Do You Need to Include a Certificate of Authenticity?

Hey there art friends,

Today we're diving into a topic that's come up in my Palette to Profit program, and that’s certificates of authenticity. You may be wondering, "Do I need one? And if I do, what does it need to have on it?" 

So, what exactly is a certificate of authenticity? Essentially, it's a written document that verifies the authenticity of a piece of original artwork or in some cases a print. It typically includes details such as the artist's name, the title of the artwork, the medium used, the dimensions, and sometimes even a brief description of the piece. It serves as proof that the artwork is genuine and can add perceived value to your work, especially when selling online.

But do you really need one? The short answer is: it depends.

Including a certificate of authenticity with your artwork can be a valuable addition to your sales process, especially if you're selling high-end, one-of-a-kind pieces. It provides buyers with some peace of mind knowing that they're investing in a piece of art that you value enough to create a certificate of authenticity for.

Let’s consider a scenario in which a buyer comes across your artwork online, falls in love with it, but hesitates to make a purchase because they're unfamiliar with you or your name. They’ve only just discovered you, but they really love the art. Then they see that the art comes with a certificate of authenticity. That lends it just enough credibility for your customer to make the purchase.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. Creating certificates of authenticity sounds like a lot of extra work, and I'm not sure if it's worth the effort. Trust me, I get it. The first time I decided to offer certificates of authenticity with my work I made it too complicated. I printed them one at a time on special paper and included a written description of the work and my inspiration. Each one took me about 30 minutes to make and I gave them up very quickly.

But here's the thing: creating certificates of authenticity doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. You can easily design a template that you can use for all your artworks, and once you have it set up, it's just a matter of filling in the details for each piece. These can be on a standard 8.5x11 sheet of paper. The most important thing is that it has your name, the date, the title of the piece and your signature. Everything else is just extra.

So, to sum it up, let me tell you a little story.

My husband inherited a piece of art from his grandmother created in the 1960s. I personally love this piece and was really interested in its history but I couldn’t even make out the signature on the front. Fortunately his grandmother had saved not just the certificate of authenticity but a newspaper article on the artist in an envelope and tucked it behind the canvas.

So whether or not you see the value in adding a certificate of authenticity as a sales tool for your work, I can tell you as the owner of an original piece of art how valuable that certificate is to me. And that’s enough to get me back to creating a simple form to use for every large original painting I sell.

Remember, at the end of the day, it's all about finding what works best for you and your art business.

Until next time,


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