the only thing i can think of, other than what i suggested, is using substring() to break it, but you would need to know how many letters. not sure that we know that here. it might make more sense to have them as 2 separate fields. what are you thinking russell?
was thinking substring and charindex with either an ascii check or isnumeric() if db is mssql.
msaccess queries can use pretty much all of the string functions of vbscript. Oracle and MySQL (as u know) I'm not familiar enough to attempt in SQL so I'd break into 2 fields as u suggest, or do in client code.
Last night before I went to bed (and I go to bed a lot earlier than you guys) I modified my application and added an extra numeric sorting field to the table. It strips out the alpha characters and stuffs the remaining numeric into that field. Then I sort on the numeric field.
However, that's some interesting stuff that you posted, and I'd like to play with it a little. Thanks for the help!