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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : How can I organize more efficiently?

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rniekamp
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27 Jan 2014
02:04:15pm
Over the last few days, I've sat down with my 1975 Scott catalog (I don't collect anything after 1960) and began organizing some stamps I've accumulated. I did most of the French Morocco I have, and got halfway through my Costa Rica. I put them in Vario pages, with little tags for the year of issue. But man, does that chew up the hours! Can any of our experienced collectors recommend some techniques to sort stamps quickly, so I can get to the enjoyable part of putting them in my albums?
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philb
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27 Jan 2014
02:30:37pm

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re: How can I organize more efficiently?

Stamping does burn time..thats a fact !

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DavidG
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APS member since 2004
27 Jan 2014
07:26:21pm
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

Phil is right. It is a pastime.

David

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michael78651
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28 Jan 2014
01:17:17am
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

That's right, it's a hobby, not a racetrack.

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Jansimon
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28 Jan 2014
06:49:17am

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re: How can I organize more efficiently?

I have been busy sorting 70 grams of Swiss semi-postals. A lot of work and I try to do it as systematically as possible. First a rough sorting large - small. The small ones are the older ones. Then sorting on year. Fortunately these stamps all have the year of issue on them. But even then, it takes a lot of time but I don't mind. As others have said here already: this is a pastime.

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malcolm197
08 Nov 2014
10:37:36am
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

The secret is to organise yourself to not repeat any process. I collect all world - so you think you have problems !

I have a large collection of junk mail envelopes and a couple of shoeboxes. When I am "rough" sorting a small(ish) bunch of stamps is sorted by country - then immediately placed in the shoeboxes. If you get sidetracked or interrupted you then d0n't have to re-sort.Then a further sort is done into whatever categories - into smaller envelopes placed inside the country envelopes -you can see where I am going here. At this stage I do not necessarily seperate on and off paper.

Then I soak the on paper from one envelope and when they are dry add to the off paper from the same envelope and place them into a stock book before mounting in the album ( using slips of paper for any fine-tuning identification). The object is always to have all your stamps of any one group at the same stage, but not necessarily at the same stage as any other group. It is a sort of delayed action production line. Of course the complication occurs when you then obtain further stamps,but unless you have reached the final "station" you can just add them to your envelopes.

An added attraction to this method is that if you become tired of one process you can put that lot away and do another process with a different batch of stamps.

I started with shoeboxes - but I now have a 3-drawer plastic filing cabinet - my self-discipline has gone a bit!

For this to work you have to have your album system sorted and flexible enough first- but that is another story !!

malcolm

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philb
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08 Nov 2014
10:48:55am

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re: How can I organize more efficiently?

I would have to buy cover albums that are more or less the same size..i have 8 or 9 albums of Guatemala covers but the different sizes makes it impossible to put them all in the same bookcases..its always a hunt for which book a certain cover is in !

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bamra1
08 Nov 2014
01:08:37pm
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

"Can any of our experienced collectors recommend some techniques to sort stamps quickly, so I can get to the enjoyable part of putting them in my albums?"

Oh dear, you are just sooooo wrong. The enjoyable part of the process is the sorting, because that is where you LEARN things. The longer and more carefully you sort, the more you learn. Putting things in the album is a sad time because it is then that the learning has stopped and the specimens been pickled in aspic.

You can train a monkey to stick them in your album; but it will never sort them creatively and ask itself (or its friends on SoR) what they think is the meaning of A or the implication of B or the cause of C.

I still have the residue of some stamps I started sorting five years ago. I'm still not happy with them. So why should I rush?

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michael78651
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08 Nov 2014
02:56:19pm
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

There are many ways to sort stamps.

For countries with monarchies, especially British, it is very easy to sort by king/queen.

You can sort by country/topic. When sorted, you can sort by postage/air mail/other back-of-the-book, etc.. You can then sort by general period of issue, such as 19th century, WWI, WWII, various decades, etc.

How to ultimately sort will depend on what you collect. Try things out and see what works best for you. Also, if you are organized in your life outside of stamps, and utilize time wisely, working on stamps will be a snap.

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08 Nov 2014
04:28:26pm
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

I am a topical collector of British Royalty - so for organising that part of my collection, it's relatively easy.

My other passions are Germany (everything), Russia (Empire, USSR, Occupations) and Canada. The latter being a LONG work in progress.

When it comes to sorting, I think my best example would be my German collection. First, sort it in States, then Eras (Pre-3rd Reich,3rd Reich, AMG, East, West, Reunified), Occupations, Colonies. Then I go into each of these divisions and sort the next level - individual States, separation of the Pre-3rd Reich, separate Occupations and Colonies. Next step is to divide into years for each section. Finally, I mount according to date of issue. I use Scott (minimally when I'm doing to first lot of general sorting), Stanley Gibbons and Michel - I use the same 3 catalogues for my Empire and USSR. I do not like using Scott because I don't like the separation of "back of the book" - I like things organised chronologically. The only thing is, I make my own album pages. So when the time comes for me to finally (and this is definitely the last step) mount my stamps that have journeyed from massive envelopes to smaller envelopes, possibly then to glassines, then to stockbooks or Varios in binders and finally to mounting on pages, if there is a very limited run definitive that has perhaps two or three issues on varying dates, I'll include them together but will note the date of issue on the one or two issues that are different.

I love my British Royalty collection for the pictorial/historical beauty.

I love my USSR collection for its political/historical perspective. Things that people wouldn't notice about how Communist countries during the Cold War created various alliances that are much the same that of the Western World and then I get into researching the political/historical events that are not commonly known.

This ties in with my East German collection.

I love my German collection the most - the historical, the political, the designs, so, so much. I just love it. I have so much to learn and I will probably spent the rest of my life focused mostly on my German collection.

Hence, the reason for my Canada collection being on hold for years. Within my Canada collection, there are my Provinces, and then the eras according to Monarch in the Dominion of Canada. Once I hit the QEII era, it's basically just collecting a copy of each stamp, mint/used, any minor varieties, no specialisation. I also have a love for "back of the book" and revenues. I use Scott for the general separation and then I use Unitrade for the actual research.

My one other vice is Belgian Railways - I love the designs of the stamps and researching the Railway Parcel Post system of Belgium. Of all the countries with Railway Post systems, I've found Belgium to be the most effective (although I'm open to learning about other countries from anyone who can enlighten me).

Then simply I have my Queen Victoria collection that is and probably always will remain simply divided into countries due to the vast amount of varieties, watermarks, plates, etc.

Anywho, that's how I do my collection.

Kelly

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elk117
09 Nov 2014
06:31:03am
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

Which ever way you decide to do it just enjoy it, if you find the idea of stamp sorting to be annoying and you only get enjoyment from putting stamps in an album, then it's time you changed from stamp collecting to something else, because sorting is the best part whereby you learn the most information, if you just put a stamp in an album, how do you know it's in the correct category of that country, as an example used stamps of early Iceland can be expensive but not many people realise that those stamps cancelled with a letter "T" at the start does not necessary mean it's from a town but that it has been Fiscally Used the letter "T" refers to 'Tollur' i.e. as used on a legal document which makes the stamp a fraction of a normally used specimen. Therefore whatever country you are sorting get the catalogue and read it to see if there are differences in a stamp you need to check on before putting in an album.


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BobbyBarnhart
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09 Nov 2014
09:18:52am
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

Quote:

"The enjoyable part of the process is the sorting, because that is where you LEARN things. The longer and more carefully you sort, the more you learn. Putting things in the album is a sad time because it is then that the learning has stopped and the specimens been pickled in aspic."


Quote:

"Which ever way you decide to do it just enjoy it, if you find the idea of stamp sorting to be annoying and you only get enjoyment from putting stamps in an album, then it's time you changed from stamp collecting to something else, because sorting is the best part whereby you learn the most information,"


Philately is a hobby which offers myriad pathways toward enjoyment, and the pleasure is in the journey, not the method of transportation along those pathways. First and foremost is the attainment of knowledge, which can be derived so many different ways: not solely through "sorting" or "sticking stamps in albums," but through a combination of those and many other aspects of this wonderful hobby. To simplify philately as one or the other is to do a disservice to the majority of collectors whose collecting styles is a mad mix of many different styles and methods. If you do not enjoy the journey, try something else, most of us have. And those of us who have detoured from the path of stamp collecting, and who are here now, reading this message, have found this to be the route to enjoyment, however we may pursue it.
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philb
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09 Nov 2014
09:53:07am

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re: How can I organize more efficiently?

I can not do without it...when i happen to catch American Pickers on t.v. i say to myself "See i am not that bad after all!"

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postmarks
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I still have more questions than answers
09 Nov 2014
11:22:21am
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

I've met a lot of stamp collectors in the last 50 years that I have collected. I would classify two as organized. The first one only collected Latvia. The second one collected US Revenues and Prexies on cover. The rest of us are borderline hoarders.

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malcolm197
09 Nov 2014
11:48:51am
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

What do you mean borderline?.......

Malcolom

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philb
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09 Nov 2014
12:33:09pm

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re: How can I organize more efficiently?

I been borderline all my life ! High School,the military, IBM ..at least now i feel i fit in !!!!Winking

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DRYER
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The past is a foreign country, they do things different there.
09 Nov 2014
12:51:27pm
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

There is simply no room in my hobbies
for "organization" and "efficiency".

John Derry

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TinMan
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13 Nov 2014
06:33:57am
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

I don't classify myself as a hoarder. I think I am very well organized. However to someone outside the Hobby they probably see my Hobby as a mess because of the clutter caused by several things Hobby related going on at the same time. Things Hobby related that they are ignorant about. Especially when it come to soaking, sorting and putting stamps where they belong. Either into my Albums or Duplicate albums or putting the Info. into Spreadsheets. Sometimes I even get lost in the process.

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DaSaintFan
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13 Nov 2014
02:24:51pm
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

Heck, it took me over 2 months to get my Romanian stuff sorted through.. and most of that was already in order.

Just remember stamp collecting takes patience and a willingness to work through everything...

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rniekamp
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14 Nov 2014
11:24:48pm
re: How can I organize more efficiently?

Now that the cooler weather is here, I will be spending more time on my stamps. Thanks, everyone, for your insights and ideas.

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