You have probably noticed that some artists' limited edition fine art prints cost more as the edition sells out. This is called tiered edition valuation and applies to both printmaking and fine art photography. This practice is rewarding to all parties who are involved: the artist, the gallery and the collector. Read on to understand why....
- The Collector: The collector who takes a chance on acquiring art from a lesser known artist or a lesser known body of work when a limited edition is first made available at an exceptional value stands the greatest chance of monetary gain on the investment. By taking advantage of the early opportunity, the value of the artwork rises as the edition is sold out. On resale, typically the lowest number edition prints are the most valuable. Collectors who decide to invest in the later edition numbers know that the artist's prints are popular and will likely retain their value in the future.
- The Artist: The artist needs to make a living from his or her art. However, when the artist is lesser known or introduces a new style or body of work, the market may not bear a high value for the work. By offering the first in the limited edition artwork for less money, the artist encourages early adopters to acquire the work at an exceptional value. As an artist's works become more popular and a limited edition gets closer to selling out, the artist earns more income from his or her work. If a standardized percentage increase is applied to each subsequent limited edition print, by the time the edition has sold out, the law of averages means that the artist should have earned a sustainable income from the artwork.
- The Gallery: A gallery has substantial overhead expenses and taking on an artist is a financial risk. If a print-maker or fine art photographer belongs to a gallery, and the artist uses tiered edition valuation, the gallery is more likely to sell the work when it is first offered to the gallery's clients at an exceptional value. The gallery is rewarded with more income based on how much of that artist's work the gallery can sell.
It is for all of these reasons I offer my artwork in a limited and tiered edition format.