No matter how big or how small your coin collection is, managing it is an important part of the whole Numismatist experience. Whether it is cataloging your coins or creating buy lists, having a single source of truth for you collection grows as your collection grows. That’s one of the reasons I suggest looking at Coin Manage from Liberty Street Software.
Coin Manage is a Windows-based app that allows you to completely manage your collection no matter its size. Further, it has so much detail that can input about any particular coin that it is unrivaled by any other collection app, for Windows or for Mac. Indeed when you first start using the app, it can be a bit overwhelming! But once you get going with it, you’ll find that the overall workflow of Coin Manage is easy and comprehensive.
While all of this power in the app is nothing short of impressive, the overall User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) is…. dated. Likely, horribly dated. The app looks like it belongs in Windows 98, not Windows 10! But if you can see past that – and I encourage you to do so – you will find why I have no problem recommending it to my fellow collectors.
Installation & Size
Coin Manage can be purchased directly from Liberty Street Software on their site. It comes either in a U.S. Coins only version for $39.95 or a U.S. version with the ability to enter coins from Canada and UK for $59.95. It is downloaded directly from the company’s site. If you want a physical CD mailed to you (why?) you can add $10 to each of the prices above.
You will need your Windows PC to be running at least Windows 7 with Windows 8 and Windows 10 fully supported. You will need about 200MB of storage space for the app. Basically, any reasonably modern PC should be able to run Coin Manage with no issue (post 2010 should be safe). This amount of storage will, of course, grow as you add coins and images to your collection stored in the app. The good news is that it can either be stored locally or can be stored in your OneDrive account so you have a backup of it in real time in the cloud.
As a point of reference, for this review and for my daily use of the app, I have it installed on a Microsoft Surface Pro 6 running an Intel i5 processor with 8GB of RAM.
User Interface & Experience
So let’s get right to it: The User Interface of Coin Manage is… dated. And that is putting it gently. If you have been a long time Windows user, a quick look will make you feel like you are back in the Windows XP/2000 days. Don’t believe me? Take a look.
My single most important point in this review is do not let this UI distract you from the power of this collection management software. All jokes aside about the look, you will be hard pressed to find a more comprehensive management app for Windows or Mac. You just have to look beyond the UI and if you can do that, you will find the wealth of this application.
Coin Entry & Information
As you would expect, Coin Manage comes with a pre-built collection database named My Collection. You can keep it that or rename it. To enter a coin, you tap the Add Coin icon on the far left of the toolbar or use the shortcut Control+N. This dialog box is broken down into several key elements. In the upper left is a menu driven window that allows you to select the type of coin you are entering into your collection. It has all United States coins, Mint Sets, Proof Sets, Commemoratives, Medals, and other commemorative sets as well as bullion. Scroll down and find the denomination of coin you are entering, then tap the + sign by it. This will open up a sub-menu of the types of coins for that denomination which you can also select.
Doing this will populate the larger window to the right. This is where you will find the year, Mint Mark, and varieties of that particular denomination. Click to highlight the year you want to add to your collection and the lower-left window will popular with current values of that particular coin with an often generic photo provided by Coin Manage for that coin (but not necessarily the variety). You can then click on the values list for the grade of your coin (you can enter them manually too as well as values) and the value will auto-populate. At its most basic level, this is how you enter a coin into the app. But there is so much more detail available to enter if you want to do so.
At the top of the Add Coin dialog box are several tabs. The Additional Info table allows you to enter a wealth of information about your coin. Here there are dozens of fields that you can fill in to give a complete story of this particular coin in your collection. Some of these fields, like the Grading Service one, are pre-populated with the names of grading services. But you can certainly add your own, or your own name, to this list to indicate that you graded the coin. There are also User-Defined fields where you can put additional information for your coin. Here are just a few of the fields available:
- Catalog Number
- Date Bought & Sold (along with the buyer/seller information)
- Graded By
- Current location
- Serial Number
- Certification Number
This single tab is what really makes Coin Manage stand out from other collection software. While the casual collector may not need all of this information, for dealers or collectors with thousands of coins, it can be plenty handy.
Next is the Images tab. As you would expect, this tab allows you to either directly scan in images of your coins or import photos of them from your PC. In all, you can have four images associated with each coin. The Obverse and Reverse are designated by named buttons while addition images (think coin edges for example) can be attached under the Image 3 and Image 4 buttons.
Next is the Item Notebook. Think of this tab as a list of costs associated with the coin you are adding to your collection. For example, you can indicate a cost of the coin outright here, costs of getting it graded, and so forth. The idea is to give you a complete cost of the coin to you, an important fact when it comes to selling the coin.
Finally there is the Attachments tab. This is where you can attach files associated with the coin. For example, if you wanted to attach an image of the coin prior to grading or in its original holder, you could do so here.
Once you have entered all of the information for your coin, tap the OK button and it is saved to your collection. That collection consists of a database which is stored, by default, in your OneDrive folder. That means that it is backed up online continually. You can, of course, store it locally on your PC if you want and bypass OneDrive, but I don’t recommend it.
Want List Creation
A key and powerful feature of Coin Manage is the Want List. Every collector has coins that they want to add to their collection and this app makes it easy to keep track of those. Further, you can print out a report (next section of this review) and take it with you to your local coin shop or the next coin show you visit.
Creating a Want List is easy. On the main display of the app, you will see your collection in the tree on the left-hand side. Towards the bottom of that tree you will see a Want List. Click it. It will be empty by default.
Adding a coin to your want list is done the exact same way you add a coin to your collection. In fact, you are presented the exact same coin entry window. What I recommend is that you select the type and variety of the coin you want to add to your want list, then select the grade of that coin you’d like to buy. This will help you see how much you need to budget for that coin.
While the wealth of information you can in put on a coin makes Coin Manage stand apart from others, the reporting in the app likely puts it out of distance of them. Simply put, you will not find a coin collection app that has this level of detail and customization in its built-in reporting.
To start, the most common reports that most collectors need are pre-built and available off the Reporting menu in the app. Tap that and you have a menu of reports that you can immediately print or save to a PDF. Some of these reports include:
- Coins grouped by type
- Coins grouped by year
- Type Summary Report
- Want List with Values
- Bullion Coin Report
That’s just a few of the dozens of reports built into the app.
I personally find the Coin Group by Type report to be very handy, particularly for insurance purposes. Here is a sample of that report’s layout.
If you can’t quite seem to find the report that you need out of the app, there is complete built-in report editor available. This allows you to quite literally customize every aspect of a report to your liking. But, be warned, it can get complicated fast so take your time in trying to create that custom report.
Conclusion & Recommendation
A few months ago I moved from MacOS to Windows 10 as my primary computing platform. One of the big things I was concerned with around this move was what application I would use to manage my coin collection. I’d used Coin Manage in the past but it had been years. I wasn’t sure what to expect.
What I got was a comprehensive, well designed application that makes managing my collection easy. It also gives me the ability to record dozens of details about each coin and create fantastic reports on my collection.
The bottom line is that Coin Manage may well be the best, most comprehensive collection management app out there.
If you are just starting out your coin collection or are looking to get better organized, I highly recommend this application. It is well worth the price.
The application is sold in a variety of different packages, all of which can be found here. It starts at $39.95 for the US-only coin variety that is a direct download. The license will get you the 2020 update free-of-charge and will allow you to install it on two computers.