GalleryMeta is an online registry for an especially secure form of Certificates of Authenticity (COA). Artwork that is easily authenticated is far more collectible than work that is not.

The goal is to provide a work of art with clear and powerful authentication that allows the owner to more easily sell the work. Buyers benefit because now they can be more confident of the authenticity of the piece.

When you buy artwork listed at, whether from the artist, a gallery or from a collector, you can verify the authenticity of the work without having to verify a chronology of ownership – the provenance of the piece.

In days of yore, it was very difficult to authenticate art and posters that were inexpensive. Authentication required highly trained professionals, specialized knowledge and tools, as well as a clear provenance. For inexpensive art you simply couldn’t afford to authenticate a piece. Manufactured goods such as lunch boxes, Coke paraphernalia and antique toys were far easier to authenticate than art. 

GalleryMeta fixes that deficiency.

The artwork’s listing at GalleryMeta provides a pretty secure and transparent system to make forgeries detectable, and to signal buyers and collectors that that they are buying the real thing.

Here is an outline of the security steps:

  • Each unique work of art or individual print in an edition has its own unique certificate of authenticity (COA) that either accompanies the piece or is sent to each initial purchaser through the mail.

  • The COA document is torn in half. One half goes with the piece, and one half remains with GalleryMeta or the artist. The artist initials both halves. In cryptography geek speak this is called “disconnected token 2-factor authentication” and has been used for thousands of years. It’s very difficult to fake a matching torn piece of paper. If needed, the torn halves could be physically examined for their match.

  • The artist’s half of the COA is scanned and published on this site along with information about the piece at a unique online address.

  • A potential new owner can view the COA on the piece. Look it up on GalleryMeta and visually verify this authentication. 

  • My goal is to give people the ability to collect and trade these prints with confidence.

This authentication and documentation is a service to collectors who can now be certain of what they are buying. These steps could make GalleryMeta listed pieces more valuable by being easily verified and therefore more easily traded — with the goal of improving value.

Paul Smedberg