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Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics
  
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Banko45




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PostPosted: Jul 24, 2014 01:08    Post subject: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

Hello FMF,
I am new to this Forum, because I have always been in the loose gemstone trade: mining, cutting, and marketing.
Now, I am just starting to learn about mineral collecting and mineral collectors.
For my employer, I am starting to write a White Paper about the crucial importance of cataloging/documenting your mineral collection.
Could you - as experienced mineral collectors - please give me your thoughts about WHY cataloging your mineral collection is so important?
And how detailed does it need to be?
If more detail is better, why?
Also, Google is not providing me the answers I am looking for about the demographics of mineral collectors. Do any of you out there at FMF know any specifics about the demographics: America, Europe and China?
If you do not know, can you direct me to an Online link where I can find out, please?
Thank You,
Tom Banker
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keldjarn




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PostPosted: Jul 24, 2014 03:37    Post subject: Re: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

Hello Tom,
There are many types of mineral collectors, but for the majority, specimens in the collection can only be fully appreciated if you have detailed information about the locality. Minerals and crystals are collectible both because of their aesthetic appeal and because of their rarity. In both cases, being a product of nature (and not as a gemstone formed by man) the connection to the geological environment is essential. Therefore crystals on matrix will also be more valuable than single, detached crystals. In many cases the locality may be guessed from unique features of the crystals/specimens at each locality, but a correct label will always increase the value of a specimen.
The correct identity of the minerals on the specimens is a prime obligation for anyone trading in such goods and especially for unusual minerals that cannot be easily identified by sight alone the means of identifications should be provided on the label.
Many collectors will also value information about when and by whom a specimen was recovered and information about previous owners. But in most cases the provenance is of less importance than the quality of the specimen and correct locality information. The only universal exceptions are specimens with a documented history that makes them true antiques.
Demographics and market information about mineral collectors are not readily available. If you look at the subscription figures of major national and international mineral magazines, they will give you an indication about the number of dedicated collectors in different parts of the world. But just like collectors of art and antiques there are very many sub-groups of mineral collectors ranging from those (probably many hundred thousands) who collect a few aesthetic mineral specimens in a glass case for decorating purposes or as exceptional natural objects of art to the very few systematic collectors also of the rarest and visually challenging minerals.
The wide variety of specimens offered at mineral shows illustrates the complexity of this market.
Knut
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Banko45




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PostPosted: Jul 24, 2014 04:32    Post subject: Re: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

Hello Knut,
Thanks very much for your rapid reply.
Regarding demographics, I'll Google the various mineral magazines to see whether or not they divulge their subscriber numbers/location data. Thank you.
Regarding cataloging: so, you are saying the primary reason for a mineral collector to keep a catalog is to verify and/or increase its value?
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keldjarn




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PostPosted: Jul 24, 2014 05:06    Post subject: Re: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

Banko45 wrote:
Regarding cataloging: so, you are saying the primary reason for a mineral collector to keep a catalog is to verify and/or increase its value?


The primary reason for a mineral collector to keep detailed information about the specimens (identity, locality, provenance etc) in a catalog and on labels is that the basic difference between a (random) assemblage of objects and a collection is that the latter has been established with some kind of systematic purpose where keeping information about the objects are of vital importance. Most mineral collections are made for other purposes than the pure monetary value of the specimens - and labels and catalogs serve these purposes.
But for mineral dealers there is every reason to offer detailed information with the specimens also in the form of old labels because it will increase the value of the specimens in the mineral collector`s market.
Knut
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Banko45




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PostPosted: Jul 24, 2014 05:32    Post subject: Re: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

Thank You Again Knut,
Looks like I mis-spoke there. This issue is the 'importance' of cataloging, not just 'reason'. Researching Online, other points of importance I found are to keep the identity and value for the heirs, after the owner passes on. And, when you have to move your collection when you move your house, you'd be lost without your catalog. Or, if there were a flood in your house or business, and you have to hurriedly move your collection to safety, you'd be lost without your catalog.
I am hoping to find as many things as possible that point to the importance of properly maintaining your mineral-collection catalog.
But I understand that point #1 is keeping all (as much as possible) information about each piece correctly, in order to verify precisely what it is.
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keldjarn




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PostPosted: Jul 24, 2014 08:13    Post subject: Re: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

Banko45 wrote:

But I understand that point #1 is keeping all (as much as possible) information about each piece correctly, in order to verify precisely what it is.


You are right that keeping a catalog of the collection is also important for the heirs (or for forgetful collectors..).
An important comment to your conclusion as quoted:
The correct ID of the mineral(s) on the specimen can always be verified at a later date, but information about the correct locality and when/how it was found will be lost if it is not kept in the catalog or on the label. Many collectors advise that the specimen itself should not only have a number but in addition locality information attached to the specimen itself.
Knut
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Susan Robinson




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PostPosted: Jul 24, 2014 09:16    Post subject: Re: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

Another thing to mention re this topic. If a collection has a catalog, and at some future time, if that collection is divided between children, relatives, etc., in a will or however method, the people who do not have the catalog are at a distinct disadvantage in both heritage and monetary values.
The catalog number MUST go on the specimen and its accompanying label, and into a cataloged entry in a book or on the computer. If there is extra information, such as dealers labels, they can can kept in the tray with the specimen.
I have seen more collections that are a "train wreck" from not being cataloged or even labeled (self-collected minerals are especially in this last category).
The fun is in collecting, and the work is cataloging, but is well worth every hour spent doing both.

_________________
Susan Robinson
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Jul 24, 2014 11:55    Post subject: Re: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

I'll take a bit of a contrary view here: Labels are very important... Catalogues not so much.

I cannot count the number of pieces I've acquired from old collections that were broken up, but it's in the thousands. How many times have I had access to the collector's catalogue? Never.

Many collectors dream that their "important" collection will be taken over and curated by a museum after their death. And a catalogue would be useful in cases where a collection goes in its entirety to a museum. But fewer and fewer museums are willing to accept whole collections.... like everyone else they just want to cherry pick the best pieces. So we have to face reality and realize that the vast majority of collections will get broken up between multiple collectors. Which one gets the catalogue? (This is assuming that the heirs even save the catalogue at all!)

An individual label however, is different. It (hopefully) stays with the specimen.

Of course, everything I wrote above only applies to the classic paper catalogue, a ledger. There is a more modern way of doing things: an online catalogue hosted by a public website. Mindat offers this service - any registered member can save their catalogue in cyberspace and leave it private (if they wish) or public, free of charge. That way, after their demise, the information will be available to everyone and never lost.
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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: Jul 24, 2014 17:08    Post subject: Re: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

TIs better to have catalogued and lost (it) than to have never catalogued at all.

My apologies for this paraphrase but the point is every collection needs to be catalogued and with as much information, both locality and history, as is known. A paper catalog can be copied. I have encountered collections where every specimen was numbered and the catalog was intact to those that had obviously been catalogued and labelled, but the spouse/daughter had kept or thrown away the catalog, to those without labels and without a catalog.

The most secure way is to place the locality information right on the back of the specimen. Out of over 3000 specimens in our collection, I have done that with one specimen. Over half are numbered, about half have labels and all of the specimen and collection information is in an Excel spreadsheet.

After all, just like with a catalog, labels can misplaced or put in one box with all of the specimens wrapped separately in other boxes. I know of one museum whose curator did not keep the historical labels with the specimens and there is a plastic bag full of other labels sitting in a storeroom somewhere. Nothing is absolutely foolproof but if the collector wants to leave the collection and his or her heirs with the most valuable asset possible, locality information has to be with the specimen.

Is any of this fun or pleasurable? Maybe yes and maybe no but it should be satisfying knowing that as the temporary custodian of the specimens in your collection you have fulfilled your obligation to leave the next generation of collectors/custodians with as much information as possible.
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Banko45




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PostPosted: Jul 24, 2014 20:12    Post subject: Re: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

Knut, Susan, Alfredo, Les:
Thank you very much for your thoughts: Extremely helpful to make my White Paper as good as it needs to be. Any other input on this subject from you, or others will be greatly appreciated.

And, please don't forget my question on Mineral-Collector Demographics. Knut suggested to get the number/locations of subscribers to mineralogical magazines.
However, for starters, I've scoured Mineralogical Record and cannot find such numbers.
For Mindat, I got the subscriber info - indirectly from Mr. Jolyon Ralph - but he said that information is confidential.

If FMF is interested, once my White Paper is finished, I can send it to FMF. Because, my customer's cataloging system promises to be simple, fast and even fun.
His cataloging website will also include labels, images, Social Media exposure and selling/marketing individual minerals with a payment gateway that provides price negotiation.
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crosstimber
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PostPosted: Jul 25, 2014 09:43    Post subject: Re: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

Banko45 wrote:
If FMF is interested, once my White Paper is finished, I can send it to FMF. Because, my customer's cataloging system promises to be simple, fast and even fun. His cataloging website will also include labels, images, Social Media exposure and selling/marketing individual minerals with a payment gateway that provides price negotiation.

Hi Banko45,
Regarding your offer to share the cataloging website - please remember that this is a non-commercial forum. No marketing and sales are permitted.
Thanks,
Michael
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John Jaszczak




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PostPosted: Jul 25, 2014 20:11    Post subject: Re: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

The US Post Office requires annual pulblishing of a form "Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation". For the Mineralogical Record, the latest is on pg 703 of Dec. 2013 issue. Total paid and free distribution was about 4330 issues. For Rocks and Minerals see Dec 2013 issue page 583. 4859 issues.
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Banko45




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PostPosted: Jul 25, 2014 20:56    Post subject: Re: Importance of Cataloguing & Mineral-Collector Demographics  

Hi Banko45,
Quote:
Regarding your offer to share the cataloging website - please remember that this is a non-commercial forum. No marketing and sales are permitted.
Thanks,
Michael


OK Michael,
Thanks for the heads-up.
Did not think of it as marketing: rather helpful information.
But, you are right.
I definitely will not contradict FMF's regulations.
But I am very grateful for all the valuable contributions FMF is providing me.
Respectfully, Tom Banker
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