IS YOUR CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY WORTH THE PAPER IT’S PRINTED ON?
At ArtFuzz.com, All of our items are from the publisher of the art therefore if the item is SIGNED BY THE ARTIST AS PER THE DESCRIPTION, THEN THE ITEM COMES DELIVERED WITH A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY, THAT IS NOT FROM A THIRD PARTY OR GALLERY BUT FROM THE PUBLISHER OF THE ART WHO HAD THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TO MAKE THE PRINT WE PURCHASED THE ITEM FROM.
I GIVE CREDIT TO ART BUSINESS FOR WRITING THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE, EVERYONE WHO IS TO SPEND MONEY ON A SIGNED PRINT SHOULD READ THIS ARTICLE.
Question: I bought two limited edition prints from an online art gallery and I expected that the gallery would provide “certificates of authenticity” with the art. In both cases, they shipped the art but not the certificates. The gallery said they would mail the certificates to me, but I have not yet received them. Should collectors get certificates of authenticity when they buy art? Or should the certificates be sent separately after buying the art? Who generates these certificates?
A: To begin with, there is tremendous abuse in the “certificate of authenticity” or COA business, especially at online auctions. Unless a certificate of authenticity originates from and is signed by either the artist, the publisher of the art (in the case of limited editions), a confirmed dealer or agent of the artist (not a third party or reseller), or an acknowledged expert on the artist, it’s pretty much meaningless. A legitimate COA must contain specific details about the art such as when and how it was produced, the names of people or companies involved in it’s production, the art’s exact title, dimensions, and the names of reference books or similar resources that contain either specific or relevant information about the art and/or the artist. It should also state the qualifications of the individual or entity that authored the certificate, and include his or her complete and current contact information.
A formal certificate of authenticity is not necessarily required to prove that a work of art is genuine. Any valid receipt, bill of sale, or proof of purchase from either the artist herself or a confirmed and established dealer or agent of the artist will do. An appraisal from a recognized authority on the artist is also acceptable. To repeat: Only documents from QUALIFIED individuals are acceptable, not those from anyone who appraises art, or from any dealer or agent who buys or sells occasional works by the artist in question.
Certificates of authenticity are often problematic and some can even be worthless. Many people believe that art with a COA is automatically genuine, but that’s not necessarily the case. To begin with, no laws govern who is or is not qualified to write certificates of authenticity, or what types of statements, information or documentation a COA must include. In other words, anyone can write a COA whether they’re qualified or not. As if that’s not bad enough, unscrupulous sellers can and do forge official looking certificates of authenticity and use them to either sell outright fakes or to misrepresent existing works of art as being more important or valuable than they actually are. And to make matters even worse, meaningless COA’s have been issued for decades; a COA dated 1955, for example, can be just as meaningless as one written today.
Your situation is troublesome because the seller apparently told you that the art had certificates of authenticity, but then did not send them with the art. It’s further complicated by the fact that the seller promised to send them, but did not. Best procedure for you is to try to get your money back and shop elsewhere. Keep in mind that if a work of art supposedly comes with a certificate of authenticity, then that certificate should accompany the art when you receive it.
* Any conditional statements found in a certificate of authenticity such as “in our considered opinion…” or “we believe that…” are warning signs that the art may not be genuine. A valid certificate states that the art is unquestionably by the artist who has signed it.
* A valid certificate of authenticity should contain documented proof or evidence as to why the art is genuine.
* If you have any questions about a certificate of authenticity, contact the individual or entity that authored it, assuming that person is not the seller, and ask those questions BEFORE you buy the art.
* When the contact information on a certificate of authenticity is no longer valid or out-of-date, contact a current authority on the artist. Determine whether the old certificate was authored by a legitimate authority and is adequate proof that the art is genuine.
* A statement that a work of art is genuine is NOT valid unless made by a respected authority on the artist. That person’s qualifications should be stated on the certificate.
* A certificate without adequate contact information for the person or company making the statements, or with only an unidentifiable signature should not be considered valid.
* Certificates for art by famous artists such as Picasso, Chagall, and Miro should include the exact titles of the art, names of reference books that list the art, dates the art was produced, names of publishers (for limited editions), edition sizes (for limited editions), and exact dimensions of the art. ALL limited edition prints by Picasso, Chagall, Miro, and many other well-known artists are documented in books called catalogues raisonne. If a catalogue raisonne exists for an artist, the corresponding catalogue number or entry for the work art in question should be noted on the certificate of authenticity.
* Anytime that a certificate of authenticity does not meet all of the above criteria, consider yourself at risk if you buy the art.