Ashley was passionate about Conceptual art, but her pyromaniacal son had a different burning enthusiasm. After the firemen left, our client discovered that the extensive documentation on her collection had gone up in flames.
We told Ashley that certificates of authenticity are so important for Conceptual art that one of the first questions a buyer of such a piece should ask is whether the seller has a certificate—although in our experience this question often comes as an afterthought. Once a collector has a certificate, it should be stored in as safe a place as a physical artwork would be stored, and not in a loose-leaf binder with one’s business papers, as many people mistakenly do. Collectors should ensure that their heirs also clearly understand the importance of these documents.