Collecting: How to best keep track of your art collection?
Whether you are starting a Fine Art collection or are deeper into the journey, there will undoubtedly come a point where you will begin to wonder whether you should start keeping track of the art pieces that you own. But how would you go about it? You may have already attempted at organising your collection, perhaps in Excel, or by hand, writing down a list of everything you own and collating receipts and documents in folders. But you quickly realise neither approach is tailored to safely and conveniently catalogue Fine Art, and, as a result, you end up giving up on properly updating and maintaining your records. We’ve all been there - which is why collection management systems are a truly revolutionary tool! At Artscapy, a platform built by collectors, for collectors, we want to facilitate your art collecting experience. With us, you can upload the art that you own and keep track of it using our intuitive and easy-to-use Art Inventory Software. Still wanting a cherry on the cake? Did we mention the system is free to use for collectors - read more and sign up for free here.
What is a Collection Management System?
A collection management system (CMS) works as an online database or a digital art catalogue for your collection. It is an art inventory software that allows you to keep a record of your art collection by entering the basic information of each piece (artist, title, dimensions, materials), along with high-quality photographs and any associated documentation that is wise to keep track of, such as purchase invoices, insurance paperwork, art appraisals, or restoration details. This is clearly already an improvement from managing your collection by hand across folders and filing cabinets. But cataloguing your art collection online using a CMS does not just help with organization - it offers many other benefits as well. Let’s explore the reasons that make CMS a great digital solution for your art collection management!
The benefits of having a Digital Catalogue
• Easily access your collection and safely store the data
This is the single best time and worry-saving tip for your collecting journey. By centralising all your information in just one platform, you will be able to get an overview of everything you own. Complete with images of the artwork and intuitive organisation of all the information, it is like an enriched album of your collecting journey. Even if you own only a few pieces, it’s a great idea to lay a stable organisational structure for your future collection - this way, you will avoid the headache of “too many to track” later on. Better yet, with Artscapy, you can have it with you, readily accessible, wherever you go, on desktop or on mobile. Finally, by storing the collection online on the cloud under end-to-end encryption, as with Artscapy, you can be sure the information is safe, as opposed to papers and bulky folders which can be lost or private computers which can malfunction, causing irreparable data loss.
• Understand the composition and value of your collection.
Right, so let’s start with this: this is an Artscapy exclusive feature! Artscapy’s charting tools will be extremely valuable to visualise the progress of your collection’s composition and financial value over time. Our platform will automatically keep track of and neatly visualise the value of your collection based on artworks that you purchase/sell as well as factors such as changes in the markets for the artists you own. For example, if you have uploaded a piece that you own onto the platform that is a multiple, and that same work just with a different edition number was recently sold at auction, the system will automatically update the market value of your piece, as a top line indicator of the latest selling price of the edition work. As we incorporate real-time auction results within the platform, your estimated collection value will be immediately calculated! How cool is that?
• Keep track of where your art is.
When uploading your pieces onto the CMS database, you will be able to record their current location. This is particularly helpful if you keep your art in multiple places at once (at your home, office, or storage units) or in case you loan a particular piece to an exhibition or take it on a trip to the restorator. As your collection expands, not just in value but also possibly in geographic dispersion, you will find this feature very important to keep track of all the artworks in your collection.
• Share information about your collection securely with professionals.
Support services commonly sought by art collectors include art appraisals, curatorial support, insurance, and care support in reviewing works that may need restoration or (re)framing. Instead of going through the hassle of gathering all necessary documents every time a situation like this comes up, you can find all the information you might need on the online database and easily share it with the art professionals you are collaborating with. As an added Artscapy-only feature, you can stay in full control regarding what information you share with which art professional. Perhaps your art advisor needs just general information about the artwork, but your restorer needs detailed images and condition reports - you can customise the information visibility to each person. Finally, for insurance purposes, it is important to regularly, every 1-3 years, (re)assess the value of your collection and individual works. With Artscapy’s direct links to certified art appraisers you can fly through the process with just a few clicks.
• Record the purchase prices and where works have been sourced from
A digital CMS allows you to record all purchase information for your pieces. Yes, that means no more invoices scattered in your mailbox! It’s important to keep a record of the price at which you purchased your artworks, so you can calculate your expected profit/losses in relation to the current market value. If you buy/sell pieces often, this can be particularly challenging to keep track of manually. You can also record the identity of the seller (was it a gallery, an auction house, or an art advisor?), and whether you had a good (or bad) acquisition experience with them.
• Refine your collection
This is another feature offered exclusively by Artscapy: a direct connection between your art collection management system and a marketplace to buy and sell artworks. Artscapy’s intuitive platform allows you to easily switch between an overview of your collection and the marketplace, making it more convenient to explore new additions to your collection or consider the artwork you might want to sell.
Have we convinced you? If you’d like your collecting experience to be worry-free and smooth-running, you should definitely consider giving collections management software a shot! You can benefit from Artscapy’s special features that will help you track the value of your collection in real-time and refine it as you go by creating your digital catalogue on our platform. Start adding your pieces today, and upgrade your private art collection management. As a platform built by collectors for collectors, our collection management system is free, and always will be free, for collectors with up to 25 artworks. Read more and sign up for your free account here.
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