Collection

Feb 20, 2024

Whatever you collect – whether it’s watches, books, sneakers, stamps, art, antiques, or something else entirely – there are many benefits to cataloguing your collection. In this post we’ll share some ideas for how you can design your own cataloguing system to effectively keep track of your collection.

Catalogues can be particularly useful if you ever need to make a claim on your insurance policy for any loss, damage, or theft of your collection. At Anthony Jones, we specialise in helping people protect the items which are valuable to them, whether that’s through a standard home insurance policy or a specialist high net worth insurance policy. For more information, call us on 0208 290 9086, or email personal@anthonyjones.com.

Why Catalogue Your Collection

  • Keep Track of What You’ve Got – As your collection grows, you can easily lose sight of just what you’ve got. With a collection you can keep on top of things, which will have the benefit of highlighting any gaps in your collection.
  • Find Things as Quickly and Easily as Possible – What’s in storage, and what’s on display? How long have certain items been in storage? And is any item in your collection due for a bit of tender loving care? A catalogue will help you to stay organised in more ways than one.
  • Make Insurance a Breeze – A catalogue will also help you safeguard your collection. Following fire, flood, or theft, it can be easy to lose sight of just what you’ve lost. But with a catalogue, you can narrow things down quickly, and even put an exact price on your loss. So if you want to make a claim on your insurance, the whole process will be a lot more straightforward.

How to Catalogue Your Collection

Take Lots of Photographs

Taking photos of every item in your collection is a great place to start. This process will allow you to take a literal snapshot of each item’s current condition, while also ensuring that you don’t overlook any items.

Plus, if you want to take out specialist insurance for your collection, insurers will want to see photographs of anything you want to cover.

Itemise Your Photographs

  • Title – For reference. With an artwork collection, for example, you could itemise your collection by artist names and artwork titles.
  • Value – Get an up-to-date valuation for every item in your collection. Be sure to highlight any particularly valuable items, as this is another bit of information that your insurers will want to see. Read our full guide to valuing collections.
  • Date – Record the date on which you acquired each item, along with the date on which you itemised it – that is, the date on which you took the photo for your catalogue.
  • Location – Record where you keep each item. i.e. in storage, on display, etc.
  • Other notes – Add your own notes about each item’s condition. If you’re itemising an art collection, you could also add notes about each item’s provenance, along with some brief details about how you acquired each piece, which can help establish each item’s value.

Collection Storage, Assessment, Maintenance

To ensure your collection retains its value, you might want to establish a care and maintenance routine.

So for every piece you own, note it’s current condition, and outline a schedule for when it’s next due for an assessment, a valuation, or a treatment process.

Add any supporting documents to your catalogue, such as invoices, treatment plans, assessor reports, and so on. Also add any important contact details for sellers, assessors, treatment specialists, etc.

Digital Cataloguing Apps

Depending on what you collect, there might be a specialist app out there to help make the cataloguing process as streamlined as possible.

For example:

How to Safeguard Your Collection With Specialist Insurance

If you’ve got a collection of valuables, it’s unlikely that standard home insurance will give you the cover you need. Most home insurance policies specify value limits for insured items, and this limit is likely to be lower than the value of certain items in your collection. So if you ever need to make a claim on your policy, you might find that you’re underinsured.

To get the cover you need for your collection, you’ll need a specialist high net worth insurance policy. At Anthony Jones, we specialise in helping people protect their treasured collections. So whatever you collect, we can help you get the right cover at the right price. For more information, call us on 0208 290 9086, or email personal@anthonyjones.com.

Get a Quote

You can call us during normal office hours, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Outside of office hours you can either email us or leave an answerphone message and we promise to get back to you the next working day.

General enquiries:
020 8290 4560

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