Here’s a very simple question. Would you rather own an item previously owned by me … or President John F. Kennedy? The answer is obvious.

Provenance basically means “an established and provable line of ownership”. However, there is a huge difference between “saying” something is true … and being able to “prove it beyond a shadow of doubt”. “My mother’s brother’s neighbor said it’s true” is not indisputable and undeniable proof. The stronger the proof, the greater the potential value.

There are varying levels of “Provable Provenance”:

Certificate of Authenticities can help, but alone they’re rarely enough.

Historical Documents such as Birth & Death Certificates can sometimes help.

Letters can help. The more specific and believable, the stronger they are.

Photographs can offer verifiable proof.

Newspaper Articles can also sometimes establish provenance.

And these are just a few forms of proof of provenance. Think of it this way. Before you dig into your pocket to purchase an item based upon the item’s supposed provenance, you’re going to say “Prove It”. The same applies to what you’re selling. If you plan of selling something having added value because of a specific person, place, or event, you had better be able to prove it if you want top dollar.

WHAT’S IT WORTH:  A tight, nude-colored 1950’s era dress recently sold in a local Auction box lot for $1.00. A similar dress, worn my Marilyn Monroe when she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to President John Kennedy in 1962, with photographs showing her in it, and with written and verifiable evidence of the dress’s chain of ownership … sold at Auction for $4,810,000 in 2016. That’s the value of provenance.

Mike Ivankovich is an Auctioneer, Appraiser, Home Downsizing Expert, and host of the "What's It Worth? Ask Mike the Appraiser" Radio Show that airs live in the Philadelphia PA area on Friday mornings from 9-10 AM EST on WBCB 1490 AM and on the Internet at: HYPERLINK "../../Mike/Documents/"

You can also visit his Radio Show Web Site: