Red dots are an artist’s best friend, as every artist loves a sale! But why do some pieces have more than one dot beside them? The answer is that the work is an edition. Prints and editions are seductive – particularly if a full-blown original is out of your price range! But before you part with your cash it pays to consider the following 4 pointers:
Is the piece a limited edition? Check the work for a number that looks like a fraction – the first number is the print number – and the second is the total number of editions (so 5/50 would be print 5 of 50). Look for smaller edition runs if you want to own something more rare and unusual, and therefore more likely to retain its value.
Are the artist and the artwork credible? Speak to the artist and gallery to ensure that limited edition means exactly that. Most artists will strive to remain credible and will not be tempted to run off more copies of something popular – but it may pay to double check. It is also worth avoiding limited edition photographic reproductions for the same reason. A healthier way to invest is to look to purchase lithographs, mezzotints, etchings, linocuts and original photographs instead.
Is the work signed by hand? This is another excellent way to ensure you are supporting a real life artist rather than merely lining the pockets of whoever owns the image rights. A signature may also help the work retain or even increase in value.
And above all: Remember that whilst any type of future profit may be enticing, purchasing art should ultimately be about the personal and emotional value you place on the work – which may be hard to put a price tag on!