I just read the disheartening loss that Philip suffered and it makes me sick. I've been a cop for 27 years, and here are some tips I've learned through the years. These type burglaries are not random. We like to show our collections, but don't show what you have to strangers. Many times we unwittingly allow strangers to see our stuff, such as friends of your teenage children, telephone repairmen, cable guys, plumbers, policemen, insurance salesmen, the list goes on and on. I'm not saying these people are crooks. But once they see what you have, they talk, and it only takes one thief to hear what you have and then you're at risk.
If you do show your stuff to people, have a "you can look but do not touch policy". If you allow someone to handle your stuff, they then have a legitimate reason why their prints are on your stuff if it's stolen and recovered. Don't give them that defense.
Take pictures of all your stuff, and a detailed written list with values. Remember that in most cases your home owners or renters insurance will not cover collectables. Talk with your insurance agent because you will probably need an insurance rider. Homeowners insurance usually only covers up to $1000 for guns, art work, jewelry, or collectables. Your insurance covers more than just theft. It also covers fire, floods, or any other disaster. Don't keep the pictures or list in your house alone. Give copies to family members or put in bank.
If your stuff does get stolen, act quickly. The thieves are likely going to sell your stuff immediately for pennys on the dollar. Call the police and make a report. Make sure the officers that respond process the scene for latent fingerprints. If the officer is lazy and refuses to process, demand that his supervisor respond. The next day call the police station and ask who was assigned to investigate your case. GET NAMES OF EVERYONE YOU TALK WITH AT THE POLICE STATION, INCLUDING THE OFFICERS THAT RESPOND TO THE SCENE! If you don't get any cooperation, ask to speak with the commander of the station. Stay on the cops so they'll work harder to solve the case and make you go away.
Thieves will turn in their mother for $500, so the next thing to do is offer a reward. Put up reward flyers at bus stops, taverns, schools, outside pawn shops, bailbonds offices, etc. Put one in the local newspaper. Most thieves are idiots and they love to brag, so a reward can usually bring out at least one cockroach to squeal. I know this all sounds pretty paranoid, but we're living in a different world today. I just don't want to see anyone else suffer the same fate as Philip. Be careful and protect you wonderful collections.