"A Certificate of Authenticity! Woo! Alright then!"

So I saw an ad for some kind of collectible that, among other things, came with a “Certificate of Authenticity.” I usually associate these with the kind of “collectible” you see on TV, like the U.S. Silver Blahblah Dollar That Sold For $1 million That You Can Get for $19.95. But I do have to wonder, is there anything to them? Or is it just utter bunk, like I suspect?

Depends upon who wrote the “certificate of authenticity”. I could take some lint from my pocket, write up my own ‘certificate of authenticity’ stating that it’s lint from Babe Ruth’s belly button, and the c.o.a. would mean about as much as you’d guess. That said, there are companies that are reputable and specialize in verifying objects and issuing c.o.a.'s. To another collector, seeing the c.o.a. from one of these companies means it’s the geniune article. But, as you suspect, if you see something on tv and they don’t tell you who gave them the c.o.a., they probably wrote it themselves and it probably doesn’t mean a damn thing.