What is Provenance & What Does it Mean? - Part 1

Provenance IS Important -

Try to count the number of times you hear the word "provenance" (pronounced: prov/e/nance) during the next televised automobile auction and you'll soon lose count. It is not a bad word, or even a term that is perhaps overused, but for many it is a word without understanding.  So, just what does "provenance" mean?  And is it important for the classic car owner to understand?

Not A Simple Definition

Taken as a single word, "provenance" is too broad a term for it to possibly have one, universal definition. However, the most basic definition available refers to provenance as "the history of the ownership of an object, especially when documented or authenticated".  A dictionary also uses the word "pedigree" to define the origin or history of something - but pedigree usually applies to the descendants of a person or a species of animal.

To Garagistry, provenance simply means "the recorded history of the ownership and experiences related to a classic vehicle".


How You Obtain Provenance?

Provenance is the documentation and description of how things (in our example, your classic vehicle) came to be and what experiences your classic has had. The history of ownership alone is just one piece of the total history of a vehicle.  When fully explored, that same record of ownership could and should include the origin of a source (when, where, by whom / for whom it was made).  Essentially, we are talking about the legacy of your classic - the experiences a classic vehicle provided the owner (YOU)!

Sources of Provenance Information

When discussing the provenance (aka: the origin) of an object, such as a classic vehicle, it is important to know whether it is a primary source or a secondary source. A primary source is one written or created by someone who had personal experience of the events it refers to. A secondary source is one created by a third party who has used evidence from a variety of sources to draw conclusions about the history involved.



At Garagistry, we provide you with the tools and opportunity to create a primary source of provenance for your classic.  Even if you only start with a history since you acquired the vehicle, think of the value your information will be to future owners!  The more information to can obtain, the further back you may be able to establish your classic vehicle's provenance.

Documents that help create provenance are originals (or copies) of build sheets, factory documentation, original sales forms, window stickers, registration paperwork, old titles and any expert certifications.  And don't forget the value of maintenance records and receipts for parts and service - they all help build and document your vehicle's provenance.

What’s Next?


Our next blog article will present information as to WHY creating and maintaining your classic’s provenance is important.  Among the many reasons why Garagistry believes your classic's provenance is important, your classic vehicle’s provenance is a key component of the hobby’s Original Spirit – passing to future generations vehicles and their unique histories for all to enjoy and benefit. Learn more

If you have comments or suggestions concerning provenance of classic vehicles, please use the comment section to share your thoughts.

Good driving -

The Garagistry Team

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