Friday Tips: Certificates of Authenticity


All right, how many of you print a Certificate of Authenticity each time you sell a work?  Well if you don’t, and if no one ever told you what one should contain, here’s a simple example.  Please note that I list title, medium, size and current value.  Please also note that I indicate to whom copyright actually belongs, and how infringement is a VERY bad idea.  Do we ever have to enforce this with an attorney?  Nah; it’s better to stay on cool terms with everyone.  The big artillary should always be a last resort.

If you can’t make out the text, it reads as follows:



Title:              “Hemisphere in Steel”  
Artist:             Arlie Regier
Medium:          Stainless Steel
Dimensions:      17 x 6 x 17
Value:             $4000.00

This is to affirm that the sculpture you purchased is an original work.  Listed above are the details of the work as well as its current market value.  This document may be considered my appraisal of the piece, and can be used for insurance purposes.

Please note that copyright is the sole property of the artist, and as a consequence, no images or reproductions may be made of this work without the express, written permission of Arlie Regier.

Thank you so much for your purchase.



Paul Dorrell

10 thoughts on “Friday Tips: Certificates of Authenticity

  1. Martha: I’m a bit unclear on this. Do you mean Public Art registry sites, or general sites such as AbsoluteArts? Either way, any kind of appropriate documentation is always good, depending on who does it, what the purpose is, who uses it, and what the fee is–if there is one. But please clarify a bit.

  2. I’m glad to see your remarks on this issue. Your certificates are very much like my own bills of sale, which give the purchaser my copyright and basic care info. Plus, they give me the collector’s contact information. I then send them a personal thank-you note and put them on my collector mailing list.

    So, maybe I should rename my bills of sale “certificates of authenticity”!

    I’m curious if you share purchaser contact info with your artists. It seems some galleries do not like to do this, although I believe it is beneficial for them to do so. It seems to me that the more communication with buyers, the better. Plus, artists often bring their collectors to the gallery, who then buy more work… sometimes other artists’.

  3. I provide one of these with every sale too, have been for years. I also include a picture of the work, and care instructions as well (if there are any). I do include the part about retaining copyright too. I just print my own, I was getting them from EBSQ but none of my buyers went through the trouble of going online and filling out the form for the works after they got them…so I dropped that part and started printing my own…it is cheaper and just as good as the bought ones. (and easier too!) Great post, thank you!

  4. Diana: Actually our Bill of Sale, or Invoice, is a different doc. That’s for bookkeeping purposes, and is generated by Quickbooks. As for your other question, if my artists request the info about collectors, sure. However galleries tend to be careful about handing out their client list, as all retail operations are–for good reasons.

    Heather: As usual, you do a more thorough job than I.

  5. Thanks for your feedback on the buyer contact info, Paul. I understand why galleries would be careful with client lists. It’s nice to know that you do share the info with your artists if they want it. I hope that has worked out well for everyone.

  6. I put my step in to your guestbook like I always

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