As your collection grows, you’ll want to keep a visual inventory of all the items in your collection. In addition to remembering what’s in your collection, such images will also help with insurance documentation and estate planning. And for those of us losing our minds, it’s often easier to go through pictures to remember what you have rather than digging through storage boxes, display cases, and notes in search of an item. This article will guide you through the basics of photographing your collection.

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The details associated with an artifact should be considered as equally important as the object itself. Thorough documentation enriches an object’s intrinsic value, gives it meaning and context, and results in a stronger understanding of its uniqueness.

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The United States Postal Service™ began its commemoration of the 150th year anniversary of the Civil War in 2011. A souvenir sheet with two stamp designs has been issued each year, from 2011 to 2015. Under the direction of Art Director Phil Jordan, historical lithographs, paintings, and chromolithographs were selected for the stamp designs.

Here’s a quick snapshot of each year’s commemorative stamps with additional commentary from the Postal Service:

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Larry Hicklen Civil War Store

Q. How would you describe yourself?

A. First and foremost, I would say that I’m an historian. To be great at the hobby of recovering Civil War relics, you have to have a passion for it–researching and discovering all of the nuanced, intricate historical details. I think most everyone in this hobby is an amateur historian in their gut.

I have a passion for Civil War history and I only focus on that time period. My degree is in chemistry; and I liked it at the time, working for both Textron and DuPont for a while. However, there’s a difference between liking what you do and having a passion for what you do.

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The Burnt Hickory Brewery is an outstanding, up-and-coming craft brewery located in Kennesaw, Georgia. Civil War buffs know the area as the location of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, where under the leadership of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, the Confederates handed General Sherman a tactical defeat on his march to famously leveling Atlanta (or infamously if you’re from the South). In a nod to local history, Burnt Hickory Brewmaster and Owner Scott Hedeen named some of his beers after significant people and places associated with the battle.

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Larry Hicklen

Q. When did you fall in love with this hobby?

A. It started with the Centennial Anniversary of the Civil War. I was 10 years old in 1961, and 14 years of age come 1965. Those are real formative years for a young boy. During the Centennial, the newspaper had a big section every week, and living history presentations were also a big deal. I attended a few of them, and as a 10 to 14 year old, it made quite an impression. Those were the years when I said “you know what, this stuff is cool.”

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Many of our readers are metal detecting enthusiasts, as are many of us here at RelicRecord.com. We’re in the woods, fields, and other outdoor areas in search of artifacts and other interesting items. So we thought it would be a good idea to put together a definitive guide on those pesky plants we all fear and respect – poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.

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There comes a point in every collectors’ collecting life when getting a professional appraisal will make sense—determining an item’s value for a sale, for insurance coverage, charitable donations, and estate-planning; or just simply satisfying one’s curiosity of what something is and how much it’s worth.

No matter what you collect, you can find someone to appraise it. The key however, is to find someone who’s qualified. By no means are we appraisal aficionados, but here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

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Where are we going to put all this stuff?

With potentially hundreds of thousands of pictures and rows upon rows of data, this is an important question for any new website project. With technology, there is always more than one way to do something. The same holds true for how RelicRecord.com is being built.

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Long obsolete among European armies, the pike, lance, and other types of pole-weapons were not widely used during the Civil War. However, that’s not to say they were not part of its history.

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