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Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Perfect Card Collecting App

Last week, I talked about how I track my collections, and that got me thinking. We all know that's a dangerous thing, but in this case, perhaps some good might come of it.
What would the perfect iPhone app look like for collectors?

The answer to this question will depend on the collector, I'm sure. There are some things people want that might not be feasible, at least in a budget-friendly way. And in general, a player collector will want to track different things than a set collector or a type collector. A lot of what I talk about below was done for PC software back in the 1990s, so it's not that difficult or processor-intensive.

1. Speed/Flow. It needs to work quickly, but also be very user-friendly, with fast searches and easy inventory management.

2. Comprehensive checklists. Linking with TCDB could allow real-time updating of checklists.

3. Images. Front and back. Viewable outside of just the app or the iPhone itself.

4. Multiple lists. Want list goes to need list. Is it in a type collection, part of a set building project, or a player collection?

5. Notes and additional data. Purchase date, purchase price, notes on condition or serial numbering, grading information, storage location, etc. can be very useful.

6. Import/Export/Cloud Data and Multiple Platforms. Integrating with Google Docs or similar services would make this very feasible. People want backups. Furthermore, a speedy web interface would allow easier editing at home on keyboards or viewing on iPads.

7. Reports. Speaking of viewing - want lists, have lists, values, graphs, charts. Viewable on the phone, exported to Reminders, formatted as PDF or HTML, and/or shareable in some way.

8. Filtering. The filter view is my most important tool when using Google Sheets.

9. Pricing. This is the most challenging thing, but a lot of people want it.

Beckett's app, if you pay $50 a year for the collecting feature, and I'm assuming also pay for the online price guide feature, has a lot of this. It's pretty fast and has a fairly comprehensive checklist. I can't really try it out since there's no trial feature and I'm not paying $7 just to take it for a test drive for a month.

There are database apps out there, but my biggest concern is being able to edit data quickly via web-based spreadsheets or some other easy form. I've poked around Airtable and MobiDB, but haven't really given them too much thought. Airtable is pricey for my needs, thanks to the big type collection.

MobiDB integrates with Google Docs, but it isn't too pretty and it can be a little hard to see long rows on a sheet. I do like the easy searching/filter function, but I haven't tested it with a big spreadsheet.

Really, Google Sheets' only problem is the filtering - if I could easily filter my view, Sheets would be the most useful collecting software out there today. The filtering function is always at the top, though, and that isn't useful when you're 2000 rows below that.

Has anyone found any quality card collecting apps, especially ones that work cross-platform? Is there anything I didn't mention above that you think would be important?

Until next time...


  1. The perfect collecting app is one that just sends you notifications about how you could be spending your money better (ie on food) every 15 minutes. Every 5 minutes on days off from work.

    1. Hah. "You opened eBay. Save your money and go to the grocery store for some vegetables instead." "You visited COMC 10 times today. You've reached your limit. Your phone is locked for the next week."