Certificate of authenticity for each artwork

Aaron Knight provides a certificate of authenticity for each limited edition archival photograph you purchase. Each certificate has a registry serial number with a holographic background; a matching serial number is affixed to the back edge of the photograph. The artist maintains the registry of purchased artworks and corresponding certificate serial numbers. The certificate is printed on heavy paper, 11×8.5 inches/28x22cm, with a decorative border.

A certificate of authenticity is a legal document required by several US states and various countries when selling original limited edition artworks. The certificates are issued by artists, galleries, or art experts who have knowledge of the origin of an artwork. The documents vary based on the creator and circumstances. Because large art markets like New York and California require a COA, they are common practice throughout the art market. This article describes the certificate of authenticity Aaron Knight issues for his artwork. An example is shown below.

Why a certificate of authenticity?

To sell limited edition art in South Carolina (where Aaron Knight is based), New York, California, and many other US States where the artist has collectors, this is a legal requirement. It is routine for artists, galleries, and art dealers worldwide to use certificates of authenticity for photographs and other limited edition art. This document provides collectors with peace of mind through information about the artwork. If you ever sell or transfer the artwork (for example, to an heir) the certificate of authenticity will be important.

What is on the certificate of authenticity?

  • The name of the artist (Aaron Knight).
  • The title of the artwork you purchased.
  • The size of the image.
  • The approximate size of the paper.
  • The year the artist created the art and the year you bought it.
  • The media (archival photograph, pigmented ink printed on 100% cotton matte art paper, 300 g/m2).
  • The total quantity of photographs in the edition, including unnumbered proofs, if any.
  • The specific photograph number of the photograph you own (this corresponds to the photograph number written on the lower left front border.)
  • The artist’s catalog ID for the corresponding edition.
  • The registry serial number for your artwork.
  • A visual reference of the artwork.
  • A signature, either by the artist of an authorized person, attesting to the following:

The fine art photograph you own belongs to a strictly limited edition, hand signed and numbered by the artist, Aaron Knight. The master digital file is in the artist’s custody. No additional multiples of the same image, including proofs, have been or will be produced in this or in any other edition.

Some of the above is to comply with legal requirements while others are provided for your convenience. Aaron Knight has made minor updates and additions to the format and appearance of the certificates. Although the basic format has stayed the same, some earlier certificates did not include all of this information.

What to do with the certificate

Keep your certificate of authenticity in a safe place, along with the purchase receipt. Your documents may help if you need to file a future insurance claim. Some collectors place the documents in an envelope and attach them to the back of the framed artwork, but you should consider the risk to your documents if the artwork were to be stolen or lost. If you ever transfer ownership the artwork (through sale, gift, or inheritance,) the certificate of authenticity should be handed over to the new owner, along with a copy of your purchase receipt. This helps to establish provenance (a history of the artwork to its origin.) The new owner should also receive a receipt, bill of sale, or other documentation of the method they acquired the artwork.

What is not on the certificate?

The certificate does not contain any pricing or shipping information. These details are found on your purchase receipt.