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What are limited edition prints and why do they matter?

Description of limited edition prints


7/17/20232 min read

I know someone who ordered a print online, and it came looking different than she had expected.

Instead of the print going to the edge of the paper, as she had seen on the website, there was a wide white border. At the bottom of the print, in the white margin, the artist had signed in pencil and written the numbers "8/500".

It was a limited edition print!

The problem was, she had bought the print for a very specific frame and for a very specific look. So, she trimmed off the white border.

Two Kinds of Prints

If you've seen artists selling "Limited Edition Prints" and are curious what all the fuss is about, you're in the right place.

Often, artists have two options when creating prints of their work: limited edition and unlimited edition.

Read about unlimited edition prints in this post.

Limited edition prints are unique and valuable because the artist has comitted to only creating and selling a set number of prints of the original piece. This makes the print more rare.

The Numbers on a Limited Edition Print

You'll know you have a limited edition print when you see something like "4/100" or "90/500", or "7/10" written somewhere on the piece.

The second number is the total number of prints that were created. The first example had 100 prints, the second example had 500 prints, and the third example only had ten prints.

The first number tells which print YOURS is in the run of prints. In the first example, the print was the 4th printed of the 100. The second example is a print that was the 90th print of the 500 total printed. In the last example, it was the 7th print of teh 10 printed.

From the story at the beginnning, the print had been the 8th of 500 prints, but it doesn't matter any more. With the white boarder, signature, and seriese number for the limited edition print cut off, the print has lost its value-- but not to the owner! It's doing exactly what she wants right now, and that's a win.