Certificates of Authenticity are much more than little bits of paper that you stick on the back of a reproduction.
A COA is a critical part of authenticating your artwork, whether it's representing a fine art reproduction or an original. While a COA is not formally required to prove that an original work is genuine, it adds value and offers the client some relevant information and assurance about the piece.
In relation to Limited Edition Reproductions, a COA helps to ensure that the reproduction purchased is an authentic and authorised copy of your original work. There are no laws or authorities in Australia who control or monitor COA's, unlike the US where every state seems to have it's own laws on the matter. So it's up to you.
There are some important points that should be on a COA for a reproduction...
- Artwork title
- The Edition Number
- The media and inks used
- Artist's name
- Artist's signature
- Artist's contact details
Other optional information depending on the size of your certificate and space...
- A picture of the artwork
- A story about the artwork
- The printmaker's signature
- Any warranty provided such as the Art House Warranty
If you are going to offer high quality Limited Edition Reproductions, I believe you should provide a certificate that is worth the paper it's written on and worthy of the reproduction itself. I used to suggest that artists create and supply their own certificates but I think that may have been a mistake. I have seen a few of them and while some are quite good, it's the printing of them that worries me. The vast majority of you will be printing your COA's on home printers using dye ink which lasts a couple of years - nothing compared to how long your reproduction will last.
OK, I'm in the printing business, so I'm always looking for new business, let's be honest, so what I'm about to suggest, in one way, is an attempt to get you to spend more money with me. However, I won't be making my fortune from printing certificates, let me tell you why. They are fiddly things to prepare, lay out, print and cut and each version is personalised. A lot of time and effort for very little return.
But you know what? That doesn't matter as much to me as your work arriving in your clients hands in the most professional manner.
So here's the deal. I will prepare your personalised Certificate of Authenticity, something like the example shown here, with your contact details, then print a batch of 50 certificates (15 x 21cm - one artwork) for $75 on our least expensive, but still fully archival paper - That's a bit less than half price and no setup fee! Now, if you want individually customised certificates, printed individually, you will need to contact me for pricing. Keep in mind, if you offer the reproduction on several media types, you will need a certificate for each type.
An alternative to this is a more generic certificate like the one below that has no image and you simply fill in the blanks. These can be purchased in lots of 20 for $10. They will have the media of your choice already in place.
Ask yourself... Do you think your clients will like this?