Chapter 2 – How to Authenticate Your Item
If you have something that may be of great potential value, you’ll need to be sure to properly authenticate your item prior to attempting to sell it. This step is crucial to ensuring a smooth sale and maximizing the sale value of your item(s).
First, does the item have any provenance? Provenance is the history of ownership, which may include prior sale / auction receipts, photographs, or written documentation. Items with historically significant provenance or that have been owned by famous individuals can have their value increase greatly as a result.
If your item doesn’t have well documented provenance, then perhaps it’s possible to authenticate the item on your own using well-documented references (much like you did in your 8th grade term paper). Identical / similar items shown online and in print publications can be used to authenticate your items. I once did this with a rare piece of presidential china that I received from a client. After purchasing the reference book, I learned that the provenance the client had provided was incorrect and that the plate that she had provided me was actually older. It ended-up selling for $3189, which thrilled the client, the collector, and myself!
If don’t have provenance or access to a good reference source, then professional authentication and/or appraisal may be necessary. This can be done for items such as jewelry, art, autographs, sports memorabilia, comics, coins, and even toys. Use your favorite online search engine to research different forms of authentication / appraisal for your item(s). If you’re still unsure as how you should proceed, look at which third-party companies major auction houses / dealers associate with as well as how they make available the authentication certificate prior to the sale.