Stamp Collection Software Capabilities

These are some of the notes I compiled to describe what I looked for in stamp collecting software. After failing I wrote this offering myself.

Catalogues And Catalogue Numbers

The database should be capable of being searched using any catalogue/number combination and when stamp data is displayed should allow me to switch between catalogues easily to compare prices etc.

I accepted the need to enter the catalogue data myself due to copyright restrictions but wanted to be able to share my catalogue data with friends etc so only one person in a group needed to enter the data. This should also allow dealers to enter details and prices of their stamps for sale into the database. So the price list data could then be exported and distributed to interested parties to check against their wants.

Due to the differences in the catalogues the software needs to have it's own catalogue numbering system which is usable by all collectors and is in the public domain.

A catalogue is just a price list of the stamps described inside the catalogue, which does not neccessarily reflect the true value of a stamp so the software should allow weightings to be applied to each value. An example of this is the difference between unmounted mint and mounted mint. The price in the catalogue is for a perfect specimen so when mounted the value is less, so when valueing a collection you could take 100% of the price as the value for an unmounted mint specimen but only 75% of the price when valueing a mounted mint specimen.

At least four categories of stamp condition need to be catered for. Unmounted mint, mounted mint, fine used and good used.

Stamp Data


The database should hold data on all the stamps issued throughout the world. Easy to state, but as each catalogue publisher has different lists of stamp especially errors etc the collection of this data becomes quite an exercise. So the best would be a series of specialist databases maintained by specialist societies all of which are combined to produce a simplified database.

Where a collector has interest in more than one specialist area or even an interest in a simplified listing and one specialised area the software should allow the user to switch easily between databases.


The data would then not be reliant upon a single stamp catalogue publisher.

Themes

The database should allow each stamp to have as many themes assigned as needed and to allow the database to be searched on these themes.
Some problems can be seen here as there appears to be no accepted standard list of themes for stamps. The software must then allow the addition of themes to the database and then subsequent assignment to the stamp data for searches etc.

Images

The software should display an image of the stamp when selected. In the case of a specialised database an image of the error etc should be displayed.
The user must also be allowed to change the image to use a scan of their own stamps or an image from the internet to be used.

My Collection/Inventory

Once stamp data has been selected and displayed the software should allow me to enter the number of stamps in my collection with just a few clicks in any of the four categories.
The stamps wanted for the collection must be entered in the same way. Once entered the software should allow the user to search the database for stamps in their collection or for stamps wanted for their collection.

There could be problems here where a collector has multiple interests and has more than one databases in use. These could be overcome with difficulty once a standard freely usable catalogue numbering system is in use.

Valuations and Reports

The software should provide a short valuation report based on the selected catalogue displayed in the users preferred currency converting from the catalogue currency where required. This should be based not only on stamps indicated as being in the users collection but also based on what the user wants to collect.

There should also be detailed valauation reports giving basic details of the stamps with values or without.

This then allows the user to produce valuations of their collection as well as wants lists. Further if possible the software should be capable of printing a page of stamp images from the stamp data selected. This will allow an illustrated wants list to be produced easier to take to the local stamp dealer.


Stamp Albums

The software should allow the user to produce album pages quickly and easily to house their collection based on stamps selected from the database. Once complete the album data should be capable of being exported to some form of page designer to allow more detail to be added to the album. A really nice touch would be for the album to be exported to Microsoft Word or other editing program.

Installation

The software should run without installing and should be complete in itself. This stops the programme from proliferating rubbish on the users computer and also means that the programme can run off of a USB memory stick allowing the user to carry this with them and run the programme on other computers without leaving information behind. It also makes for easy backup, simply copying the whole USB stick contents to another drive.

Posted in March 2015 by William Atkin