David Shepherd Limited Edition Prints
David Shepherd is a successful British wildlife artist who also enjoys painting steam engines, airplanes, battleships and landscapes. His artwork gained popularity in the 1960’s and continues to impress and gain value as time goes on.
When an artist produces a painting, he or she has the option of producing “limited edition signed prints,” which are numbered and autographed (usually in pencil) copies of the original masterpiece that are printed with the understanding that no additional prints will be produced after reaching the predetermined number, or “limit.” Factors like style, availability and client demand are considered when determining how many prints will be produced and professional artists will usually authorize the printing of between 25 and 100 prints of any particular piece of artwork. However, some artists have been known to allow the printing of up to 1,000 copies but, for valuation purposes, artwork is worth more when there are fewer prints in circulation.
Artists also have the option of not limiting the number of prints and can produce as many copies as they think collectors will buy. Conversely, artists can also choose to not allow the printing of any copies of their work, which greatly increases the value of the original masterpiece for popular artists like David Shepherd, who can improve the marketability of their artwork by limiting its availability, thereby making the piece more “rare,” which creates more value in the painting and generates demand for the piece by collectors.
It is very important than any and all issues be resolved before undertaking the actual printing of the limited edition paintings and professional artists usually ask the printer to provide “proof prints” so that they can inspect them for problems before any mass printing of a painting takes place. Most artists maintain records of their limited edition print sales so that any pieces that get damaged can be re-printed. Other than replacing those numbered, damaged pieces, it is highly unethical for additional copies to be printed after completion of the authorized number of limited edition prints. Very often, the print plates are actually destroyed, damaged or defaced to prevent further duplication of the artwork.
Before the digital age, printing equipment would wear out, which resulted in good print quality on the first-run prints and lesser quality with subsequent prints. Today, technology allows artists to produce as many prints as they desire and each one shares the same quality. Signed, limited edition prints are valuable to art collectors and this translates to more money for the artist, which encourages them to allow the production of varying numbers of limited edition prints of their original masterpieces.