A true limited edition print in the art world is harder to come by than it might first appear. Many art buyers are new to the market and will perhaps only make a purchase every few years; it’s a very rare handful who can afford the luxury of buying regularly and building up the expertise this brings.
So how do new buyers know that the money they’re investing in art is justified? How can they be reassured that they’re buying a true limited edition print and not paying over the odds for something with little to no value?
Negotiating a Good Buy in a Dishonest Market
Unfortunately, too many people take advantage of the inaccessible nature of the art world. Ebay is rife with listings from sellers boasting that they have obtained a limited edition run of an image, signed by the artist themselves and for sale at an incredibly low price. The perpetrators are careful with their descriptions, often noting that the item listed is “hand-signed”, which it is, but by the hand of the seller, not the artist.
Sellers can print batches of these images after finding the picture online, sign the prints, pop them up for sale on auction sites and sit back and make a tidy and dishonest profit at the buyers’ expense.
Buying Limited Editions from an Art Gallery
At the other end of the scale are the gallery limited editions, which regularly sell for prices in the tens of thousands. These limited editions usually number under a dozen and investors making these purchasers can be assured that the work is genuine thanks to the contact with the gallery and sometimes the artist themselves.
What they can’t be assured of is their investment. Art is an unpredictable market, with popular artists and prints changing with the fashions. There is no guarantee that a print will increase in value, even if it was one of only five in the world and cost the buyer £10,000.
The individuals operating at this end of the market, either have the money to buy expensive art for the sheer love of the image and price is no matter to their wallet – or they are professionals with a real understanding of the art world. But even these people are making only an educated guess with their investment.
The time needed to research the art world to this level is akin to a full-time job and the ever-changing nature of the market makes it a constant effort. And yet many people want to purchase true limited edition prints without risking their fortunes in doing so.
Low Risk Genuine Limited Edition Fine Art
ONGallery is providing a new way to access limited edition fine art photography which reduces the financial risk to buyers and offers a guarantee that what they’re buying is a genuine limited edition. This isn’t the inaccessible world of high price galleries and it’s a million miles away from the faux bargain ‘limited editions’. These are true limited editions of some of the world’s most beautiful images.
Through years of building careful connections with world renowned artists and industry experts, the company is able to offer limited edition prints for sale for prices in the hundreds, rather than the thousands.
This is done by increasing the limited edition print runs of the image so that the number are in the low hundreds rather than dozens. By doing so, the artist still receives the money he or she deserves for their work but the market is no longer restricted and more buyers have the option of entering the market.
To reassure art buyers that their investment is the real deal, without demanding that they put tens of thousands on the line, fine art prints are sold with a Certificate of Authenticity. Usually something found in the most expensive of galleries, ONGallery’s Certificate of Authenticity is proof of the value of the buyer’s investment. It lists the size of the limited edition, the print number of this individual item, the title of the work, and the artist’s name and their signature (or in the case where the print has been acquired through the estate of the artist, it may feature the signature of the artist’s representative or agent).
The shift in approach is a change in the art world which is already making waves. Peter Neilson, founder and CEO of ONGallery, remarked: “We know how much limited editions matter in the art world, they are a hugely important part of the photograph’s value. But until recently, buyers were faced with an uncomfortable choice between the high prices of the galleries where art works came with guarantees of their authenticity, but prices were sky high; and affordable but unscrupulous online sellers, who offered far too many ‘too good to be true’ deals.