Certificates of authenticity are often used to validate the value of a piece of art or collectable. When you have a certificate of authenticity or COA, you are showing that either the artist or an expert on the piece has certified that it is real and not a counterfeit. Many buyers of antiques and artwork will not go through with the transaction unless they are presented with a certificate of authenticity.
Receive a certificate of authenticity from the direct source of the piece if possible. The most important part of getting a COA is proving the validity of the document. Ideally, you will want to contact the original artist or manufacturer to receive a COA.
Request a copy from the dealer that you purchased the piece. If you bought the antique or artwork from a gallery or antique shop, they should be able to provide you with a COA. Most COAs are automatically given at the time of purchase.
Use an expert appraiser as an alternative. If you are unable to receive a COA from a more direct source, you can bring in the piece to a well known and established appraiser. For a fee, he can generate a COA. His qualifications should be included on the COA.
Make sure that the COA has all of the required information printed on it. This includes the date of production, company that produced the piece, description of the item with distinguishing characteristics. The full name and contact information should be given for the individual that has created and signed the COA.
Remember to check the wording on a COA. You don't want to get a COA that uses vague terms like "in my opinion" or "potentially."
Avoid using online sites as a way to generate a certificate of authenticity. These are normally fakes and can get you in trouble if you are caught trying to present one on a counterfeit item.