Documentation is good for so many reason; such as, birth identification, marriage certificates, and more. Fine Arts is NOT any different. True it is not the same necessity; however, documentation can help prove authenticity and it can be used as a map of your family’s history. Let us explain a little further on why documentation is so very important:


  • Language: Helps place where the Fine Art was either created or where ‘piece’ was sold.
  • Style of the Script: helps prove the era in which it was written.
  • The way we write has changed slightly over the years; from our letters to our grammar.


  • The dates on the document will help prove the date of creation or purchase.


  • Artist: Sometimes the artist creates artwork to match what happens in that period of time.
    For example: An oil painting of a Still Life may portray an item/s which has just become popular in that time: clothes, accessories, etc.
  • Story: Perhaps the owner meets or knows the artist. This creates a personal story and helps prove authenticity, this is not here say anymore; you have now substantiated the data.


  • Color: the color of the paper is always looked at, especially if the ‘piece’ being viewed was supposedly created and purchased in the early 1900s. The receipt or any other documentation should be turning a yellows color.
  • Other: Handwriting, pins, tears, holes ~ all these things help prove that there was no fraudulent activity. Why? Because those who are trying to con, will want their documentation to look as perfect as possible. This was it leaves “No doubt” about the authentication.


This part of any documentation gives the appraiser somewhere to start the research.

  • Increase: The amount of the dollar changes every year. Our one-dollar bill today is equal to $2.87 in the year 1980. This is one reason why an appraisal is needed, even if you had an appraisal 10 years ago you must update. (*Insurance carriers usually require an updated appraisal every 5 years.)

There is a great deal of Documentation!

If you purchased your artwork, then write down when, where, how much, what was going on at the time ~ meaning why you decided to buy this specific piece. Did you meet the artist? What was that like? Make a log of this and any receipt you may have and keep it somewhere safe, preferably, with your Portfolio/Appraisal you received from your appraiser.

But, if you received this piece as a gift, whether it came with documentation or not, then go speak to the original buyer/original receiver, whoever you can get your hands on. Ask them to tell you all that they know or remember. Think about this: Your Grandfather may have fought in one of the great wars and purchased or was given artwork at this time and in a foreign land. This is a great bonding time and a wonderful time to learn about the history of your family.

Call us at (619) 929-6192 to schedule your appointment!

Coronado Appraisals, LLC – Fine Arts Appraisal – Fine Arts Restoration
826 Orange Ave. Ste.# 147, Coronado, CA 92118-2619
Phone: (619) 929-6192 (No Text), Cell: (720) 530-6752