Reasons to Collect Editions and Reproductions

Banksy on Paper

The world of fine arts is vast and diverse in every sense. It is not limited to painting, drawing and sculpture. Fine art reproductions form a separate category and are becoming increasingly popular.

A sub-category of art reproductions, limited edition reproductions are series of identical reproductions limited to a certain number of copies printed at a time, the number of which is determined by the artist. Today we intend to give you good reasons why you should start collecting limited editions.

Limited Edition Prints are ‘Original’ Artworks.

Many art lovers often look down on prints as mere copies or reproductions that are not “originals”. However, this is not quite true. Limited edition reproductions are not reproductions of original works of art. These are works of art made by artists in the form of engravings. Printmaking techniques allow artists to create multiple versions of the same work, which are called editions. Although prints are not unique, they are still original works of art, just like paintings, drawings, or sculptures.

Unlike limited editions, open run prints are usually produced until the printing plate wears out or until the demand for the print decreases. The limited, lower number of prints makes limited-edition prints significantly more expensive and valuable in the art market than open-edition prints.

Limited editions are also often signed and numbered by the artist. This makes them original and enhances their authenticity and value in the art print market.

Two Horses, a signed serigraph by M.F. Husain

Limited Editions are more cost-efficient when compared to one-of-a-kind artworks.

One of the most tempting reasons to buy fine art reproductions is that they are more economical than single-piece artworks. Many factors affect the price of a limited edition print, from the size of the print run to the size of the image or the material used to make the engraving.

Limited editions are often called affordable art. They make the works of the great masters more accessible to art lovers, young buyers or aspiring collectors who may not be able to afford the astronomical prices for one-of-a-kind works of art by these highly regarded artists.

For those who are starting an art collection or even adding variety to an existing collection, limited editions are a great way to own the art of very famous or up-and-coming artists at a fraction of the price of a unique work.

Relief Printmaking

 Reproductions offer a wide range of options.

Serigraphy, lithography, woodcut, engraving, linoleum cutting, etching, giclee and offset printing are the different types of printing available on the art market. The different techniques used in printmaking result in different textures and finishes in prints, thus adding a great deal of variety to the world of art reproductions.

Some collectors focus on collecting a specific type of print. During this time, many others are exploring different mediums to diversify their art collection. While it is not necessary to learn the technicalities of the various printmaking techniques, learning about the processes can enrich your understanding of these works of art and, in turn, be one of the greatest joys of buying limited editions.

The value of limited edition prints can also increase over time.

La Minotauromachie, an etching by Pablo Picasso (Source: Sotheby’s)

As with unique original works of art, limited edition reproductions can increase in value over time, making them worthy of an investment. As a print run sells out, prices for remaining print runs can skyrocket. Prices can also increase with a jump in reputation or growth of an artist. In fact, leading auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s have held many auctions dedicated exclusively to reproductions.

In 2010, Sotheby’s set a record for the most expensive limited editions. Then, . Pablo Picasso’s repruduction The Minotauromachia (1932) was sold for a whopping $1.98 million.

Andy Warhol revolutionized the art market by creating some of his most important work in the form of prints. At that time, many works of art created by Warhol in limited editions were available to almost everyone. However, over the years, they began to be sold at auctions for tens of millions of dollars. Banksy is another artist whose international recognition and media influence in the 21st century has seen the value of his fine art prints skyrocket.


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