A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) on eBay is a verification document accompanying an item that is up for sale. A COA is essentially a document that provides proof of the item’s authenticity, assuring the buyer that the product they are purchasing is genuine.

Various items found on eBay come with a COA, such as artwork, rare coins, and autographed memorabilia. These items require additional verification due to their unique nature where authenticity requires validation. You’ll most likely notice items listed with an authenticity certificate when it has an abbreviation in the listing title and product description itself. 

What Items Are Usually Listed with a COA?

Typically, the majority of the items you would find on eBay that are listed with a COA are autographed posters, apparel, and CDs of actors, athletes, musicians, and other famous celebrities. As these posters are usually sold by collectors, you can expect to find them in mint condition. 

eBay certificate of authenticity listing
A Listing on eBay with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA)

There is also a wide range of other items you can find on eBay that come with a Certificate of Authenticity. Below, you’ll find a more comprehensive list. 

  • Banknotes: Rare physical banknotes are widely found on eBay, ranging from different countries and values. For example, you’ll be able to find old banknotes from Venezuela, Iraq, Zimbabwe, and various other countries.
  • Artwork: From a hand-signed Picasso prints to original etchings, you can find various selections of esteemed artwork on eBay. More expensive artwork is typically accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
  • Merchandise: You can find any kind of merchandise on eBay like famous celebrity tour t-shirts, caps, hoodies, and more. Sports memorabilia in particular is widely found with COAs, such as signed baseballs by Elly De La Cruz and other famous players.
  • Movie Props: Movie props are also something you can find on eBay that come with authenticity certificates. For example, you will be able to find the actual remote from the movie, Click (2006) that was used as a prop and is now on sale.
  • Collectible Cards or Figurines: Some extremely rare collectible cards and figurines are commonly found with COAs. These include Star Wars, Magic the Gathering, and other popular trading cards, figurines, and collectibles.

Why Do People Purchase Items with COA?

One of the main reasons why people would purchase items with authenticity certificates is to ensure that they are getting genuine products. But there are also other reasons for this, which we’ll be taking a closer look at in the following session.

  • Authenticity Is Assured: When someone purchases an item with a COA, they are assured of its authenticity. The person can feel confident that the item isn’t counterfeit. This is particularly reassuring for higher-valued items. Therefore, the buyer can rest assured that they are getting a high-quality and authentic item. 
  • Item Has Higher Value for Resale: It’s not uncommon to think of reselling when it comes to purchasing non-consumables. Moreover, an item that comes with a COA generally has a higher resale value than one without a certificate. You’ll notice that listings with an authenticity certificate are usually more sought after.
  • Collector’s Preference: Certain buyers on eBay are reputable collectors who mainly purchase rare items that come with a certificate of authenticity. While some buyers trust the sellers, other’s prefer that the item in question comes with an authenticity certificate.
  • Regulations & Requirements: As sellers on eBay list unique items such as rare paintings from famous artists, it’s not unusual for art gallery representatives to purchase pieces from the platform. Some of the companies and galleries that may work for have certain guidelines and requirements that require a COA.

Why Do Sellers List Items with a COA?

One of the most common reasons why sellers opt to include a certificate of authenticity with their listing is to ensure the buyer that the item in question is authentic. There are also other reasons why sellers would do so. 

  • To Differentiate from Counterfeit Items: With the rise in counterfeit items, it’s vital for sellers to include a Certificate of Authenticity for buyers to be able to tell these items apart. 
  • To Ensure Credibility: Another reason why sellers would include a COA with their items is to assure buyers that the seller is honest, credible, and genuine. Nevertheless, if buyers aren’t sure, they should always check the seller’s reviews to further confirm their credibility.
  • To Cater to Buyer’s Expectations: Certain sellers choose to include COAs with their listings in order to meet their potential buyer’s expectations. As mentioned earlier, some collectors generally prefer to purchase items with a certificate, as it increases the item’s value over time and makes reselling more likely.
  • To Make Items Stand Out: Lastly, sellers may choose to provide a COA with their items in order to make them stand out from the wide variety of listings on eBay. By stating you have a Certificate of Authenticity, buyers tend to choose to view your listing as compared to those without a COA.

How to Ensure That the Certificate of Authenticity is Genuine on eBay?

When selling collectibles on eBay, it is advisable to include a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) to showcase the genuineness of the item. However, similar to certain items being counterfeited, certificates of authenticity can also be fabricated to mislead buyers. 

This highlights the need for caution and vigilance when it comes to verifying the authenticity of the certificate provided by the seller. Fortunately, there are various ways to ensure the genuineness of a COA, and we’re here to assist you in your quest as we delve into a few important points down below.

Check the Seller’s Reviews

By scrolling through the seller’s reviews, you can gather valuable insights into their reputation on the website. Look for positive feedback and ratings that mention the COA’s authenticity of previous purchases.

While this approach may not verify the authenticity of the certificate for the item you are interested in, it can give you valuable feedback on the seller’s previous practices. If you happen to come across more than one bad review, it is highly recommended to avoid purchasing from that particular seller.

Examine the COA Through Photos Provided

Another way to confirm the authenticity of the COA is to examine it through the photos provided. Scan the document for potential red flags such as uneven designs and spelling mistakes. These could indicate that the COA might be counterfeit. 

However, if you need more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to the seller and request additional close-up photos. Here are some additional areas that you should consider closely checking:

  • Source
  • Information
  • Consistency
  • Signatures
  • Stamps
  • Serial numbers
  • Unique identifiers
  • Security features
  • Quality
  • Issuer

Research or Contact the Issuer

Another option is to conduct research or contact the issuer of the certificate directly. Researching the issuer’s website can be a useful way to compare their COAs to the ones provided by the seller. This can help you identify any inconsistencies or discrepancies that may raise red flags. 

You can also reach out to the issuer via email or phone to verify if they indeed produced the COA provided by the seller. This direct contact can give you the assurance you need regarding the certificate’s legitimacy.

Seek Opinions

Lastly, seeking opinions from experienced collectors and professionals can be immensely valuable. By reaching out to collector friends or participating in online forums dedicated to collecting, you can tap into a wealth of knowledge that may help confirm the legitimacy of the COA. 

These individuals often have years of experience and possess a trained eye for spotting any discrepancies or red flags that may indicate the COA is not genuine.

How to Find Items Listed as COA

The first thing to know is that the abbreviation COA isn’t an official classification on eBay. In fact, a Certificate of Authenticity isn’t an item classification. Therefore, if you’re looking for something that comes with a certificate of authenticity, it’s best to search for the item and then include “COA” after the name of the item.

For example, you can search “Elly De La Cruz Signed Baseball COA” and it will take you to several sports memorabilia listings. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make that search: 

  1. First, locate the search bar on eBay. It’s usually located at the top of the website.
  2. Then, enter the name of your preferred item followed by the abbreviation, “COA”, and click search. 
  3. eBay will then display a list of search results that match your search criteria. 
  4. Scroll through the results and look for listings that explicitly mention the presence of a COA. These listings will provide reassurance that the item’s authenticity has been verified.
  5. Use search filters to narrow down the search results if required.
  6. Once you’ve decided on the item, add it to your cart and proceed with the verification process and the purchase. 

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Agnes Aui

Head of Marketing
at freightcourse

About the Author

Agnes is the Head of Marketing at freightcourse and seamlessly blends her strong background in content management with strategic marketing expertise.

She brings a wealth of knowledge to readers, specializing in various e-commerce topics such as order fulfillments, purchasing, payments, and more.