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  1. #1
    Tribal Council Member
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    The COA business

    Most of you probably don't care what goes on in the world of buying/selling/getting COAs. For collectors who buy and either want or depend on COAs it is a real nightmare. I am curious if any of you who do care have suggestions for a solution.

    I have said this before, but I'm glad not to be just starting out trying to figure out what is modern and what is ancient, and who to consult with for good sound advice. When I did start there were a few guys writing authentication papers, but only one that was considered THE guy. Now there is no benchmark of what is considered a legitimate authentication. There is every opinion under the sun to try and sort through, and very good fakery everywhere. And there are dozens of authenticators with the whole gamut of experiences and motives.

    Lately me and others have bashed the COA business, but if you think about it there is plenty of incentive for people to take a soft stance on it, and very little incentive for a hard line stance. Most collectors do depend on COAs at one time or another so it helps to have a good relationship with one or more of the paper guys. And if you are taking money for a paper it is MUCH easier to pass anything close so the buyer is happy, the seller is happy, and the COA guy is happy all the way to the bank. And who really cares after all?

    The problem for me is that we have no universally accepted way to qualify a true ancient relic as what it is other than general community approval. I think there have been attempts at group authentication before, but I think that is the only way, short of a scientific test that does not exist yet. If there were 2 or 3 members of a group representing say 12 or more regions of the country then that group of 30 or so people could establish a benchmark.

    Would love to hear some thoughts.

  2. #2
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    I like the old GIRS committee type certificates with seasoned collectors donating their time at a show, vs making money as a venture.

    I think a lot of the certificates that make us scratch our heads, are from transactions that the authenticator figured would never see the light of day. Or artifacts that the authenticator sold as good, knowing otherwise, and the customer was a good enough customer that they didn't want to wrinkle their relationship by being upfront about having made a mistake (or having knowingly dumped crap.)

    How many collections are perfectly clean? Especially collections from the 70's and 80's, before people understood the scope of fakery? How many of these collections does a big dealer buy to get inventory? What happens to those now obviously questionable items?

    I've bought collections from families, and I've never had the option of culling out the fakes. Often it's all or nothing, or maybe if you get lucky just the best.

  3. #3
    Tribal Council Member
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    My collection is 100% clean and I do not need any authenticators opinions. All personal finds and all dug points no creek walking or field walking finds where one could easily be planted.
    I know just enough to know that I don't know what I think I know.

    In memory of George " Never Fry Bacon Naked"

  4. #4
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    My collection is 100% authentic as we have never bought or sold an artifact. (I told a story of almost buying a collection once.) I have been quite isolated from the main stream community untill I started sharing my latest dig. BOY HAVE I LEARNED A LOT! I figured any papered point was good to go. I just hadnt thought it through.

    I guess I will just keep digging them and knowing what Im finding is good.
    Resident collective leg puller!

  5. #5
    PhD in Arrowheadology
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    I only collect from a 4 county area so I am certain my collection 100%I like Bobby and gar scale have about zero use for paper hangers
    I do get a kick out of those they think Opininators are do the collecting community a great service When they are like any other business out to make a profit some are just plain greedy.If that is the only reason you will make a purchase I can't wait to see that collection.
    Paul
    Life comes at you fast_______duck

  6. #6
    Tribal Council Member
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    However you might build a collection there will come a day when someone might wonder about the authenticity. The question was posed in another thread about heirs having to deal with it. Maybe your great granddaughter decides she would rather have cash. And all she knows is the same story that every COA guy hears. Great Grandpaw found these on the farm, yeah right.

    So it could be an issue some day. And I have seen many instances of personal finds sent to some of the active COA guys now and they declare it modern.

  7. #7
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    If you had a machine you could put a point in, press the "on" button and either get a "real or fake" answer and it was 100% accurate then we wouldn't be where we are at with this whole issue.

    Since we don't have one of those, then we have to rely on someone's opinion. And that someone we hope will be honest, have some integrity and not be swayed by "financial" reasons. Which is ironic in itself because of the fakers out there who are not honest and swayed by financial reasons - are the very reason we need authenticators. (So with dishonest authenticators, then what's the point?)

    Then we have other's opinions of authenticators, people argue over which one is honest, good, which guy knows his stuff and which one was good but is now too old and no matter what they all "can't hold a candle to Perino anyway" but with him gone, we still need authenticators. And now we have people's opinions of other people's opinions on what their particular opinion is on a piece, and any one of those "opinions" could either be inaccurate, or an outright lie if there is one in there that is swayed for one reason or another.

    I'm sure there are some honest authenticators out there, I'm not throwing them all into the "dishonest pile." Many people get points papered by lots of authenticators (some call this overkill) but these are just more paid-for-opinions that stack up as to add more 'legitimacy' to a point which may or may not be legit, so then the artifact itself doesn't really matter then, just the opinions of the guys who said it was.

    This sounds insane - and probably is. But it's "comfort" I s'pose, or "justification" for selling something or buying it. I don't mean to offend anyone here, this is not my intent. I do not have a single point papered as it is not my thing.

    To answer Palm's qestion, I would think a process to authenticate pieces should be in place, for high-end pieces anyway. Let them run through 3 or 4 guys who really know their artifacts, guys who are voted in to some "comittee" that lets all of the people see them, if one kills it, it doesn't get papered. It would be more of a hassle, but if it's a high-end piece then it would be worth it, IMO.
    Last edited by Scotto; 07-28-2012 at 02:22 PM.

  8. #8
    Tribal Council Member
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    I keep records on all of my finds down to the place and date of the find. My wife, kids and grandkids all know they were all found by me or my wife and also I have quite a few knowledgeable arrowhead hunting buddies that would help my wife or kids out if something were to happen.
    Not worried and still see no need for someone charging me for an opinion I value less than my own. I know plenty of people that will give me an honest opinion for free and a hand shake.
    I know just enough to know that I don't know what I think I know.

    In memory of George " Never Fry Bacon Naked"

  9. #9
    Graduate Arrowheadologist
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    I used to think along the same lines as Bobby - all personal finds and no-brainers... Until I realized that I, personally, would not be able to put together a 'nice' collection without 'some' judicious buying here and there... Our area is becoming not only more and more played out(removed gravels, less erosion,etc), but has become literally overrun with hunters. In addition, it's costing more and more every year to engage in the hobby and the 'cost/artifact' is getting rather steep... So I began to purchase a point here and one there, but continue to hunt occasionally when the time is best... In so doing, I also realized that the opinion of someone more knowledgeable than myself would be quite an asset if the value of the point warranted using an authentication service... I also realized from the outset that I was just paying for their written OPINION as to the authenticity of the piece - NOT their guaranty... At least with their 'professional' opinion, there is a much higher probability that the artifact is indeed authentic...

    Over the course of time, I've met many other collectors, some very high-end, that have arrived at the same conclusion... They also ask for a seller's guaranty that the piece WILL paper or their money back... and I've watched it happen many times that the 2,000 - 5,000 dollar point is either validated as authentic or shot down for one reason or another, and the sale concluded accordingly... I've also seen the authenticator refuse to paper the point, but also refuse to 'kill it', because they just weren't sure, and said so in writing for all to see... the most common of these was that a point, itself, was authentic, but someone had chosen to 'mess with it' in some way(modern resharpen)...

    Anyway, I guess the point is (pardon the pun), that I, and many others, feel much more comfortable buying a point if it has been authenticated by someone whose opinion is almost universally respected (Perino, Rogers, Taylor, and others)... And, such authentication will result in a higher value for the point and a much higher degree of confidence when/if it changes hands...

    It would be VERY nice if there were some 'foolproof' test (or series of tests) that would be absolutely conclusive for authenticity... But until there is, Dwain Rogers will continue to be my 'go-to guy' of choice, both east and west of the Mississippi, except for hardstone stuff, for which he recommends someone else...

    What might be a more effective short-term solution would be to compile a list of authenticators, by 'region' (Like Overstreet regions) - then vote on the most respected authenticator for each 'region'... At the very least, it might be less controversial than what I've heard in here lately... FWIW
    Last edited by bar2kl; 07-28-2012 at 02:34 PM.

  10. #10
    Elite Arrowheadologist
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    COA Committee

    I had 2 top authenticators agree to sit on a board at shows-and could not get the 3rd because of family concerns-Had backing to pay expenses. It would have lowered all the controversy . If the 3 had signed certifying a piece . Best laid plans of mice and men - I realize it would still be peoples opinions and not fool proof but it s the same priniple as doctors lawyers and CPA S -Though some would question motives and Qualification it was a viable solution John L

 

 

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