One of the questions I am asked most often is the difference between a Limited Edition Print and an Open Edition Print.
People often assume that there is a difference in the quality of the two types of print but that isn’t the case, so I thought I would write a handy blog post to clear up any confusion.
Simply put, a Limited Edition print means that there will only ever be a certain number of prints produced and once they are sold, there won’t be any more available.
For me, because I print my work at different sizes, I limit the number of prints to a certain number at each size. For most of my Limited Editions, there are 100 of the Small size, 40 of the Medium size and 20 of the Large size. Some have 60 of the Medium size and 40 of the Large size.
This makes a total of between 160 and 200 prints in the full edition.
My Limited Edition prints are all exactly the same. Although they are not all printed at the same time, each print in an edition is printed on the same paper, with the same inks, by the same printer and is mounted using the same mounts.
When you buy a Limited Edition print from me, it will be signed and numbered on the back of the print and on the front of the mount. It will also come with a signed certificate of authenticity which is traditionally attached to the back of the frame.
There are also a small number of Artist’s Proofs available once the edition has sold out. These are not included in the number of prints in the edition.
Artists’s Proofs are special prints that traditionally were test prints but the term has now come to mean prints that are identical in quality and media to the Limited Editions but are sometimes perceived to have a higher value because they are the artist’s own copies.
Most artists limit their Artist’s Proof prints to 10-15% of the full size of the edition but I think that’s a bit high so I only produce 6 (two of each size)
Each artist handles pricing slightly differently but it is usual for the price of a Limited Edition print to increase as the edition comes closer to being sold out. So, for example, the first 20 prints may be sold at one price, the next 20 sold at that price plus 10% and the next 20 sold at the original price plus 20%. The Artist’s Proofs are usually the last to be sold and are sold at the highest price.
There aren’t really any hard and fast rules and it’s worth checking how an artist handles their editions before you purchase, so you know exactly what you are getting.
Open Edition Prints
My Open Edition prints are printed to the same high standards and mounted in the same ph neutral mounts as my Limited Edition prints.
The only difference between the two is that there is no limit to the number of prints available in an Open Edition. I can also print it in different sizes, with a different crop of the image or on different materials, such as canvas.
Open Edition prints are also signed on the front of the mount, but they are not numbered as there is no reason to do so.
For obvious reasons, each image is available as either an Open Edition print, or a Limited Edition print, but not both.