The May 2018 NMRA (National Model Railroad Association) Magazine featured the article “A Word to the Wise: Inventory!” by Thomas Roskelly who lost his home to a fire. He penned the article to urge his fellow model train enthusiasts to not only create an inventory of their train collection (and any items they might lose in a fire) but to safely store it so it too is not destroyed by the ravages of heat and flames. (Mr. Roskelly did have an inventory of his train collection but it was stored in a fire-proof safe, which did not survive the heat of the fire; house fires can approach 2400 degrees.) To be sure, Mr. Roskelly shares some very sound advice.
And TroveStar can help folks act on this advice. TroveStar can be used to create personal inventories, which can help collectors do the following:
- Avoid buying duplicates.
TroveStar is accessible on mobile devises like iphones. As a result, you can take a live version (via your smart phone) of your inventory to every hobby shop and train show you frequent. Before you make that impulse buy, you can quickly check to see if you already own the item that interests you.
- Easily and quickly furnish insurance companies with a detailed inventory of your collection.
If your your collection has been destroyed because of a fire and you need a list of your melted trains to submit to your insurance company, you can log on to TroveStar and print out your former collection.
- Get the best possible prices from dealers for your collection.
If you are thinking of selling your collection, you can print out your inventory and shop it around to the dealers. An accurate list of what you are selling (versus "Here are 2 boxes full of 150 rolling stock.") will get you the best price.
- Leave your affairs in order.
We all go to the great train station in the sky someday. Want to leave an accurate list of your collection to your heirs? This is a simple, easy and fun way to plan for that final departure.
Creating a Personal Inventory Using Data on TroveStarUsing TroveStar's 'collection tracking' system to create a personal inventory (based on the various Collections on TroveStar) and to keep track of your collection is easy and fast.
PLEASE NOTE: In order to access the Inventory functionality on TroveStar, you must do two things. FIRST: create a TroveStar account. SECOND: request permission to access the collection that interests you.
Creating an account is free, easy and fast. Please click here to learn how to create one.
To grab a permit for the Collection that interests you, please follow this link.
Once you have completed these two steps, you can now create your own personal inventory.
How to create an inventory:
- Go to the Collection Manager page at this link: http://www.trovestar.com/general/cart/select.php?Collection=4.
- Please click on the Add a new Train Inventory button, which will take you to the page below.
- In my case, to create my own inventory, I will type 'JennaTrainStuff' into the box that says "type name here". Please make sure to NOT include the “<” or “>” symbols.
- Hit “Enter”
- You will now see your new Inventory on the Collection Manager page under the My Collections heading.
On the Collection Manager page you can Add a new Train Inventory and see the list of Public Collections (inventories that fellow TroveStar users have chosen to make public).
How to populate your new inventory:
- To poplulate your Inventory, simply click the "Add Stuff" button.
- If you are interested in a different database other than n-scale, simply find the Collection you are interested in from the Collections table of contents on the home page of TroveStar and go to that landing page.
- On the n-scale database landing page, I use the search function (I type in "pods") on that page to find the item(s) in my personal collection.
- Below are the search results for "pods"
- I locate my specific item in the search results and go to that page.
- On my Pods page (below), there is a button below the image of the item that says 'Add to Active Inventory.'
- If you select this button, it prompts you for a price (In this case, it populates the price field with a suggestion of $12.29).
You may enter "$0.00" if you like. However, if you are using this for insurance purposes, you should instead take a guess as to a fair value for the item.
Sometimes TroveStar will make a guess for you if it can find market information on the target item. You will see in this case historical pricing data that says: "19 of these sold for an average price of $12.29". It also includes information on current offerings: "At least one of these are for sale right now with a price of: $12.95."
This will take you to the N- Scale Database landing page (the N-Scale Model Trains Database is by far the most popular database on TroveStar with close to 52,000 items (currrent count as of late May 2018) and roughly 200 personal inventories.)
On the N- Scale Model Trains Database landing page ntrains.trovestar.com, you can search the database and see if the item you want to add to your inventory exists in the database.
Using reference data from TroveStar is by far the easiest way to add items to your inventory. There are other ways but not as simple.
(There will now be a new button on every individual item page to allow you to add items to 'My Collection'. This feature also adds a new column to all the checklist pages called 'Have,' which shows you whether you own the item already or not.)
By default, ONLY you can see your inventory.
Here is a screen shot of my Inventory so far.
How to edit / print your inventory
If you click on the Collection menu (on the left-side of the page or at the top of the page), you will be able to see all the items in your Inventory and edit them or print them out.
Adding more items to you inventory
Have more than one of the item in your collection? No problemo. Under the 'Collection' menu, you will find 'Collection Viewer'. Click on this menu and it will take you to a form that allows you to alter quantity and price of the item in question. Folks can also add notes about each item such as 'Missing the box' or 'Hand Weathered.' In this case, I added "These sit on top of my computer monitor." and hit enter after making changes to this field.
Here is my Inventory with the notes added.
Want to make your inventory public so other people can see your awesome collection of model trains? Go to this page http://www.trovestar.com/general/cart/select.php?Collection=4, find your collection, and push the "edit" link in the fourth column next to it. You will see an option "Inventory is Public". Change this to "Yes" and then push the "Submit Changes" button. Voila! Everybody can now share the awesomeness.