A certificate of authenticity, or COA, is a document generally offered on collectable items which have been modified by particular artists, or whose authenticity has been determined by a professional evaluation. It can make your artwork and prints more desirable to your customers. There is no legal requirement for a certificate of authenticity, but certain formalities are used throughout the industry, so you will want to adhere to them.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Certificate border printer paper
- Computer with a word processing program
- Computer printer
Decide if you want your certificate to be horizontal or vertical on the paper. Measure the decorative borders on the certificate paper and input the information into your word processing program's formatting fields. Choose a font for your certificate.
Assemble the information you want to include on your certificate of authenticity. This usually includes: The registry ID number, if you have one, or sometimes the SKU or serial number; the title of the work; the full name of the artist; the dimensions of the print or original work, unless it is a sculpture; the name of the edition, including the number of the print and the number of the total print run; the print medium and the medium of the original work, and the date the print was created. You may wish to add additional information.
After you have assembled the information, type it in your word processing program. You may wish to change font sizes to highlight certain aspects, such as the print name or the artist. There are two ways to write this information. The first is to just fill in the information as though you are writing a form. The second way is to include the information in paragraph form, as in the following example:
"This certifies that the print Wonderful Artwork is an original lithographic print of the original oil painting by Jane D Artiste. This 4" x 6" x 4" print is only one of a run of 150. The original work was created on 5 December 2008."
After printing your certificate, you will need to sign it.
Tips and warnings
- If you are signing the work the COA is for, make sure to mention this on your certificate.
- If you have the ability, making your own certificate border on your computer will give you more choices than you would have using pre-printed certificate paper.
- Do not say a work is a limited edition unless it really is. Dishonesty will alienate your customers.
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