DEFINITION of 'Limited Edition'

A copy of a work of art made from a master image, and which is made in batches of a set size. A limited edition may be created from a hand-created original print, or may be created using more advanced technology. The number of limited edition prints is often limited by the lifespan of the material the print is created from. 

BREAKING DOWN 'Limited Edition'

Artists typically create a set number of copies of original prints. Each copy is numbered and signed by the artist before the master image is either destroyed or marked so as to prevent its reuse, making the run of print creation a limited edition. The print number is typically written as a fraction, such as 25/50, which is called the edition number. A mark of “A/P” indicates that the print is an artist’s proof, with these proofs representing an even more limited edition. A limited edition is different from a reproduction, and collectors gravitate to prints with smaller print runs.

A limited edition print may differ from an original print because it may not be considered an original work of art. It may be created by a process other than by hand, and may not have been printed by the artist. For example, the artist may draw the image but the image is copied by a computer onto the plate used to make each impression. 

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