First, we have to look at where ‘Limited Editions’ began? They started in the early days of printing. The first copies printed were normally the best because the printing plates would wear out, go ‘out of register’ - lose alignment and the printer was more careful applying the inks at the beginning of a run. The Limited Editions were seen to be quality printing, the lower the number the better the quality. All very logical, but with the advent of computer-controlled digital printing there is no variation in quality, so there is no real need to limit editions, other than as a marketing ploy.But that marketing ploy can be far better delivered if the concept of Limited Editions is applied to fine art prints as it is to books. You can have a ‘1st Edition’ book that is number 3, but you can also have a ‘Second Edition No:12’ of the same book. The First Edition is worth more then the Second Edition and holds that ‘exclusive’ cache.
The same can be done for fine art prints, the First Edition can have seal embossed into the paper, and show the print number and the edition. This will give the artist the opportunity to offer two or more Editions, at different prices, without limiting the overall scope to sell as many prints as there are people wanting to buy them.
Other ideas include having the first 20 or so prints include a hand-signed biography/story or providing something like a sample strip of the paints used or a photograph of the picture being painted. There are many ways to create an exclusive run of prints without limiting your scope to sell your most popular work.