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Confused with art print terminology?

Confused with art print terminology?

Are you looking at prints and getting confused with all the terminology? From Limited Edition Prints, to Studio Proofs, we explain it all here.

Are you looking at prints and getting confused with all the jargon? Have you seen Limited Edition Prints, Artist's Proofs, Hors d'Commerce, Open Edition, the list goes on. Here at Simply Jack Vettriano we are going to explain the terminology and make it clearer and easier to understand for you.


What are Limited Edition Prints?

A Limited Edition Print or LEP means that there is a limited number of prints available. The artist has only allowed a certain number of prints of this image to be printed, which is called the edition size. Each print will be identical in terms of quality and size. The artist signs them, normally in pencil and numbers them. If the edition, that's the number of prints available, is 100, then the artist will number each print in order from 1 to 100. The numbering is shown as 1/100, 2/100 etc.


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What does Artist's Proof or AP mean?

When an artist releases Limited Edition Prints they have proofs made at the start of the print run which the artist checks for colour, quality, consistency etc. These are called Artist's Proofs. Modern printing techniques mean that Artist's Proofs are of the exact same quality as the Limited Edition Print. Artist's Proofs are signed by the artist and may or may not be numbered. They will be marked AP or A/P. The amount of Artist's Proof released are normally 10% or less of the Limited Edition Print run. So, if there are 100 Limited Edition Prints, there will normally be 10 or less Artist's Proofs. Artist's Proofs are normally priced higher than the Limited Edition Print.


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What does Hors D' Commerce or HC mean?

Hors D' Commerce are very similar to Artist's Proofs. Hors D' Commerce means not for commerce, or not for sale. Hors D' Commerce prints tend to be given by the artist as gifts and are very rare. Hors D' Commerce are normally marked HC or H/C. They are signed by the artists but are not normally numbered.


What are Studio Proofs, Printers Proofs and Publishers Proofs?

Similar to Artist's Proofs. Studio Proofs are marked SP. If you have seen PP on a print it can be either Publishers Proofs or Printers Proofs. You can find out more about Studio Proofs in this article.


What is an Open Edition Print?

An open edition print is a print that is not restricted or limited in the number that is available. They can be reprinted as and when demand requires. If a publisher has 1000 prints and sells them all, they can reprint more at any time. You can find more about open edition prints here.


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What is a Certificate of Authenticity or COA?

A Certificate of Authenticity often accompanies a Limited Edition Print of Artist's Proof. They are intended to show that the item is a genuine Limited Edition Print or Artist's Proof. Not all Limited Edition Prints and Artist's Proofs come with a Certificate of Authenticity and they should not be used solely to confirm a Limited Edition Print or Artist's Proof is genuine.


Have we answered all of your questions on art print related terminology? Let us know if we have missed anything and we will add them to the list.


Wondering what the image is at the top of the page? It is Jack Vettriano's Blades, find out more about it here.