keeping track of your collection?

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psrex
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Post by psrex » Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:00 pm

I should have commented on how I organize my cards above, but I didn't have time. I have a number of different categories and they each have their own storage method.

My personal collection for building decks is sorted by color, with each color split between creatures and non-creatures. Within each of those categories I sort the cards by casting cost, and then alphabetically (e.g. black would be B, XB, 1B, BB, 2B, etc.). Having things sorted by casting cost helps you learn CCs, and it is generally handy for deck building. The only drawback to sorting by CC is that I don't yet have a good computer program to sort in the exact way that I have my personal collection organized. This is a project for a raining day I guess.

I've commented on it before, but I'm working on building a draft box, which will eventually have one of every card by name. Since I'm in frantic trading mode right now to fill in holes, it is currently separated by set and then ordered however that set appears on WotC's checklists. This lets me write a simple computer program to tell me which cards I still need to get and then list that card under every set that it appears.

My trade stock is seperated by color (with a creature/non-creature split) and then alphabetical. I have the rares in the middle two rows of a 4-row box, the good commons and uncommons in the front part of the left row, with tons of envelopes and postage behind them to fill out the row. The right row contains all of my foils, AQ, AN, LE cards and misprints, rarities, etc. The front left row of the box also serves as a spot to store any cards that are pending in trade or are currently listed on Ebay. I use toploaders to separate my different categories in this box. Toploaders and sleeves fill out any holes in this box. This box is supremely handy as it has absolutely everything that I need for trading. If I ever did any trading in person I might move back to using binders for some things.

As far as complete junk, I have long boxes filled with commons and uncommons that I've been meaning to sell for a long time. From my collecting I've also accumulated a lot of extra World Championship decks, which are in long boxes. My Magic closet is current stuffed full and I need to clear it out. I haven't found a good way to deal with this category other than to just create stacks and stacks of long boxes and label the ends of the boxes.

I also have long boxes to contain cards that are waiting to be sorted into my personal collection, and piles for cards that need to sorted into my trade box or draft box.

As a side note, I don't know how anyone can keep their Magic cards organized or conduct trades if they can't write their own computer programs to assist them. Perl and regular unix/linux utilities are a godsend to a Magic addict. I have a set of programs to keep my draft box straight, which will report any duplicate cards, list the cards I need by set and give me an easy list of what I have. I have another program to tally prices based on the MOTL guide and it will allow you to specify handy things such as only including cards worth more than $1, $5 or whatever. This pricing program is supremely useful in spotting undervalued Ebay lots. One last program that I keep running all the time is a simple command line shell that will let you easily query the MOTL price list. Here's an example:

>> masticore
6.28
>> badlands
15.54
>> /capture of
18.51 capture of jingzhou
>> /yuan shao
1.01 yuan shao's infantry
4.25 yuan shao, the indecisive
>>

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mintcollector
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Post by mintcollector » Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:50 pm

I agree to a point with psrex on how to use Perl/shell scripting to help people manage M:TG. I do not see it is a use to record every card I have into some sort of database or spreadsheet as this, in my opinion, would be insanity defined. Due to the simple fact that no matter how well the program is, data entry is required at some point, no matter how easy it is and this does not seem like a good investment of anyone's time. The MOTL guide is good to a point, but long ago I felt it did not really reflect each separate market of brick and mortar, online dealers, eBay and in person trades/sales which are vastly different markets. I had used code in the past to parse websites and alert me of anything in my needs list. This proved to be challenging as no one follows any standard for maintaining their websites and I only had this working for sites that seemed to consistantly gettig in or carrying what I needed. Having achieved my major collection goal, I am only in sort of a maintanence mode of getting the new sets and keeping up with promos, so my programming needs for M:TG have severely declined. There are enough tools and sites out there that service my needs by far so I would rather spend my time on other things.

Since psrex also shared how he keeps his colelciton maintained, I thought to share mine. My actual collection of mint sets has each card hand inspected by me front and back. If a card qualified it is then sleeved in a cleared Ultra Pro sleeve (not a penny sleeve) and then put into a 9-pocket page. My more recent sets are ordered by collecter's number, but older sets are Alphabetic as this was the way sets were listed in price guides and checklists, so I maintained this order for nostalgic sake, but more importantly there is no need for me to pull cards out and take any risk of damage to them. Each set in placed into 3" D-ring binders and they are on a private bookshelf dedicated to just them. My promo binder is ordered by grouping (FNM, Arena, etc) and is cronologically ordered so that any new cards are just tacked onto the end of each section. I also have a spare binder that has the starts of play stock I don't wish to trade, as well as my playets of 20 1996 Arena lands of each land type, as well as spoof cards I have gotten. My main backstock is all ordered by color then alphabetically in 5000 card count boxes stacked. To not have to perpetually go in them I just put card overflow from drafts/sealed events/boxes I opened for sets, into old booster boxes until I get up the urge to file backstock about once a year. I also try to pre-emptively sort this unorganized backstock to help make the once a year main filing less of a bear. I keep unopened boxes/packs of cards stored either on the top of the book shelves or whever I can find room elsewhere.

I am sure you will hear many different ways to store stuff, but the main point is to find something that works for you peronsally based on what room you have, how much money you have to spend on storing your sets, and how much time you wish to invest in maintaining whatever method you end up choosing.

victorcamp
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Organizing Magic

Post by victorcamp » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:27 pm

I use a program I wrote in Microsoft Access called CardKeep(c). A couple of friends are also using it.

The program has every English card, plus Renaissance, along with scans of each one. I also use it to build decks using an extensive keyword feature. When I get new cards, I sort them, then enter them into the database by set. It's actually quite quick. Each deck is also recorded, and subtracted from "stock". Currently it's keeping track of around 55,000 cards.

In addition to the real decks, it also has a Trial Deck section allowing me to keep various lists (cards I'm looking for, potential decks, etc.) without subtracting them from stock. The "Gather" feature allows me to browse the various sets or search using keywords combinations; e.g., show me all blue counterspells from the Mirage or Mirrodin blocks. All by picture. It shows statistics of the deck, like how many creatures, non-creatures, mana-to-nonmana ratio, etc., including a recommended mana configuration. When I'm ready to assemble it, I sort by edition then go to the shelves one edition at a time using the list on the screen.

I can print out various lists, with or without pictures; invaluable when I'm trolling the stores for specific cards.

Since I'm currently vary "underemployed", it's running on a 700 Mhz computer under Win 98. Since it was built up rather piecemeal over the last 8 or so years, it's also running somewhat slower than I'd like.

I love it! 8)

The neatest thing is that every time I think of some feature I wish it had, I simply add it!

Image

Jakkon

Post by Jakkon » Fri Dec 09, 2005 8:11 pm

Mine is in color order and then ABC order...kinda bad when you need 2 big shoe boxes to keep track of everything... :|

phyconaut
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Post by phyconaut » Tue Dec 13, 2005 3:17 am

yo victor could you happen to send a copy of that program my way looks llike i can really use it as im getting a 15,000 card lot soon. thanks.
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Mr.C
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Post by Mr.C » Tue Dec 13, 2005 4:48 pm

Good-Looking Piece of software. Maybe you could give me a version?

And, oh, i used Magic Suitcase for cards, and a little Access program for keeping track of deals.

Gryfalia
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Post by Gryfalia » Tue Dec 13, 2005 4:49 pm

My commons and uncommons are in '5,000 card boxes' (anyone know how many magic cards actually fit in one of those?), by set, then color (W,U,B,R,G,M,A,L) then alphabetically in each color.

Or at least they WILL be once I am done sorting them..grumble. In black MM right now..hehe.

My rares are in smaller boxes, the better rares (and good uncommons) are all in sleeves, and some in top loaders (Foreign BB duals, Hippies, etc). They are all tracked in Excel. Someday I will actually do a count of the commons and uncommons, but only when I am feeling especially masochistic...

Gryfalia

victorcamp
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CardKeep(c)

Post by victorcamp » Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:21 pm

Re: CardKeep(c)

Hmm...

Though I am definately interested in distributing the program, I'm not sure it's in good enough shape to do that right now. I personally installed it on my friends' computers with some difficulty. It requires the Access 97 runtime module (which I have and can distribute), but it's not been tested on more than 3 or so computers. Operating systems can be very picky about what they will and won't run. Install help would have to be by me personally, talking on the phone. It could go smoothly or be a nightmare. The images alone take 3 CDs, and their distribution is, obviously, somewhat problematic.

So what does all this mean? I would need to be persuaded to try it out. If interested, PM me and we'll discuss it.

gerrikabeitia
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Post by gerrikabeitia » Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:34 pm

Well,
I organize my cards in two different ways:
For my cards legal in Extended (I usually play only Extended), I organize them by color.
For my older cards I organize them by expansion/edition.

To keep track of my cards I'm actually trying to build a database in Access with the most information I can get. I'm trying to get all the names of the cards in every language (at least the occidental ones). It will take me ages but that's the kind of challenge I like!

Mr.C
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Post by Mr.C » Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:02 pm

gerrikabeitia wrote:Well,
I organize my cards in two different ways:
For my cards legal in Extended (I usually play only Extended), I organize them by color.
For my older cards I organize them by expansion/edition.

To keep track of my cards I'm actually trying to build a database in Access with the most information I can get. I'm trying to get all the names of the cards in every language (at least the occidental ones). It will take me ages but that's the kind of challenge I like!
http://magiccards.info.

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agzz
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Post by agzz » Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:12 pm

gerrikabeitia wrote:Well,
I organize my cards in two different ways:
For my cards legal in Extended (I usually play only Extended), I organize them by color.
For my older cards I organize them by expansion/edition.

To keep track of my cards I'm actually trying to build a database in Access with the most information I can get. I'm trying to get all the names of the cards in every language (at least the occidental ones). It will take me ages but that's the kind of challenge I like!
I have a xls with moast pre ravnica names. PM if you want it.
btw. where are you located? maby you could help with some error checking.

gerrikabeitia
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Post by gerrikabeitia » Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:25 pm

Thanx
agzz wrote:
I have a xls with moast pre ravnica names. PM if you want it.
btw. where are you located? maby you could help with some error checking.
I'm located in Portugal. PM me if you need some info

Xanatos
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Post by Xanatos » Sun Dec 25, 2005 6:40 am

I put my cards in a binder in no particular order, and hope I can remember everything I need...

dgstranz
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Post by dgstranz » Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:59 am

I have the commons and uncommons ordered by set, and then collector number (or color/name) in a big binder. The rares are ordered by approximate price, color and set in a smaller binder. The commons I have in boxes are also ordered by cycle/set.
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Post by Plastered_Dragon » Fri Feb 24, 2006 12:53 am

For keeping track:

I used to use Magic Suitcase, but with each new update I've liked that program less and less. The creators have tried (imho) to make it do too many things, and as a result it does none of them well anymore. The last straw was when suddenly what I used to accomplish with the keyboard only started requiring me to reach for the mouse at some point during entry of EVERY card into the system.

Magic Suitcase uses an Access DB on the back end, so I took the DB, improved it, and wrote my own crummy little tool to interface with it. Now I work with the crummy tool and life is good again. My database tracks all the cards I count, in all different languages, and in different formats, as well as signed cards.

Because the DB is in Access, I use access reports to generate lists of what I have versus what I need, and expedite certain types of data entry with queries as needed (which is great if you know SQL.)

For storage & management:

I have a card cabinet within which I keep a mix of 3200 and 1600 count boxes stacked. All the boxes are numbered (on both the box front, lid front, and lid top) and have written on them abbreviations for what sets are inside on the lid front, and spelled out on the lid top. Each set is sorted by color usually with toploaders dviding up the different colors. These toploaders usually contain a slip of paper or some sort of divider spelling out what is behind them like "ONSLAUGHT - RED". Within a color, I do no further sorting. Sifting through a pile that is all the same color and all the same set, doesn't take too long. I used to sort alphabetically, but that is too much work. This cabinet is reserved for english cards, and every single card is in a penny sleeve.

There are also a stack of 800-count boxes where I place basic land (beyond the 1-of-each needed for sets, which are in the main stacks). I don't sleeve basic land until it is going into a deck. When I break the decks down I leave the sleeves on the land and therefore some of the boxes contain sleeved land and some contain unsleeved land.

Then there are binders which hold Foils, Promos, Signed Cards, my 6x9 set, and my set of 8E foils and boxtoppers. Generally the foils I keep are strictly for looking at, so putting them in a binder makes sense.

Next to the cabinet is a stack of 1600-ct boxes which hold foreign cards. Like the english boxes, these are numbered and labeled but instead of having the names of sets on them, they present the names of the languages ("F1: French & German" for example).

For maintenance purposes once I get a playset of a particular common (in a particular set), all extras of that common are tossed into a crap-commons box to be given away to kids and friends. For very hot commons (like say, shock or what have you) I may keep 2 or 3 playsets. Ditching these excess commons (I call it "culling") is absolutely vital to making the collection easy to maintain. If I kept all my commons my collection would be 3 times its current size and alphabetizing would become necessary (to say nothing of a second cabinet!) Culling also increases the ratio of rare cards in a collection which increases the collection value IMHO.

Extra uncommons (beyond a playset), and the crappiest rares and foils go into a low value trade box that I lug around with me and let people pick through for trades. When the box becomes full, I eventually sell the contents for chump change (like 5 bucks) and slowly start filling it again. High value uncommons (Cabal Therapy etc) go into trade binders, along with extra rares and foils that I do not want to keep.

I *do not* keep track of what is in my trade binders or low value tradebox. Too much trouble to keep track of. Basically once I determine that something isn't going into my collection, it simply becomes fodder to acquire something that WILL go into my collection, and I cease tracking it at that point. Data entering, sleeving, and sorting cards is troublesome enough. This is one reason why I hate keeping a H/W list on MOTL... I don't want to go through my trade binders and maintain a list of their contents.

I also don't keep track of what is currently in decks... again, too much trouble. If it appears in my database it is either in one of the boxes or I am playing it in a deck.

Finally, when I break down decks, or otherwise have cards to put away, they go into a "put away box". When I have a free moment I'll attempt to clear cards out of the put-away-box and return them to their appropriate place within the collection. The put-away-box makes a nice waystation when I want to clear space in my bag by breaking down decks or when I data enter a few boosters but don't have time to sleeve/sort and put the cards away. The important thing is not to let the put away box get out of control, which, AFAIC means more than 400 cards in the box. I try to clear it whenever it gets up around 100 cards or so.

Anyway, that's how I do it.
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