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Selling Unsigned Prints After Artist Dies

Discussion in 'Art Matters & News' started by shayla, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    In 2000, a local artist ran off 500 posters, signed and numbered half of them, and sold them around town. Between our gallery and another local place, around half sold in the next decade. He then came got Alzheimers and died, at which point his son took over the estate. Half of the prints are still there, unsigned, and for two years since his death, nothing has been done with them. These aren't high end things, having sold for $50.00 each signed and numbered, but we still want to honor the spirit of it. I'm curious as to whether it's considered okay to go ahead and sell the unsigned/unnumbered prints at a lower price, to differentiate from those that sold for more, or if that's unacceptable.
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  2. tedh

    tedh SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I would talk to the son, and see if he has any idea of what his dad's wishes were wrt the owners of the signed prints. I would do nothing until I had direction from the son.

    We went through this with Brenda Carter's work. She's a noted wildlife artist who passed away about five years ago.
    AaronF and Dave like this.
  3. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    If the original prints were sold as an edition of "500 posters, signed and numbered" representing an edition of 500, I would say it's not cool to sell the rest as unsigned/unnumbered. That would devalue the original 250 that did sell.
    AaronF likes this.
  4. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I don't think it would be out of order for a family member to sign certifying they were part of the original limited edition of 500.

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  5. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I wouldn't do anything either without talking to the son first.

    Maybe just number the prints, but not signing them would be an option?
  6. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    They should be marked as "posthumous edition of ..." or "estate edition of ...). There were printed by a commercial printer to the artist specifications.
  7. Justan2

    Justan2 Guest

    Talk with the family and suggest they have a high quality stamp made of dad’s signature and then stamp and sell the remainder.

    The family may have many more of dad's works on hand.

    This is nothing new.

    As an aside it's possible to find authentic works by Thomas Kinkade made after his passing which bear his signature.
  8. Daniel Smith

    Daniel Smith Grumbler

    "As an aside it's possible to find authentic works by Thomas Kinkade made after his passing which bear his signature."

    Ah, but does the signature still have his DNA in the ink?
  9. CandyB

    CandyB True Grumbler

    I purchase and sell prints from someone who has passed away. The son is who I buy from. He signs and numbers the print. There is a small bio that has the explanation.
  10. Randyman

    Randyman Grumbler in Training

    IMO the people who bought the S/N versions would be bent if the remaining prints were dumped at a discount. They paid a premium based certain terms (i.e. the artist would sign them and there would never be more than 500 copies in circulation). However, it might be possible --as someone suggested-- to number the remaining prints and include an explanatory COA as long as they were sold at the same price. The previous buyers would likely feel their copies had more value by virtue of being hand signed by the artist. However, it's nearly impossible for limited editions to appreciate in value these days.
    romanf likes this.
  11. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I recall my father buying an artist's unsigned watercolors after her death. Either he or her family created an "estate stamp" which was stamped somewhere (front or back) which was a replica of the artists signature. Maybe other info.

    So, possibly something like that can be arranged.
  12. freakquency

    freakquency SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    50$ signed vs. 20$ unsigned..... :::shrug::::
  13. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I believe the first question is who owns / has title to the prints? Do you own them? Does the estate? Does the Son? Are there siblings or others that have an interest in the estate? Once this is clear, it is easier to answer the question.

    For example, if the estate owns them, when the estate closes, who do you send the money to? And if the estate is large, then there become additional tax and inheritance issues.
    The Art Appraiser likes this.
  14. Donald

    Donald Grumbler

    Nothing new. I run across this all the time.

    S/N edition versus Open edition.

    Kinkade is a great example of this. How many unsigned pieces of his stuff do you see on a regular basis?
    Wyland is another one.

    Nuff said.
  15. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    been a while, but often posters offered either way. Might suggest if 'value' of signed poster really a variable, destroy unsigned. I suspect there probably is not much value either way. Sell 'em for market value

    what did 'signed' posters sell for?
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