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What is a Limited Edition Print?

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A Limited Edition Art Print is a reproduction of an
original painting, drawing or other two-dimensional piece of art
work. “Limited Edition” refers to a set number of replicas of a
work of art. Each reproduction is then signed and numbered by
the Artist for authenticity.

The practice of limiting editions and numbering proofs dates
back to early printing methods — when the quality of the proofs
declined as the printer plates began to show evidence of wear.
By limiting an edition to first-rate examples of an artist’s
work, the artist protected both his or her artistic integrity
and the value of the work to the collector. Printing methods
have since advanced considerably and editions are now often
limited for financial reasons. By ensuring the relative rarity
of the artist’s work, he or she increases its value.
(Two-dimensional reproductions are often referred to as
prints, and the terms will be used here interchangeably. This is
not to be confused with the “original print-making” process
where the artist actually hand-creates each print.)

In addition to a fixed number of edition prints, there may also
exist “AP” prints and “HC” prints. AP prints refer to Artist
Proofs. Artist Proofs also date back to early printing methods.
These were the first pulls off the press — used to determine
ink coverage and general quality. As they were the first pieces
to be printed, they were traditionally considered to be more
valuable. AP prints are signed and numbered separately from the
main edition. HC prints, or Hors De Commerce (not for trade)
prints, are marked by the artist as prints to be used for
business practice: such as samples, display only, etc.
Occasionally there are also PP or Printers Proofs. These refer
to the very few proofs which are given to the printer
responsible for printing the work.

Since Signed Limited Edition Prints have inherent value, but
tend to cost much less than original works of art, they make
great gifts!


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  • Posted On May 8, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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