Is your megalodon certificate of authenticity any good?
As the popularity of megalodon teeth collecting increases problems of legitimacy arise. Some sellers and resellers of megalodon teeth offer certificates of authenticity.
"What makes a megalodon certificate of authenticity legitimate?"
"What kinds of megalodon certificates of authenticity are valid and hold weight?"
"Will a certificate of authenticity for this megalodon tooth be valid and impactful 10 or 100 years from now?"
Certificates of Authenticity are becoming more popular with fossil shark teeth collectors as a way of safeguarding against repaired and restored teeth and to help their tooth hold value. The problem is that not all certificates of authenticity for megalodon teeth are created equal.
Collectors rely on a certificate of authenticity to validate the value and provide provenance for a megalodon or other fossil tooth.
Most certificates of authenticity are often created when an item is made; for instance if an artist creates a painting they often will create a certificate of authenticity to accompany the piece. A COA can help establish value long term and help prove it was an original piece created by that artist, and not a copy for years or generations to come.
For antiques, artifacts, artwork, sports memorabilia, and other items from the past that a certificate of authenticity was not originally created; one can be made after the fact. An expert in the respective field can validate signatures, test mediums, research known examples and historical data, and then validate and authenticate an item. A certificate of authenticity can then be made. The problem with these kinds of certificates of authenticity is that they rely on the skill, ability, and sometimes opinion of the person authenticating them. Because of these problems the best certificates of authenticity are created by the original owner, artist, maker, athlete, etc. However; that is not always possible so often an expert is called in to authenticate an item the best they can.
For megalodon teeth, certificates of authenticity are created millions of years after the fact. Therefore the certificates of authenticity for megalodon teeth and other fossil shark teeth are created by a variety of people.
- Scientists can create a certificate of authenticity for a megalodon tooth; this however is fairly uncommon as carbon dating is expensive and not necessary to verify a fossil tooth is a megalodon in most cases.
- Resellers will often create their own certificates of authenticity, these COAs can have little to no value or relevance as these certificates are often created in large batches and only attest that the item is a megalodon tooth. Resellers can also mistake a repaired or created megalodon for a genuine one, making their certificate of authenticity less than worthless as it is not accurate.
- Original Collectors / Divers are often the best option to create a certificate of authenticity to accompany a megalodon or other fossil. This is because these are the first people to see or touch the fossil millions of years after it was made, they are the only ones who truly know where it was recovered and that it is genuine and unaltered.
What makes a good certificate of authenticity for a megalodon tooth?
Trustworthy Source. The source and creator of the certificate of authenticity should be a trusted source as much of the value of the certificate of authenticity will rely on the trustworthiness and reputation of the party that issued it. A trustworthy source will have a long standing reputation in the industry and an unrelenting commitment to transparency and authenticity in the fossils they recover and sell.
Pertinent Information. The COA should list who found the tooth, this is helpful because the person who recovered the tooth is the only one who knows without a doubt that it is authentic, unrepaired, and unrestored when it leaves their possession. A general location of where the tooth was found can also be helpful as teeth found in different regions of the world have different characteristics.
Identifying Information. While an item number for a tooth can be helpful on a certificate of authenticity, it relies on the data set of the person who assigned that number and may or may not retain those records foreseeable future. In addition to an item number a description of the fossil is helpful, while a high quality image of the tooth is the best option. This allows for the certificate of authenticity and megalodon tooth to stand on their own, years or decades after. This is important for long term value if the business or person who sold the tooth does not maintain their item number records or simply disappears a few decades later.
Fraud Prevention Measures. If the elements above have been satisfied you likely have a certificate of authenticity for your megalodon tooth that is relevant, has some value, and provides provenance and value to the tooth along with ensuring it did not have repair or restoration when it was sold. With a good certificate of authenticity it is important that the document cannot be easily reproduced, forged, or copied. There are many ways to accomplish this, may good megalodon certificates of authenticity will have multiple fraud prevention measures in place that include specialized paper, unique stamps and seals, along with specific images or watermarks that would be very difficult to forge.
What makes a bad certificate of authenticity for a megalodon tooth or other fossil?
Unknown or unverifiable source. A certificate of authenticity from a source that no one has heard of or one that no one can look up or verify has significantly less value than one from a well known megalodon collector/diver with a good reputation in the industry.
Generic megalodon certificate of authenticity. If the certificate of authenticity for your fossil or megalodon tooth has no specific identifying information it will likely have little to no value or relevance. Imagine if you had 100 megalodon teeth and 100 certificates of authenticity. If you were to mix all of the teeth and all of the COAs up would you be able to match each COA to each tooth? Without the ability to match the tooth to the COA specifically someone could take a COA and match it with another tooth that was fake and misrepresent the value of that tooth. There are tens of thousands of fossil megalodon teeth in collections and inventories around the world, if there is no way to match your fossil with the COA the two do not add value to each other and one is a fossil and the other is just a piece of paper.
Easily replicated or mass produced. If with a home printer you could easily duplicate, modify, or produce mass produce your certificate of authenticity it will have little or no value. A good certificate of authenticity for a megalodon tooth needs to not only come from a reputable source, but have attributes that make it difficult to reproduce or forge. Many certificates of authenticity are mass produced and simply included in a box with a tooth that is purchased; these certificates unfortunately have little or no value as they could be produced with anyone with a printer.
Free. If a certificate of authenticity was free with your purchase, especially if it accompanied a low or medium value tooth, it is likely not a certificate that holds much value and was mass produced. If the certificate of authenticity has no stamp, seal, or image of the tooth then it was likely included for free because it took very little time and effort to make. If it took very little time or effort to make, it would take very little time or effort to reproduce and it likely adds little or no value to the megalodon tooth that accompanies the certificate of authenticity.
When purchasing a megalodon tooth or other fossil with a certificate of authenticity you should ask yourself if someone found the certificate and the tooth in a box 100 years from now would it be obvious the two go together and would the certificate add value? If the answer is yes, than the certificate should be seen as having some value; if not it is likely not worth any more than the other packing materials in the box.
If you would like a certificate of authenticity with your megalodon or other fossil you can request and purchase one here. These certificates of authenticity are only available for teeth purchased from Dark Water Megs and certificates cannot be issues after a tooth has shipped. The Dark Water Megs Certificates of Authenticity have seven unique elements that would individually be difficult to reproduce, and combined would be almost impossible to forge. There is no such thing as a perfect certificate of authenticity, but I did my best to ensure that the certificate will be easily associated with your tooth and provide provenance for many years to come.
If you would like to buy a megalodon tooth with a certificate of authenticity or other fossilized shark tooth you can do so here at my online store.
Please note that Certificates of Authenticity must be purchased for your tooth, teeth do not automatically come with a COA as they are not generic and mass produced.