Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Collectors Corner, Inc Certificate of Authenticity and other Ruses

In the early 1980's I bought into one of those "home party" schemes called Collectors Corner, Inc. similar to that of Home Interiors but with original artwork, signed and limited prints, and paintings with Certificates of Authenticity labels on the back.  It was always my dream (and I based my college education) to be an Art Gallery owner and this company offered the concept of being an Art Dealer from my very own home!

I recently found a painting with such a label at the Goodwill in Ruston, LA and, being a charitable individual, paid the $9.99 asking price, not only for nostaligic reasons, but because I actually liked the "painting".

Signed by what appears to read J. Rodriguz, this framed 8x10 painting of musicians (appears to be children playing recorders) was sold by this company that is apparently no longer in business.  On the back of the canvas is a very faded Certificate of Authenticity numbered B19921G.

I searched the internet but found nothing that pertained to my particular piece but what I did find was several art collectors looking for information on the value of their work from the same company with COAa (Certificates of Authenticity) and were getting few if any answers.

First, let me explain how this company worked.  Very similar to that of Home Interiors, Longaberger, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, and other home party businesses, I was required to purchase a "kit" that at the time was around $150.00 which was a LOT of money for me in the early 80's.  It came with a catalog, a few unframed prints, a box full of frame corners and mat samples.  My job was to host parties just like the other home party businesses, encourage others to host parties for incentives, and offer to go to individuals homes to help them order art from our catalog that enhanced the style of their home.

As it turned out, at the time, I could not afford their framed paintings that easily cost between $100 to $1500 due to their "authenticity" let alone their framed prints generally costing $100-$350 which made it very difficult for me purchase any to display at my "shows" or to sell something even I could not afford to buy!

Needless to say, I failed miserably and disparingly chalked it up to an expensive life lesson.

Now, nearly 30 years later, I find this adorable painting that, in its day, probably ran around $100 and came with a spiel that it was an excellent art investment and would no doubt increase in value. 

During my search for the company Collectors Corner, Inc and the COAs I found many others seeking answers for their value, and to this I say....do YOU like?  Then that is its value.

I also found a post at http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110727193341AA9frXA regarding "production art" that seemed applicable to the answers these art collectors were seeking but I am not saying it is actually true in this case but it is a common method for mass producing art for consumers at affordable prices and typically sold as original paintings in "starving artists" sales and chain furniture stores.

As I tell many people, buy art because you love it and it speaks to you.  Art is like the stock market and real estate, it can go either way.  Hopefully, one day that original painting you bought from an artist because it looked so great over your devan WILL be worth several times what you paid for it...or maybe not.

But love it all the same.

I do want to add this thought that I was considering writing an entire blog about it but I feel it can be summed up in a few words.

I recently participated in artist tour and was pleased to see the work by local artisans.  I am told some of the artists did well, however, my particular sales were low.  This fell on the heels of attending a "ladies night" at Paul Michael's in Monroe, LA where women were loading their baskets with massed produced home decor items made in China. 

If you have the descretionary income to spend on home decor, why not make valuable use of it and support local artisans?  Why succomb to the marketing manipulation of the "keeping up with the Jone's" mentality retailers so pray on to sell massively reproduced overpriced trinkets that will become next year's "garage sale fodder" (thank you "Toy Story" for making that such a notable phrase) instead of investing in your community arts as well as your state and country's economy?

There I've said it!

I have a huge collection of original art work by many artists that may never amount to anything except that I love it and enjoy displaying it my home, and as the rest of my decor is smathering of all that garage sale fodder you bought for 10 times what you sold it for!  LOL!



  1. This is just wonderful and wobbly, i really love the art work!@bose
    Certificate Of Authenticity Template

  2. So, did I get a certified piece of junk? Is there any way to find the value?


  3. Hello: An art patron bought in two of these with the gold circle of authenticity the other day. By Folio. Southwest paintings. She wants to know the value of them?

    1. The value cannot be established because the artist signatures are either fictitious or forgery's. Also, the Certificate of Authenticity are fake and can be produced on a printer, at will.
      You can, however, decide the value by how much you admire or "like" the painting and go from there. You may be a party to fraud if you represent it to others as "original artwork" to any prospective buyers. If you simply say " I cannot validate the origin of this work" you will be good to go.

  4. I am moving and found many paintings that I too bought in the 1980's. Thank you for your information!! I will toss the certificate of authenticity and keep the ones I like, donate the ones I won't move.

  5. Thanks for this! You've probably saved me hours of online time to find out the value of my inherited piece of "real art!" Off to St. Vinnie's now...

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