Keeping Busy With The Coronavirus
It seems like it was just last month I was lamenting the fact that there's a convention happening every single week some place, as I had to build a spreadsheet just to keep track of where and when they were happening. Now there's none taking place in April or May, and possibly beyond that, which means plenty of time you to do other things you've been putting off with regards to your collection.
First thing that you should be doing with your free time is organizing your collection! I guarantee you that there's at least one autographed item of yours that's sitting on a desk or a shelf someplace and isn't in an Itoya page or protective page. Take care of your items and protect them! At the same time, take time to deliberately organize your Itoyas and everything else. I have mine organized by each individual movie, and binders specifically dedicated to ILM and behind the scenes signers. For the 8x10 portfolios, I made labels for the spine which can be printed off and put in the binder, and you can download them here.
The next thing you can do is scanning in your entire collection for documentation and sharing purposes, and if you feel like it, archival purposes. Scanning in your item is easier and cheaper than ever, all that it requires is a flatbed scanner like the Canon CanoScan Lide 300 Scanner , photo editing software (e.g.Photoshop or GIMP). It just takes a little time and effort, but the end result is so much better than an out of focus, potato-quality photo that you quickly took while you were going through your mail. Additionally, it helps for insurance purposes to have everything documented, if you choose to have a policy that specifically protects your collectibles. For documentation/sharing purposes, saving the images at 72dpi will be sufficient, and 300dpi will work for archival purposes. If you want to have those photos everywhere you go, you can upload them to your Google Drive or a photo service like Flickr.
A third thing that you can do to keep yourself busy, is going through and cataloging your collection. This way you have an idea of what you have in your collection, but it’s also handy for insurance purposes, should you suffer a loss. I like to use Google Sheets to do this, and I keep track of the size of items, who is on it, and what Itoya it’s stored it. This is especially handy when Andy announces another ILMer that I need, as I can quickly see who is on my multi-signed pieces and know they’re not on it, locate and pull the item for the shipment. Additionally, it’s handy to keep track of who is on your multi-signed posters, and who you may also need on it - below is an example of how I keep track of my Star Wars Galaxy promotional posters:
The final thing you can do with your free time is do your homework! Yes, you read that right, but what I mean by ‘homework’, is take the time to read the Signature Study Series that we’ve published on the website, and study the known good examples of various autographs. That time you invest in reading those studies and familiarizing yourself with signatures will pay off in the long term, as you will be able to better spot signatures that are clearly fake, and ones that are off enough - will make you pause long enough that you don’t impulse buy an item, and see if it’s truly real.
Hopefully this will give you a few ideas on how to keep yourself busy during these stressful times!