If you are going to be collecting art, you will need a method for keeping track of all the details associated with your purchases and sales. While you will likely receive physical receipts and authenticity certificates, they may omit essential information that you will find helpful to have on hand at some point in the future. Therefore, creating a digital database is essential for all art collectors.
There are many ways you can keep track of the details of your art collection. But the best and simplest way is to collate all this information in a program like Excel.
The Beauty of Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel is more than adequate for recording details concerning your art collection. The ubiquity of the software means you will always have a digital copy to your essential art collection information.
Programs such as Google Sheets, which follow similar principles, work just as well and are generally interoperable with one another (i.e., you can open a excel file using Google Sheets).
What Details Should You Record?
The details you should seek to record include:
- Artwork purchase price
- Artwork purchase date
- Artwork title and creation date
- Artwork’s creator and/ or publisher (if applicable)
- Artworks providence (what country/city/auction house/gallery has it come from)
- Artwork’s materials
- Whether it is/was accompanied by documents stating its authenticity
- Shipping cost
- Framing price
- Framing date
- Framing-grade (museum, standard, etc)
For extra precaution, ensure that you keep a copy of your Excel document saved in multiple places, including on USB stick, as a printed physical copy (dated), on a desktop, and the cloud.
Other than Excel or Google Sheets, there exists a few paid software solutions designed for keeping track of your art collection. While a beginner investor may find these programs unnecessary, an investor with an extensive collection may benefit from their streamlined service.
The three most popular paid services include:
All documents of authenticity that come with the artworks you purchase should be scanned as digital copies. These copies can be stored with your database either as standalone image files or embedded in your Excel document.