Saturday, August 23, 2008


KL Nichols

American Heritage Dictionary defines Provenance as:
(prŏv'ə-nəns, -näns') *n. Place of origin; derivation.
1. The history of the ownership of an object, especially when documented or authenticated. Used of artworks, antiques, and books.
2. The records or documents authenticating such an object or the history of its ownership.

If you own an expensive piece of art, you will need a written history on the art to, A. prove ownership, B. prove its worth. Provenance is the pedigree of the valuable piece of art.

Everybody knows that if you have all of the paperwork for your classic it is easier to sell. That means Dealer's Sticker, Owner's Manual, any repair and body work receipts, etc, etc, etc.

If you have all of the above paperwork, you are well on your way to establishing Provenance for your Classic. But if you really want to add value to your classic, you should document it and put it in a fancy binder.

One way that I can prove this to you, have you ever heard of the classic category, "Star Cars"? These are classics that belonged to famous people, Elvis, Steve McQueen or John Wayne, just to name a few. This is a category that has a strong following and in order to prove that the car they are selling actually belonged to Elvis Pressley's 7th aunt twice removed, you have to be able to authenticate it. Provenance! Out of the 200 or so cars that Elvis actually gave away, there are probably a thousand floating around out there, so if you are not careful, you can be fooled.

Provenance, how do you go about establishing it?

The easiest way is to start a diary and write down everything, and I mean everything that you do to and know about your classic. Video your classic thoroughly, documenting any repairs if possible. If you do a frame off restoration and strip it down to the metal, video the entire body as proof of no rust or bondo, then keep the CD or DVD with your diary. Pictures are great; if you have enough, make a photo album. The more information you have, the more the Provenance will boost your car's value in the eyes of the would be buyer which will translate into more profit when you sell it. If it is featured in any magazine or on local TV in a parade, keep copies of these with your diary.

One more thing, after you go to all of the trouble building a Provenance for your classic, go to a copy store, and have two copies made and bound buy the pros. That along could add $500 value to your classic! Put the originals and one of the copies in a safe place, just in case your show & tell copy get destroyed or beer spilled on it. Make it just as professional as possible, if you aren’t a computer person, find one who is and pay them to do the typing. Keep all files, photos and anything else you have on your computer about your classic backed up on two CDs, one for each set of Provenance

Provenance will also help establish your classic’s value in the eyes of the insurance guy in case, God forbid, you son should wreck it on his prom date!

Copyright 2008 KL Nichols

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