RFID Breaks into the Art World

RFID in the Art WorldShady Art Dealers Beware of RFID

Generally, when you buy a piece of fine art of memorabilia, the dealer provides you with a piece of paper emblazoned across the top in a very authoritarian typeface (reminiscent of your high school diploma) Certificate of Authenticity. Who's to say that the dealer didn't just cook that up in Word and print it out in the back office? No one.  For fine art, especially limited edition lithographs, serigraphs or etchings, it takes a trained eye, and years of researching the catalogue raissonee to determine a forgery. Up until now, the best defense has been to buy only from seasoned dealers with solid reputations. Now, collectors have a new defense, RFID.

Artfest International has introduced its proprietary RFID chip set for the fine art and sports memorabilia industry. The Starfest Verification System provides artists, athletes and collectors with solid proof and peace of mind that their art and sports memorabilia is authentic and mitigates fraud by keeping track of the number of pieces produced and available in the market. This system could represent a huge shift in the $4 billion global memorabilia industry.

Consumers who purchase limited edition collectibles embedded with the Starfest RFID chip are able to connect to a database that displays all the details associated with the piece: location of purchase, time/date of purchase, purchase price, which number in the series it is, whether it was signed. Essentially, the chip is a virtual provenance, making it unnecessary to simply trust the dealer's word or documentation.

The artist or athlete responsible for the collectible can view the number of pieces produced and/or sold. The information is available through the Starfest Verification System and can be read either on iPhones, and other smartphones or through Artfest's reader package.

"Our proprietary technology will enable us to improve on the gold standard we have set in the past for how fine art and memorabilia are marked, tracked, and valued. Starfest Technology will enable Artfest International to expand the Verification system (SVS) and make it available to all genres of Intellectual Properties," stated Edward Vakser, CEO of Artfest International, Inc.

No telling how long technology like this will take to become standard, but considering the state of exponential growth the RFID industry is currently experiencing, I predict it won't be long. RFID applications like this one are a win for consumers and manufacturers (in this case, artists). And the technology will only become more advanced and cost effective.