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How to create a Certificate of Authenticity for your art

Art Is My Career | 11th June 2023


Being an artist and selling your artwork comes with certain obligations to protect you and your work. A certificate of authenticity (COA) is one of those and it is important to provide one with every artwork you create. Providing a certificate of authenticity with the sale of every artwork shows professionalism and indicates that your work has value.

Not sure how to create a COA? Not to worry, the following article includes everything you need to know. You can also get access to the Ultimate Certificate of Authenticity Template Pack, including 40 downloadable templates for you to customize.

Let’s begin!



What is a Certificate of Authenticity?



A Certificate of authenticity is an official document that proves that the artwork sold is genuine and authentic. It includes technical details of the artwork and is signed by the artist. It is important to provide your customers and collectors with a COA to prove that the work has been produced by you specifically and is of high quality. It is a physical document that should accompany any and all artwork produced, sold or not, and also any artwork given to a gallery or art show in case the artwork is sold by them.

A certificate of authenticity is predominantly used for original artwork such as paintings, drawing sculptures, etc. but you can also use them for limited edition or open edition prints. If you are providing a certificate of authenticity with your prints this will also show your customers that your fine art prints are professional and are high quality.


Why do you need a Certificate of Authenticity?



In some jurisdictions a certificate of authenticity is legally required, such as in Italy according to ‘Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape‘, Legislative Decree no. 42 of 22 January 2004, article 64, states the following:

“Whosoever conducts activities of sale to the public, … for the purpose of selling works of painting, sculpture, graphic art or of antique objects … must provide the buyer with documentation certifying authenticity.”

As well as proving that the artwork was created by you, a certificate of authenticity can also act as a sales receipt and ensure an easy transaction between you and the buyer. As an artist, your artwork may become more valuable over time so the certificate of authenticity can help to prevent fraud and track the provenance of your work.

If you want to build a successful career as an artist then you must create an archive of your work. Stay organized and create a certificate of authenticity for every artwork you produce, therefore when it comes to selling your artwork you have your COA to hand. Document every sale of work, including delivery confirmation where applicable.


What is included on a certificate of authenticity?



When you provide a certificate of authenticity with your artwork you need to include the following information. This will all help in the identification of the artwork and track the provenance:

1. Statement of Authenticity

This is a short statement declaring the authenticity of your work, as well as a statement that your work is copyrighted by you, and you alone. It is also worth mentioning contact details in case the artwork’s value or validity needs to be confirmed at a later date.

2. Title of the Work

This is the title of the artwork.

3. Artist Name

This is your name as the artist.

4. Dimensions

These are the dimensions of the artwork. Remember to specify the units of measurement.

5. Date Produced

This is the date or year, you completed the artwork.

6. Medium & Materials

The materials and mediums you used to produced the stated artwork. If this certificate is for a print then state the paper and ink used to create the print.

7. Artwork Image

Your certificate of authenticity can also include a high-resolution image of your work but this is not necessary. Including it will make it easier for you and your buyer for archival and identification reasons.

8. Artist’s Signature

This is where you, the artist, would sign using your artist’s signature. This is the same signature used on the artwork itself.

9. Date Signed

State the date you officially signed this document.

If applicable

10. Edition number

State the edition number of your artwork or limited edition print.

11. Special instructions

Include any special instructions regarding the condition of your work, installation instructions, etc.


How to create your own certificate of authenticity.



This is the fun part! When it comes to creating your certificate of authenticity you should think bout your art brand. Your certificate of authenticity should be an extension of that brand and match your aesthetic and style. It also needs to look professional so it is worth investing in nice printing paper or having them professionally printed. Websites like printed.com, moo.com, and vistaprint.com can do just that.

Certificates of authenticity should be created by the artist themselves or the artist representative, like an agent or publisher. If not created by the artist then the relationship to the artist should be stated on the COA with up-to-date contact information.

Make them stand out with embossed logos, golden wafers, or foiled designs. This is your chance to create something individual and professional.

Size doesn’t matter. As long as the information on the certificate is easy to see and legible then there is no standard size that a certificate should be. This also means that you should use easy-to-read fonts if you are creating the certificate yourself.


You can use the following materials to create your own certificate of authenticity:

Don’t be afraid to change your design over time as your artistic brand and style develops. Here is how pet portrait artist Sema Martin’s certificates have changed over the course of her career:



Certificate of authenticity examples and downloads.


Get inspired by the following certificates of authenticity created by artists in the Art Is My Career community. Click on the image to be taken to their website.

The Ultimate Certificate of Authenticity Template Pack for Artists

100% Editable Certificates for Original Artwork and Fine Art Prints

Purchase to get access to the template pack which includes 20 unique designs, 40 templates and edit in Canva or Adobe Photoshop.

We hope this article has answered your questions about certificates of authenticity and has given you the inspiration and the guidance to create your own.

Let us know what you think in the comment box below.

Good Luck!

  • zoritoler imol 4 September 2022 3:52 PM

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  • Gary Waldrom 15 June 2022 9:10 AM

    Thank you for this, I’ve been searching for a really good guide to this issue for a while now, this article has given me the information and ideas I needed.

  • Marilyn 14 June 2022 1:56 AM

    This is great. I have seen this type of certificate from other countries but not here in Australia.

  • Lara Kaye 13 June 2022 8:59 AM

    Thank you for this article. It has helped a lot, especially the downloads.

  • hot and cold steel water bottle 4 June 2022 7:37 AM

    I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

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