Category: Art + Design

Numbering Limited Editions

A common misnomer in the art business is that a low numerator in a signed and numbered piece is more valuable than a higher number. With limited editions made in recent decades (1970s forward) this is just plain false. Today all the impressions are the same quality and color saturation.

This notion of heightened value for lower numbers came about because in olden days when prints were made from wood, copper or zinc plates, the plates would slowly wear down after each print was pulled. The phrase “early off the block” connoted a detailed impression with all the thin lines printed beautifully. Indeed the plates did wear down and later impressions looked worse for the wear.

Today, with new technology the first and the two hundredth impression will all be identical in all respects and no additional value should be imputed for a low fraction number.

In art, unlike in sports, being number one is not all that important.