What Do The Numbers On A Limited Edition Print Mean?

There usually is no standard amount in an edition. As few as 1 or 3, or as many as 1000 or more. Reflect on how the volume will affect the value of your chosen art piece and consider that the smaller the edition, the higher price will be asked (and also sold should you decide to sell your own piece at some point.). In the art world, it is assumed the lower the number of prints in an edition, the more valuable and collectible the editions are likely to be. The number game is rather jaw-dropping if you should be lucky enough to find a very low numbered print, but in reality, the image is what the collector admires and the number, be it a very low number, is just that; a very low number. I have not witnessed a higher price asked for one number in an edition over another number.

   In the early days of printing, prints could vary a bit from one print to the next but even when most of the P Buckley Moss print editions were printed as offset lithographs, or photographic reproductions of the original watercolor, the images didn’t vary and each print of the edition looked the same. Now, in the digital age, all but the oversized images by Moss are printed as giclee editions; a process of reproduction of the original watercolor using software and state of the art printers that produce more vivid colors, which make for amazingly detailed and vibrant prints.

A limited edition is normally hand signed and numbered by the artist e.g. 50/100 while the artist proofs are numbered AP 1/25, 2/25 etc. Pat Moss used to spend countless hours signing each print of every edition until the action caused problems with her wrist and her medical team asked her to make a decision; “Do you want to sign print editions or do you want to paint?” It was then that the decision was made in the mid-1990’s to secure a matrix of Pat’s signature by which all her print editions have been signed going forward. At this writing, Pat still has gallery shows where she will spend hours talking with collectors and signing her work by hand either on the print paper or on the glass of framed pieces. Her signature is an art all its own.

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