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Limited Edition Print Values

Discussion in 'Art Matters & News' started by shayla, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    An auctioneer friend is planning to sell a hundred or so limited edition prints, forty of them framed and the rest in sleeves, from artists such as Doolittle, Lyman, Terpning, Isaacs, etc.. He's already called the publishers, who suggested he contact their local dealer, which he hesitated to do, so he called me wanting to know how to value them. All I knew was to tell him about the Art Expediter, which we used at the place I worked at 17 years ago and which carried such prints. I told him it would only show one part of the secondary market, not places like eBay, but that it might be helpful. Any other good ideas, or is that still something to use?
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  2. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    This is an auction house that sells a lot of limited edition art. http://www.k-bid.com/

    Maybe your friend can get some advice auctioneer to auctioneer.

    shayla likes this.
  3. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Shayla: I'd be interested in knowing how the auction turns out. I can't see much value at all in limited editions - the original buyers are ageing, kids don't want their parents'art, or any other art, for that matter. I get requests frequently to buy back prints we sold 15 years ago, and no requests to buy. Just like the old collectors plates.

    Are you seeing any value down there?
  4. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Doolittle's and a few others seem to sell for good money on E-bay. Insurance adjusters will only use E-bay if information exists there for value unless there is a specific licensed appraisal and/or a person has purchased a rider to their insurance policy with set amounts of insurance.

    During the Great Recovery I have had customers bring in Kinkades they wish to value and sell. Many that they have paid as much as $3,000 for have a couple dozen available on E-bay listed at $50-$100 but the highest completed sale on numerous pieces was less than $30. I tell them it is a good time to hold the one they have and stock up on any they couldn't afford when they were hundreds or even thousands. I always advise them that the best way to store their collection is framed and hanging on their walls.
    FM Framer likes this.
  5. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Ebay contributed to the collapse in value of limited editions. When a seller who badly needed money let one go for a song, that became the new market value. Downhill from there.
  6. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    I told him a bit about all that, but if he can get to the people who still value them, he'll have the right crowd. From what I've seen, that's a much smaller pond than it was twenty years ago. I've seen enough badly faded prints from that era to know they don't last as well as might be hoped, but some folks still love them. I'm not a dealer for those publishers, so I only see the work when it comes in for framing/reframing.
  7. wpfay

    wpfay Angry Badger

    The whole Limited Edition Reproduction market was marketing driven and tenuous at best. EBay simply withdrew the shroud and exposed it for what it was.
    There may be some market for pristine pieces still in the original folios, but otherwise eBay would be the guy's best bet. That or a collector with lots of money who's been under a rock for the last 20 years.
  8. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Thanks, Wally.

    I was restraining myself. Here's my story: a well-known wildlife artist up here asked me to take over her lines in 1998, so I mixed my framing with her prints and originals. We had a good run for two years, but when I saw signs of it dropping off, I expanded into every other line, including canvas transfers and the big-eyed girls, whose creator lives here. The wildlife category just died.

    Now, art is an afterthought, except for the kids stuff like Lora Zombie.
  9. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Most of these are pristine pieces in their original folios, which is why he's making the effort. I agree about the 'marketing-driven' comment. That which doesn't last might be valued in its time, but most folks buying these think they're long-term investments. I always told people they should only buy something if it made them happy to look at it, which felt more honest than suggesting it would appreciate someday.
  10. Sonny

    Sonny CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Does any of the older people remember the "Time Limited" Millpond editions? I framed a few for customers that were very expensive and in editions of close to 20,000. The distributor kept calling on me to buy them but I could not sell them because I felt it was stealing. Time has proved this to be true. I guess 20,000 can be considered "limited" in some places? Is Millpond still in business?
  11. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Most of those are wild life art and on the main market is worth next to nothing. I had hundreds left and what I did was frame them up and rented booths at gun show and sportsman shows and sold them there. Didn't make much money but I didn't loose any either - had a heck of a lot of fun selling them though, you meet some interesting people at these shows.
    shayla likes this.
  12. wpfay

    wpfay Angry Badger

    Millpond is gone.
    I jumped ship from the LER market when Greenwich Workshop started Subscription Editions with Bev Doolittle (limited time frame to place an order, and only pre-sold numbers were printed, so an instant Sold Out Edition). The first one wasn't so bad, but the second approached 100K. I had some customers scrambling for them and I was holding back. One actually took their Doolittles to the bank to use as collateral on a loan.
    shayla likes this.
  13. Sonny

    Sonny CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I had customers tell me they bought 3 of every edition because they were going to retire on them. The worst story is that I had a customer that was paying 1500 to 2000 dollars for "sold out editions" that he was going to double his money on. He sold a very successful business to an employee that bankrupted it long before it was paid for. My customer then opened a gallery because he believed the hype about ever increasing values. When I met him he lived in a huge house with a professional par three in his backyard so he could practice. His wife was driving a 2 seat Mercedes convertible, he drove a Corvette and there was a Land Rover in the drive for use when they had the family in the car. I did all his framing and he stopped talking to me because I tried to tell him he was crazy after watching him burn through hundreds of thousands of dollars on worthless limited editions. I tried to say in nicely but he got offended. I bumped into him years later and he was broke. His wife left him after the bank took his house and he was driving an old car and muttering to himself. This is a true story! I think it was kind of like a gambling addiction only with art.
    shayla likes this.
  14. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    Such Bullsh*it. ;)


    As Lou Reed sang: "...those were different times".
  15. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I frame a lot of the cruise ship art here so I spend a bunch of time biting my tongue. Have you ever read one of those PW Certificates of Authenticity.

    My favorite was a Chagall limited edition giclee. Tell me how many things you see wrong with the wording:

    Estate Edition Limited Giclee with Original Pencil Facsimile Signature

    Get yourself 20 Tarkay's and hold one on top of the other with a bright light behind it and you can see they are all pencil signed by a plotter machine.
    FM Framer likes this.
  16. Gilder

    Gilder MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    This is awesome!
  17. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    I've been framing for a fish and game club for 12 years. They have a monster annual Valentine dinner/fundraiser, with live and silent auctions, including lots of wildlife art.

    After 12 years, the organizer and I have agreed that wildlife art is dead.
  18. Michael A Slavin

    Michael A Slavin CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    When Lou sang those words I had no idea he was referring to the limited edition art market. Selling worthless offset lithos to people on the pretense that it is an investment who trust you is stealing in by my standards. The fact that there were so many publishers involved and the marketing was so slick does not give it credibility.
  19. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Pretense seems to be the key. To knowingly give a false impression, with anything, raises ethical concerns. I feel fine about the way we were at the past shop, because I never said they'd appreciate in value and made a point of stressing, 'only buy what you love'. But I've felt good about not being in the market in the years since.
  20. Michael A Slavin

    Michael A Slavin CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    The owner of our shop knew these prints would have no value from day one as did his employees. Most of us were artists and knew the pretty pictures were anything but a fine art print. Lots of people made lots of money selling signatures. The place I worked was not one of them. Sorry to sound smug but it was pretty clear to a lot of us who understood what real art is. It was kind of like that energy stock [can't remember the name] that everyone bought because the company told everyone how valuable it was. In the end there was no value only hype and the buyers lost every penny. The wildlife print market died for a reason.
  21. josephforthill

    josephforthill MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I just bought a limited edition print for its water-gilt, closed corner frame. 2002 price: over 1K. Consignment store price: 69.95. I'm going to use the frame for one of my paintings since it would cost me more than that for the gold leaf to make one.

    I hope the original owners didn't buy it as an investment (although to their credit, the framing was beautifully done).
    shayla likes this.
  22. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I did very well out of le's during the silly season in the early '90s. The main problem was that publishers got greedy and killed the golden goose.
    Many artists work was sold out prior to printing. Work it out: An edition of 1500 with a trade price about 100GBP. 150K. I remember a Bev Doolittle
    with a 'time limited' edition of 69000.
    Big profits.
    At one time the publication of a new print was an occasion. But the announcement of a new one before you got the previous one unpacked took the
    gilt off the gingerbread. Plus, dealers used to squirrel them away for a few weeks until the prices climbed - which created a false 'shortage' which made
    them climb higher. Eventually the bubble burst and dealers quickly unloaded all their prints (including moi). Loads on the market. I had collectors
    bringing them in expecting me to buy them back. There are one or two today that are worth having, but most you would struggle to give away.

    I can't remember the last time I had an enquiry about a le print. :(

    An artist customer of mine does do canvas prints limited to 50. And gets good money for them. 50 is what I call limited.

    A little anecdote. Back in the day I saw a copy of David Shepherd's Burning Bright (Tiger) in a local gallery window. Price 300GBP. I thought about buying it, but it wasn't there
    next time I looked. About six months later it re-appeared priced 900. It was the same copy as I remembered the number. The following week someone smashed
    their (huge very expensive plate glass) window and stole it.

    Shouldn't laugh. :rolleyes:
  23. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    We publish several artist's works as signed limited edition giclee's on canvas limiting the edition to 50 arabic and 5 AP's. Several of the artist's also have hand embelishments which we have an artist on staff perform. Artist's we publish are Thomas Easley, JalinePol, Sergio Martinez and Frederick Phillips. In addition we sell signed LE's on canvas in our retail gallery from several other publishers. Retail prices range from about $ 600.00 to $ 2200.00 unframed. They sell well and often sell out. We also sell Dr. Seuss art with some sold out editions running easily over 5K and up.
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