Prints vs. Reproductions- prints are made by a printmaker by transferring an impression from one surface to another. Reproductions are when a visual artist creates a scan or photo of their work and has it printed. The printed piece is called a reproduction.
Quality- Giclée reproductions are made using a printer that sprays pigment onto the surface. This results in a clear, high quality image, with no pixelation. High quality reproductions should also be made on a high quality, acid free surface. I use Hahnemühle Photo Rag®, which is a white cotton paper with a soft feel and lightly textured finish.
Limited Edition- Make sure you the reproduction you are purchasing is a limited edition. The smaller the run to more valuable it is. Obviously if only 200 people can have something it is a lot more valuable than if 5,000 people can have it.
Markings to look for- Make sure the artist has signed the reproduction itself. This should be done with pencil or sometimes with an acid free ink. The print number and edition size should also be written on the reproduction. That looks something like this "5/300" (fifth print in an edition of 300). The smaller the edition the better, and the lower the print number the better.
Sometimes a reproduction will say "AP" before the number. This means that it is an "artist proof." Artist proofs are used by the artist to guarantee quality. There are very few of these printed so being an artist proof increases the value. Artist may also include the title of the piece on the reproduction.
Hand embellished reproductions- This is when an artist draws in the margins, or actually goes back onto the reproduction to add drawings, paint, etc. to the reproduction. Having a hand embellished element increases the value of a reproduction.
Open editions- and open edition is when an artist does not limit how many reproductions they will create. It is not advisable to purchase these for collecting as the value is decreased significantly. These are often created on lower quality paper or as posters.
I hope this information helps you understand how to get high quality reproduction that will retain or grow in value. If you have any questions let me know in the comments. And definitely check out the limited edition reproductions I have available.
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