The two most important pieces of documentation that artists and art owners should have is a Bill of Sale (BOS) and a Certificate of Authenticity (COA). In a previous post I addressed the importance of providing a COA (click here for previous post and COA template).
What Is A Bill of Sale
The Bill of Sale (BOS), just like the COA, adds value to a piece by maintaining a paper trail of the work of art. It is a great trust builder when an artist gives both a COA and a BOS for art that they sell, regardless if it is an original or a numbered print. A BOS contains the following elements:
- Date of sale and invoice number. Invoice numbers can be used as a unique reference ID and will prove very helpful should you need to quickly find the documentation later.
- Artist’s contact information. At minimum, this should include your name, email address, and your website address or your artsoko.com store address.
- Buyer’s contact information. This should include name, physical address, and email address.
- Artwork sold. This section includes the name of the art piece, the dimensions, weight (optional), media (as in what materials were used to make the piece), and the name of the creator of the art piece.
- Amount paid and for what. This section includes a line for each of the following: a) the singular art piece, b) other expenses such as shipping or framing, c) taxes, d) the total amount paid.
- Copyright statement. A statement clearly stating that the artist retains copyright and reproduction rights. This line is optional.
It is important to remember that each art piece should have its own BOS and COA.
How A BOS Raises The Value of Art
Let me paint a scenario here. Person X goes online and falls in love with Painting A. Person X buys the painting. Unfortunately Person X transcends to the next realm of existence and the painting is passed down to Person YX. Years later, Person YX, decides that he/she wants to sell the painting, or have the market value of the painting determined. Over time the artist that created Painting A has persisted to create and is at the height of their popularity. Consequently, Painting A’s value has increased significantly. The value of the painting has increased in value because of the popularity of Painting A’s creator. Painting A’s value has the potential for exponential growth. This is due to the fact that Painting A is an original painting with an original Bill of Sale and Certificate of Authenticity. The presentation of the BOS and COA is undeniable proof that Painting A is authentic, and was acquired by Person X.
Although most of us buy because of our love for art, the financial and legal aspects are very important and must not be overlooked.
Regardless of what stage that you are in your journey as an artist, it is important to follow through with these business practices. Always try to provide a Bill of Sale. This indirectly lets buyers and others know that the work is taken seriously be the seller. This also adds value to the work over time.