TAC Authentications and Consultations: What to Know

At The Authentication Company, we offer two types of service: authentication and consultations. Dan Matthews, owner of The Authentication Company, leads these services. For decades, Dan has been well-regarded as an expert in authenticating antique advertising in a variety of categories.


What's the difference between at TAC authentication and a consultation?

You don't have to be a member to start an authentication. TAC authentications involve a complete review of the item. Details below. If authentic, we will label your item with our TAC hologram sticker, which is widely respected in the antiques industry. 

On the other hand, consultations do not include the TAC sticker, but are used mainly to confirm if a sign is fake or not. Consultion is not authentication. It allow collectors and dealers to ask us questions about items. We can review pictures or discuss the item with you over the phone. With more information, you will know if you should send in the item for authentication, bid on or purchase the item, or reject the item. I can tell almost instantly if a sign is fake or authentic. 

Another difference is that consultations can be done from photos, but authentication is NOT done from photos.   


How many consultations do members get?

Only our gold and platinum members are eligible for consultations. 

Platinum members have unlimited consultations. If you have a large collection, or you add items frequently, this is the best value. Gold members can request up to 4 consultations per month. 

  Anybody can have a one-time consultation free of charge. After the inital consultations, they are done only for gold or platinum members.


Anybody can have a one-time consultation free of charge. After the first one, consultaitons are done only for gold or platinum members..

How many items can be included in a consultation? 

One item is considered one consultation. You can send me multiple pictures of the item, and we can discuss over the phone.  


Do I have to own the items for a consultation? What if I'm considering buying something? 

You don't have to own item. If you see an item at an auction or an antique store, gold and platinum members can contact me for a consultation. 


What are the benefits of a consultation? 

With consultation, you'll know it's real, and know whether bid, buy, or take back. 


How do I start a consultation?

Sign up to become a gold or platinum TAC member.


What's involved in an authentication? 

Evaluating the sign's age, we will review the quality of the color; gloss or matte; We will note chips, wear and tear. The item will be measured for size.  We will give it a rating (1-10) and assign it a TAC number. 


Is authentication the same as appraisal?

No, it's not. Authentication gives an idea of value. Appraisals include a legal document disclosing the determined value. 

How can I access the information? 

TAC platinum members can access their own dashboard, which will list all their items and valuations under "My Items". We will upload pictures and add the detail about your item: its idea of value, measurements, rating, etc. This information will be included in the TAC database, which contains more than 24,000 items. Members can view the informaton on our website. However, the sign owners will not be identified. 


How do I use this information? 

Gold and plantinum members can view their items. Access your TAC dashboard anytime you're considering purchasing a new advertising item. You can review your pieces and search for similar pieces that we have TAC'd to compare the quality of the item for sale. 

When you're at an auction, compare your item to one up for auction. This will help you figure out what price to bid. Don't forget to look for a TAC sticker on the item up for auction. 


What are the benefits of authenticating items? 

Investing in authenticating your items will ultimately pay for itself. When you are ready to sell an item, you will know what it's worth and be able to price it correctly.  You will have the peace of mind knowing that your items are truly authentic. You will have the confidence to price it for what it is worth. Show your buyers the TAC sticker and they'll know your price is valid. 

If you purchase a fake item at a high price, you will lose money on the deal. Knowing the sign is authentic lets you bid with confidence that you are making a good investment.



How do I start an authentication

Click here to download the form.


Pro Tip: If the shop or owner won't take it back, don't buy it.  


Check out our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the TAC process.