Are limited edition prints a good investment?

While many art lovers would kill for an original art piece in their home, the price is often enough to break the bank. That is the beauty of original prints, particularly limited editions, as they are an affordable way to acquire pieces by artists at a reasonable price. Original, limited edition prints are not only a great way to kick-off a collection, but make a fine addition to any pre-existing collection.

A common misconception is that prints are always reproductions of famous artworks. In fact, many art pieces are ONLY made as prints. These type of prints are called “Original Prints” as opposed to copies of other art pieces, which are called reproductions.

One of the key things to look out for is the signature on the corner, as this usually shows that the artist has approved of, and claimed the work as their own. Sometimes a print will have two signatures, as the print-house will also sign. The value is usually raised by the second signature as it shows another form of proof of authenticity.

Prints are produced in series that are called “Editions”, with every edition containing a number of prints from a sing run. There are “Open Editions” which can contain an unlimited number of prints, or “Limited Editions” which, as the name suggests, contain a finite amount. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the edition, the higher the price.

When buying a print, you should look for the “Print Run Number”, usually written as a fraction in the corner. This shows the print’s position in the edition, and how many prints exist in that edition. The print run number is crucial to determine the value. Another misconception is that artists number their prints in the order that they are printed, while usually they are printed at random. For this reason, the number of the print ( I.e 1/50 or 49/50) has no effect on its value.

When a run number exceeds 200 they are usually considered reproductions rather than fine art, as the artist would rarely have much involvement in such a large quantity.