Certificates of Authenticity are documents artists and makers use to authenticate the artworks they produce and sell. This week’s post answers common questions about certificates of authenticity and how you can make your own.
Do I really need to make them, I don’t have many collectors?
It is always a best professional practice to make one, although not all artists make them. Being able to track the sale of the work and follow its provenance is a great aspect of your artwork’s legacy. Just because you have minimal sales or a small collector base, doesn’t mean you should skip this step. You never know when your artwork will find its collector base so start now! Buy beyond provenance, there are many other benefits beyond provenance.
Why make a certificate of authenticity?
There are a number of reasons why you should consider certificates of authenticity:
Artist’s Perspective: Provides formal documentation of the artwork, and is a great professional practice to implement if you are looking to work with a gallery and build a collector base.
Collector’s Experience: Allows collectors to use for insurance purposes. It also validates that you made the artwork.
Fraud Protection: If someone were to copy your work, the certificate can help prove the original from the fake.
Financial: A professional way to provide proof of purchase and receipt for purchase
What should my certificate of authenticity look like?
Your certificate of authenticity should be a one-page document. You can always use nice paper for your certificates such as linen paper or resume paper. I would recommend making the certificate once the work is completed and attaching it to the back of the work (if it’s able to fit). For works smaller than 1 sheet of paper or are three-dimensional, find a spot to safely store your certificates until the piece sells or make a smaller certificate.
It’s also great to use the certificate as a space to extend your branding. Select a font, headings, and color to match the overall look of your company. Once you create a certificate, use this as the template for all future. I would recommend a simple word doc to format out your certificate, or by using Canva.
What details should I include on my certificate of authenticity?
Artwork Information: Title of artwork, date, medium, year, dimensions, a photo of the artwork, copyright information
Artist Information: Artist name, artist signature, contact information
Optional: Artist statement, purchase price, you may also want to include a statement authenticating the art and/or claiming copyright to the artwork if you don’t have copyright registration details included.
Should I notarize certificates of authenticity?
Notarizing is an option that you can choose to include with your certificates, although it will most likely cost you money to add this feature to your certificate. Consider this optional or choose to use them for select certificates if budgeting is a concern. You may want to notarize certificates if a collector has asked for them.
What’s the most important tip?
Always sign the certificate in pen or ink, and only make one certificate per original artwork.