A common misperception about limited edition prints

Some prints, photographs and other types of art and collectibles are limited edition numbered: say, 1/50 (1 of 50 made), 2/50, 3/50 …. 50/50. Some collectors feel that the first print or photograph or figurine ‘off the presses,’ is the most valuable, and, as one might expect, pick one that is numbered 1/50. The thing they don’t realize is that the works are rarely numbered is the order of printing. The numbering and signing was often done well after the printing or manufacture. For example, Marc Chagall would go through the stack of prints, picking out which ones he liked and sign and hand numbering the ones that met his approval. He wasn’t trying to keep things in order of printing. Thus, the print numbered 1/50 may or may not have been first one off the printing press. Print # 12/50 or 6/50 may have been the first. And there’s no way to know for sure.

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