What are Limited Edition Prints?

Limited editions originated from the days of printing plate pressings.  However, in these days of digital printing methods original artwork can be scanned or photographed and printed out using a professional printer with long lasting pigment inks to produce an image identical to the original.  The process is referred to as giclee printing.  The first print is as good as the last.

 

In general, the rules around limited editions are clear.  The artist decides how big an edition will be, and commits to no more being issued.  It is considered unethical to say the least to breach this undertaking.  The buyer should get a signed and dated Certificate of Authenticity confirming this.  Each print is signed and numbered, e.g. 1/100, 2/100 etc.

 

Smaller editions are usually more expensive than larger ones as you'd expect.  An edition of say 50 will be far more exclusive that one of 500.  There are also Open Editions, meaning that there can be an infinite number of prints dependent on demand.  These of course are generally the least expensive. 

Now, the next bit can be less straightforward.  You may find that within the above,  each artist makes individual choices.  For instance, it's possible to issue, say, a limited edition of 100 prints of an artwork  in a particular size, but then to issue another limited edition of the same image in another format or size without breaching the rules, as long as they have specified and are clear upfront that the commitment to each limited edition applies only to that particular format or size in the Certificate of Authenticity.  

So, in short, always clarify with the artist beforehand what their policy on this is. 

 

My policy is this:

I keep all the original artwork from which the giclee prints are made, so the artwork is only available as a limited edition.  The number of each edition given is a final number,  inclusive of all sizes and formats. 

 

Nice and simple.