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Certificate of Authenticity for Artwork… Is There One I Can Get for Myself?

Little details can boost buyer confidence. A certificate of authenticity is an inexpensive, meaningful perk that packs a lot of visual punch. I decided to make one for my prints and originals, because I thought it would look nice with my swatch cards I started making.

But as I composed this article today, I came very close to not posting this topic at all today. There’s a thing called ‘imposter syndrome’ and sometimes I feel it acutely.

This sentence in an article on the phenomenon sums it up perfectly:

“Wait till they find out I have no idea what I’m doing,”  …

10 Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome, by Elizabeth Harrin


I NEVER know what I’m doing when I start a new painting. I’m ALWAYS relieved once it starts to look like something I can work with to get somewhere I want to be. However, now I have done enough of them that I at least have a sense of confidence that it will eventually reach a point that I can work with it. And so I have the panic stage much less often. Or when I do feel that sense of dread, it lasts a much shorter amount of time. Part of the problem is that I just want it to end up perfect. And that’s very rarely possible.

Just for famous artists?

So anyway, I decided to go ahead with the COA’s, even if I sometimes feel it’s me as the artist who needs the certification. I also feel a little silly for creating certificates of authenticity, because I’m pretty much an unknown at this point. It’s probably something a lot more important to famous artists. So, let’s just say I’m practicing 🙂 I’m laying the groundwork for a future of success. If my work never becomes a recognizable object of desire in the art collector world, it won’t be for lack of trying on my part!

Marketing and Packaging

I enjoy the packaging part of marketing things. How something is presented to a buyer is important to me. Maybe it’s not so important with everything. But if I put myself into a potential buyer’s shoes, if I’m paying more than a few dollars for something, I usually think pretty hard before parting with the money.

Because of the time and labor involved in making the paints before I ever get started on making a painting, my work may be priced a little higher than other originals or prints you’ll see from comparably unknown artists like myself. I hope a certificate of authenticity will help alleviate some of the buyer reluctance toward spending the hard-earned cash on my earthy works of art.

Example: certificate of authenticity

So I decided to make some for my prints. It’s even more important for originals, but I didn’t know about doing this before, when I sold my earlier original works.

If you’re reading this and you have one of my originals or prints, and want a certificate of authenticity to add to your files, let me know. I’ll get one out to you right away. Here’s the article about COA’s that gave me the idea to start including my own. At first I used one similar to the example given in that article. Now I’ve refined my COA and made one that better fits my needs. Here it is:

The certificate of authenticity used by Madison Woods, who makes paintings from pigments she gathers from their land at Wild Ozark.

None of the prints currently stocked in the venues that sell my work have one, either. Going forward, all of them will have one included in the packaging.

My contact information is below if you’d like to get in touch to request your certificate of authenticity.

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23 August 2019 7:47 pm

I think that’s a great idea, Madison, and it looks lovely! You’re doing beautiful work.


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