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Creating Collectible Value in Open Editions


The essay discusses the seeming dichotomy of things that are simultaneously plentiful and still some in the abundance of varied items turn out to have great collectible value. If it can happen with books and license plates, why not open edition, sequentially numbered art?

Regular readers know I am a frequent guest blogger Absolute Arts, one of the most heavily trafficked fine art sites on the Internet. My current post there is titled, “The Dichotomy of Rare and Plentiful.”   The essay discusses the seeming dichotomy of things that are simultaneously plentiful and

The essay discusses the seeming dichotomy of things that are simultaneously plentiful and still some in the abundance of varied items turn out to have great collectible value. If it can happen with books and license plates, why not open edition, sequentially numbered art?

Can such occurrences be manufactured by clever art marketing techniques? Or, do they just have to happen naturally as the outcome of publishing art that is popular? I have a framed vintage print of Maxfield Parrish’s “Daybreak.”  The image continues to sell well on Art.com and elsewhere for about $75.00 framed. My copy is older, probably a bit faded and is worth anywhere from $400 – $750. It is the exact same image, something that has been reproduced thousands of time, and still in its abundance, the older vintage pieces are worth 5-10 times more.

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My point is if you are using limited editions as a selling technique for a medium such as giclee that you can endlessly reproduce in any size or substrate, you may be leaving yourself and your heirs at a huge loss for the potential with no guarantee of a possible greater price point and cash flow. Imagine what a loss it would be if giants like Parrish or Ansel Adams had chosen to only sell their images in relatively small editions. Conversely, what would it look like if they had sequentially numbered their open editions? Let me know what you think.

 

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  1. It is certainly my hope that I can create value by sequentially numbering my open editions, which is what I do now. I’m hoping that my early collectors will be proud that they have the “1/OE” print in the future.

    I’m wondering where the markets are or if they exist right now for open edition fine art prints that are reasonably priced (i.e. not the poster market). I’m always discouraged by the lack of open editions in Art Business News and turned off by the seemingly arbitrary edition sizes.

    -Nathan

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