Limited Edition Prints
( Shown above - Small - Arches, 2010 )
A limited edition print is so named because its run - the number of these prints that are created and sold - is limited to a specific number, say, 100. Each run is determined by size and any other qualifying factors; for instance, you can have a limited edition run of 12 x 18 image on paper, another run of 20 x 30 on paper, a third run of 12 x 18 on canvas, and so on. If you purchase the 5th print sold in the 12 x 15 on paper run, then somewhere on the print will be written 5/100, which indicates that your print is the 5th piece out of a total of 100 to be created in this particular run.
The print may or may not be signed by the artist, and if so, will be of increased value. It also may or may not include a Certificate of Authenticity, a piece of paper or form that lists out the run size, the number of your print in the run, and information on inks and paper, and the date that the print was created.
Sometimes, but not always, limited edition prints are created with archival quality inks on archival quality substrate -- paper or canvas -- and if so, the artist or company selling the print will make sure to inform you of this, since these archival quality materials ensure a superior product that will last a much longer time than a print created with non-archival quality materials. Do not assume that, just because a print is described as limited edition, that it is archival quality.
A limited edition print that is signed, archival quality, and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity will likely cost more than an open edition print (but significantly less than the original painting), simply because it has been in more direct contact with the artist (description sourced from Steve Henderson Fine Art)..