The Art of a Certificate of Authenticity

The Art of a Certificate of Authenticity


The creation and composition of a piece of artwork comes from the mind of the artist who creates it. As everything in the creative world, the art starts out as an idea or vision. This vision is fabricated and brought about by the way in which the artist sees and interprets the world surrounding them. As young and upcoming artists, it is crucial that in making one’s way through the industry, that the artist receives credit for work when the credit is due. Likewise, in the industry of art selling and collecting, it is imperative that the quality and the originality of the works go without question. The most practical and beneficial way for an artist to accomplish this, is by creating, or receiving, a Certificate of Authenticity for their works. The founder and CEO of ARTGALA, Michelle Acevedo,  prides her platform on quality and honesty of the art that is being auctioned. This is why ARTGALA requires a Certificate of Authenticity from art connoisseurs (artists, collectors, buyers and sellers, etc.) prior to auction on their platform.

A Certificate of Authenticity, or a COA, is a document used among artists, buyers, collectors, and sellers to better ensure the pieces genuineness. Though simple and easily obtainable, the COA can be a profound factor when it comes to the ease of transaction in the selling of artwork. In having this certificate, the artist is able to present concrete documentation of the work provenance, quality, and ensures the buyer that the work was produced by the artist themselves. As an artist’s career continues to thrive, and pieces are exchanged between collectors or sellers, with the COA the proper regards will be properly accredited to said artist.

How does one obtain a COA? In the digital age that we live it is now easier than ever for an artist to write their own certificate.The following information is crucial to include when an artist is writing up his or her certificate: artist name. The name of the artist of the work should be located within the headline of the document.Following the artist’s name should be the title of the completed work and the year of completion. The following information to be provided on the COA is the artwork’s:

  • Dimensions
  • Medium
  • Edition number, if applicable.
  • Special instructions. Make sure, if necessary, to include any special instructions regarding the condition of your work, installation instructions, etc.
  • Artwork Image. Ideally, your COA should include an image of your work within the document. This ensures ease in archiving the document for both you and the buyer.

The most crucial part of the COA is the handwritten signature of the artist and the date, which should be done in ink. There is no written rule that a piece of artwork MUST be accompanied with a COA. That choice is made by the artist. However, it is important to note that failure to include a COA with a piece of artwork may put the art at risk of forgery. Not only could an artists work be plagiarized, but without the COA the artwork in question may be tagged with the name of a better known artist and bought and sold between sellers and collectors strictly for the use of monetary gain. To eliminate the chances of this, attach a signed and dated Certificate of Authenticity to any and all pieces of art as they are sold. In the act of purchasing artwork, one must be sure that the collector provides the buyer with the Certificate prior to purchase. This is put in place to better assure the genuineness of the transaction.

(Below: A sample image of a C.O.A of “Abu” by Artist Patrick Hedges)

  • Author:Meaghan McConnell