What Is A Bill of Sale and How Does It Add Value To Your Art?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Artist’s contact information. At minimum, this should include your name, email address, and your website address or your artsoko.com store address.
  3. Buyer’s contact information. This should include name, physical address, and email address.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

About the author: Darkside06
Evolutionary strategist and citizen of the world.
Darkside06 avatar

Author: ArtSoko.com

Evolutionary strategist and citizen of the world.

2 thoughts on “What Is A Bill of Sale and How Does It Add Value To Your Art?”

    1. Hello Cindi and thanks for your question. It will make for an excellent blog topic. The moment that your art is created you have an instantaneous copyright. There are a number of ways to protect yourself from theft or piracy.

      1) Sign your art work. Be sure to wait until you are done with it before you sign it. You can sign the back of it but if you are going to display it online you almost certainly should sign the front.
      2) You can register your creation with the Library of Congress. Go to the copyright office of the Library of Congress website. You’ll have to pay a fee but you can register your piece there.
      3) There is the very popular watermark approach. Display your work with a watermark over it.
      4) Display your work as a slideshow since “cut and paste” will not be possible with this approach.

      My personal opinion is that you should sign all of your work, even if it is very subtle. Also list it on your website or artsoko.com with the publication date.

      Here is the link for the templates that I forgot to put in the article https://artsoko.com/product-category/tools-for-creators/

      Hope this helps.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *