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Information for Collectors

This page provides some helpful information for collectors.


Markings found in Editions

The term Edition in the printing business means the total number of prints that are produced from one artwork master. The edition size is typically established between the printing house and the artist. Thus, the number of prints is limited, and typically once all pieces are printed the printing plates are destroyed. Each piece in the edition receives a unique marking thereby identifying it as part of the edition. Below, the most common labels of printed artwork are explained.

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Regular Numbering

Each piece in the regular edition are typically marked with a combination of arabic numbers indicating the series number, i.e. position in the production of the edition, as well as the total number of pieces in the edition. Thus, a combination of 13/25 identifies the piece as the 13th print coming off the press in a total edition of 25 prints.

In some editions a second signature by the artist can be found in addition to the number combination.

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Artist's Proof (AP) and Epreuve d'artiste (E.A.)

In many editions there are a number of identical prints to the regular edition, that are printed at the same time - but are not part of the numbered sequence. These are known as "Proofs Aside from the Edition," and these may or may not be hand-signed by the artist. In general with any edition printed there can be anywhere from 5-100 extra proofs aside from the edition.

Often these extra proofs are retained for the artist, otherwise known as an "Artist Proof". An artist proof can be annotated "AP" for Artist Proof, or "E.A." in French "Epreuve d'artiste". Sometimes artists can additionally dedicate and gift a proof to a friend, collaborator, dealer, printer, or even family member.

Some collectors prefer these pieces, since they were previously owned by the artist and thereby represent something special. In the art market these proofs are typically sold at higher prices than those from the regular edition.

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Printer's Proof (PP)

A printer’s proof (PP) is a print set aside from an edition for the printer’s use. The printer's proof is usually for approval by the master printer to ensure the quality of the printing, and can sometimes include notes and annotations about the printing process.

PPs are notated with the letters PP and a numbering with Roman or Arabic numerals. The total number of PPs produced is up to the artist, but it is usually very few. The "P.P." can also sometimes stand for "Publisher's Proof".

Due to their very low numbers, if a PP is made available for sale, it will typically sell at a higher price than the regular edition.

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