The Prints Market: Top Reasons to Collect Editions

Would you rather buy an original print or an original painting? Without hesitation most people would answer with the latter but read on to understand why prints are highly collectible, original works desirable in their own right.

Misconception: Prints are copies of a unique work.

Reason 1 | Prints are distinct works and an important part of an artist’s oeuvre.

Whether making screenprints, lithographs, woodcuts or etchings, artists are drawn to the medium of printmaking for a variety of reasons. Prints afford the unique opportunity for experimentation and collaboration while also offering exciting new ways to break artmaking down to its building blocks.

Misconception: Prints, and works on paper, do not last as long as paintings or sculpture.

Reason 2 | Prints offer long-term value with proper framing and care.

Prints do require some preventative measures to keep them in good condition such as UV-filtered glass and archival mounting materials. This is easily handled in the framing process and requires very little consideration afterwards. Keep the piece in a stable environment and it will remain in excellent condition.

Misconception: A great collection consists of paintings and sculpture.

Reason 3 | Prints provide an accessible entry point to build a comprehensive collection.

Prints are usually smaller in physical size and typically less expensive than paintings or sculpture by the same artist. If a collector is seeking a specific movement, or notable name, for their collection, prints increase the range of possibilities. First-time buyers may look to prints as an attainable option for obtaining an original work. Like other media, value is determined by rarity, technique, complexity and composition.

Misconception: Lower numbers within an edition are better than higher ones.

Reason 4 | Prints are highly collectible whether it’s the first of the edition or the last.

While edition size affects value, the specific number within the series does not. Lower does not equal better. This outdated idea, stemming from historical printmaking techniques, might have been true in the past when soft metals such as copper caused diminished imagery during the printing process but in today’s Contemporary Prints market it is not a factor. Additionally some editions are not even numbered in the order they were made, further proof of the point.

Misconception: A print without a number or signature has no value.

Reason 5 | Prints make Blue Chip art attainable at a variety of price points.

Even at the age of 92 Alex Katz signs all of his prints that are published by Lococo Fine Art, other artists are not as diligent. Even without a signature, or a specific number from within the edition, prints can fetch high prices or offer collectors a chance to purchase from top names. Available now at Russell are a variety of unsigned, unnumbered Andy Warhol silkscreens that include both the publisher’s and printer’s stamps. A signed Warhol screenprint at auction would realize over 100K.

shop prints now. request an appointment by emailing sales@russell-collection.com or calling 512.478.4440.