Certificates of Authenticity for Fine Art Photography

Certificates of Authenticity for Fine Art Photography. Examples from Scott Smorra Photography.

Have you ever wondered how Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) are used in the world of fine art photography? In this article, you will learn about COAs and provenance and how they are used to validate the authenticity of limited edition fine art prints.

What is a Certificate of Authenticity?

A Certificate of Authenticity is an official document which proves artwork is legitimate and authentic. It is an important piece of documentation which ensures the artwork was created and authorized by the artist and is not a counterfeit.

Why are Certificates of Authenticity Important for Fine Art Photography?

COAs give potential collectors confidence that they are purchasing a high quality and valuable piece of limited edition artwork.

What is Provenance?

Provenance is the history of ownership of a valued object or work of art. The word provenance is rooted in the French word, provenir, which means “to come from” and it is a way to show a record of ownership for a work of art. Provenance often includes who has previously owned a piece and where (exhibitions/galleries) the item has been displayed. These details can be very interesting and are coveted by some fine art collectors.

Why is Provenance Important for Artwork?

An ideal provenance traces the ownership history of a piece all the way back to the original artist. Provenance is very important when reselling a piece of artwork and a properly documented provenance can add significant value to a piece of art. As artwork gets older, proving provenance can become very challenging if accurate records are not available. A COA issued by the original artist can serve as an excellent starting point for the provenance of a piece of artwork.

Are Certificates of Authenticity included with Scott Smorra Photography Prints?

Yes. A certificate of authenticity accompanies every limited edition print created by Scott Smorra. The COAs are printed on a special paper which contains watermarks and UV security fibers. Serialized holograms are added to the COAs and to the back of the prints to show the artwork is genuine. The COAs are shipped separately from the print and usually arrive around the same time.

Certificates of Authenticity and Provenance for Fine Art Photography. Examples from Scott Smorra Photography.
A Certificate of Authenticity for the print titled, "Waiting and Wondering" by Scott Smorra

What information is documented on the Certificate of Authenticity?

  • Artist Name
  • An image of the Artwork
  • Title of the Artwork
  • Medium the photo is printed on
  • Dimensions of the print
  • Location where the photo was created
  • Date of capture
  • Date the print was created
  • Edition number
  • Hologram number
  • Serialized holograms (on the COA and the print)
  • Statement of Authenticity
  • Artist’s signature and date

Where should a Certificate of Authenticity be stored?

It is important to store the certificate of authenticity in a secure location. Consider storing digital copies of the COA in a secure digital location like artworkarchive.com which offers an excellent digital solution to manage the provenance of an artwork collection. During the sale of artwork, the COA should be handed over to the buyer as part of the transaction. If a print is ever destroyed, COAs can even be used to verify the existence of a piece for insurance purposes.

Does Scott Smorra maintain a central registry for his artwork?

Yes. Scott Smorra uses a central registry to track every fine art print that he has created. This central database is also referred to as a Catalogue Raisonné, which is a complete list of all of the known works created by an artist.

Final Thoughts

Certificates of Authenticity provide an excellent way to show collectors that they are purchasing a high quality and valuable piece of limited edition artwork. Another primary function of a COA is to serve as the starting point for the provenance of a piece of artwork. By reassuring potential buyers that a piece of artwork is genuine and authentic, COAs can add significant value to a piece of limited edition artwork. Before investing in a limited edition fine art photography print, it is very important to determine if the artist offers a certificate of authenticity.

If you are searching for the perfect fine art photography print for your home or office, consider browsing through Scott Smorra Photography's fine art galleries. Scott specializes in creating limited edition fine art prints which have been used to beautify a variety of interior spaces. Certificates of Authenticity are provided with every print sold by Scott Smorra Photography! If you have any questions about limited edition fine art prints, please don't hesitate to contact Scott.

Updated: 4/17/2021

Certificate of Authenticity, Scott Smorra Photography