What Is a Limited Edition Print?

What Are Limited Edition Prints?

Prints: Reproductions (copies) of an original work of art or a photograph.

Edition: In this case, the total number of reproductions of an original work of art or a photograph that is manufactured at the same time.

Limited Edition Prints: Reproductions of original artwork or a photograph, limited to a specific number of copies.

The number of prints in an edition is decided by the artist, printer, or publisher.

The print number of a limited edition is usually written in the bottom left-hand corner of the print.

Limited edition prints are intended to create a sense of rarity or exclusivity among potential collectors.

Limited editions are also referred to as:

  • artist edition print*
  • special editions
  • collector’s editions
  • deluxe editions

* This is a more specific term for limited edition prints, where the artist (and not a printer or publisher) is only releasing a specific number of prints. The artists will sign each copy of the print and number them.

Are Limited Edition Prints Worth Anything?

A high-resolution signed limited edition print that you find on sites such as Minted and Saatchi Art is worth a lot more than art prints that are printed without limitations, like at Society6 and Redbubble.

Also, the smaller the editions, the more value the prints will have. For example, a limited edition of 50 will be more valuable than a limited edition of 100.

Limited edition prints usually keep or increase their value over time.

What Is a Good Number for Limited Edition Prints?

There isn’t a set rule on how many prints there should be in a limited edition. However, most emerging artists tend to choose a number between 100 and 500.

However, if I’m buying a limited edition print as an investment, I tend to stick to editions with less than 100 prints.

What Does AP Mean on a Limited Edition Print?

Generally, limited edition prints are signed and numbered. But you might also see the following abbreviations AP, A/P, A.P., E/P, E.P., or something similar.

AP stands for Artist’s Proof.

Today, many artists, printers, or publishers print 10-15% of the original edition with the intention of having the artist as the owner. This 10-15% is called the Artist’s Proofs edition. Traditionally, artists kept these proofs for their personal collections.

The number sequence of the Artist’s Proofs edition is also different from the limited edition, as the number is led by AP (or an equivalent abbreviation).

Considering that the AP edition prints are rare, they’re usually sold at a slightly higher price than the limited edition prints. Artist’s Proofs are also highly valuable if they are unique in some way, like a written note from the artist on the back of the print.

So now that you know what limited edition prints are, go ahead and buy art (my two favorite spots for limited edition art are Minted and Saatchi Art), support independent artists, and HAVE FUN shopping!