One thing we never hear much about is keeping good records of your collection. Good records are important for a number of reasons:
2. Asset recording/tax issues
With Star Trek collecting we are pretty lucky in that 95% of all Star Trek items in the market are either from the Christie's auction or It's a Wrap.
So let's review those quickly:
Christie's - With Christie's items you should have an invoice to show its provenance. Some people got a CBS letter, but these are lal photocopies and essentially worthless. With Christie's items you have to be able to matc the item to the catalog photo and invoice. Of course some items were sold in lots that were split up, but the same rule applies.
It's A Wrap - IAW issued Certificate's of Authenticity. Generally they had a photo on them. So if you have an item from one of those two sources you need the appropriate paperwork.
Now, what about other sources, like Profiles in History, Propworx or Julien's?
Julien's - New to Star Trek and only sold items from the Roddenberry Estate and the JJ movie. No COA, but solid provenance. An invoice should be what you use for provenance.
Profiles in History - Sometimes gives out COA's if you ask for them. Basically worthless. Profiles has had lots of good Star Trek items, but they have also sold fakes and they don't reveal their consignors. I only buy from Profiles (and I have spent a lot with them) when I know the source. Their COAs are worthless. No photo, no matching hologram and good luck if you ever try to get your money back.
Propworx - (Official disclaimer - I own Propworx) Well, let's face it, Propworx has the best COA's in the business. :-) Photos on the COA, a matching, serial-numbered hologram system and an online archive. This is because we care about this hobby.
OK, so now that you have the proper documentation, what do you do with it? Well, I have a file box and I keep everything in there. Organization makes your life less stressful. When I decide to sell items, as I am doing for the first time in a major way this coming Spring, all I have to do is go to the file and pull the appropriate Docs. I also have a very comprehensive Excel spreadsheet with every purchase, date, price and who from. This is critical for insurance purposes especially. I section it by source, so all my IAW purchases are together, but I have one Master list with everything.
OK, so there you go. Some basics on record keeping. I strongly urge all collectors to maintain great records. It will help you when you go to sell, or if you ever have an insurance claim.