NOTE: I have moved to a different system for tracking, similar to the Carnegie Museum style. It is a simple CM 12345 mark. While it was nice to include the locality, year, month in the specimen, I now keep that information separate in an online database for referencing.


I need to keep the order of a growing collection of specimens so I have developed the following identification system to be used on what I call Collection Pieces. These are recorded in our fossil catalog.

Therefore, an example Identification System code:

Codes shall be deconstructed as follows:

Marking Specimens

Consequently, identification numbers need to be added directly to specimens if possible. I did research on different methods, in conclusion, I found archival ink pens seem to be the best in class. While white paint appears to work well on really dark specimens, I have not used any for marking. I tend to not want to mark the detailed surfaces of specimens with marking materials. If I do mark a specimen, I try to mark it off to the side or on the underside. For limestone, I will use a grinder and grind a flat surface somewhere that does not have fossil detail. I then use a Micron PN archival ink pen to mark directly on the limestone.

Applying a layer of Paraloid B-72 to the surface and marking on top of that is a common method. You can then later use a solvent to remove the mark completely if desired. You are supposed to apply another later of B-72 on top of that to protect the mark, but I find the solvent often lifts or muddies the mark. Since the direct method of marking the limestone has proven effective, the use of B-72 has been more for repairing broken specimens.

Legacy Locality Codes

These legacy codes were used in early 2019 when I started to build the catalog. I have since discontinued usage of these and they are no longer part of the catalog.

ALAmes Limestone
MMid Level Shale
USUpper Shale
KPieces from an Eastern Gilpin Township Locality
GPieces from a Western Gilpin Township Locality
UUnknown Origin

Early Catalog of Pieces

These are some of the early pieces that I added using legacy collection codes.

Identification System Collection Pieces as a Category

You can find posts from the entire category listing here.

Examples of Identification Systems Elsewhere

I did research on identification marking and numbering systems before I developed my own. I wanted to make sure I was not missing anything before I set a standard. Here are some interesting examples in use.