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  • Determining the Worth of Prints & Reproductions

    October 4th, 2011 · 9:14 am @   -  30 Comments

    For art collectors there is nothing more infuriating than finding a piece of art that you’ve been looking for, only to find out that it’s a reproduction. Consulting a qualified appraiser is the surest way to determine whether or not your treasure is a reproduction.  However, here are a few quick ways to spot a typical reproduction:

    Identifying a Reproduction

    1.       Determine what material the art is painted (or printed) on. If it is cardboard, fiberboard, poster board or paper (usually gray-colored material that’s thin and stiff but lightweight as well), then the work is probably a reproduction.  Most original paintings are done on canvas, wood or masonite panel.

    2.      Hold the picture up to the light. Sometimes, reproductions will use canvas to replicate authenticity, and it can be difficult to tell the difference. When you hold it up to the light and look through the painting from behind, however, check to see how evenly the paint has been applied. On reproductions printed onto the canvas, the “paint” seems to be applied evenly, and there is no overlapping. True paintings, however, will have a base coat laid down with colors painted over it. If there is overlap, then the painting could very well could be an original.

    3.      Look closely at the back of the painting or original print for copyright information and locate any labels that would indicate if the painting is a lithograph, print series or edition.. If you see a copyright symbol and date in small letters, it’s a clear indication that you’re looking at a reproduction.  If the work is an original print or print series, in most cases the artist will have a signature and a number, such as 2/30.

    4.      Use the magnifying glass to examine the differences between the printing pattern on a reproduction versus an original. Reproductions will often be printed with a dot matrix pattern or parallel lines.  You will not see the dot matrix pattern on an original painting, of course–it was created with brushstrokes.

    5.      Check the brushstrokes and texture. Manufacturers sometimes add a clear coat to the top of the printing as well as mechanical brushstrokes, which often don’t match the painting. Real brushstrokes follow the flow of the piece.  A brushstroke will leave a thickness of paint on the canvas for oil and acrylic works, while a watercolor painting will leave an impression on the paper. Use a magnifying glass to see any evidence of texture. Texture will reveal that the painting is an original work.

    Determining the Worth of Prints and Reproductions

    Some pictures are reproductions, which mean that they are photographic copies of paintings, often of famous paintings from museums. These are sometimes called ‘art prints’ or ‘posters’. Some are of high quality and are almost identical to the original. The majority of reproductions of famous paintings have little value. This is partly because so many copies of this picture have been printed over the last 180 years. Some reproductions of paintings do have commercial value, particularly if they were published as limited editions. Supply and demand may mean that they increase in value.

    Some pictures are artists’ prints (sometimes called original prints), rather than reproductions. This means that the picture is not a copy of a painting. Artists’ prints are not one-off pictures, but a limited number of copies exists. Methods of making artists’ prints includes engraving, woodcut and etching. Artists’ prints are not necessarily worth more than photographic reproductions. Signed limited edition reproductions of paintings by famous artists can fetch considerable sums, while amateur artists’ prints may have no commercial value.

    Limited edition prints are produced in limited numbers; this scarcity of supply can make them sought after by buyers. Some prints are produced in editions of less than 50, while some are from editions of 200 or even more. The number in the edition is often written by hand in pencil underneath the picture, or it may be printed at the bottom of the picture and be hidden by the frame. Limited editions are usually signed by the artist, which can help increase their value, particularly if the artist is famous. Some prints which are not limited editions are valuable, while some limited editions are out of fashion and are not sought after by collectors. Old cinema posters, for example, were not published as limited editions but can be highly valuable (if they are advertising famous films, are visually appealing and are in good condition).

     

    The value of a reproduction can also depend on the type of reproduction or print, for example:

    The value or price of a lithograph depends on the quality of the artwork, the quality of the paper and how successfully the print was made. The reputation of the artist who produced the print has a bearing on the price and so does the reason the print was made. Many lithographs were produced in order to inform the general public of how things looked before the camera was invented, and many of these series of illustrations are now quite valuable.

    Serigraphs can be even more valuable due to the extensive process of creating this type of print. It can take a serigrapher up to 6 months to produce 1 run of as many as 500 serigraphs of the same image. The paints, sometimes over 100 colors, are applied in single applications. One paint color must then dry for at least 24 to 48 hours before the next color paint can be applied. Serigraphs are also produced in much smaller numbers than lithographs, and they are as costly to produce, and as close to the actual original painting as you can possibly get.  Andy Warhol was famous for his serigraphs.

    Giclee printing is a fairly new process believed to have been first used in the late 1980s or early 1990s on IRIS inkjet printers.  Not as laborious as printing serigraphs, prices for giclee prints averaged from $50 to $1,000 in 2010, depending on quality, size, paper used, framing and other factors.

     

    To determine the value or price of a print or reproduction it is advised to seek out a qualified, fine art appraiser.  At MIR Appraisal Services our qualified appraisers and researchers provide accurate valuations based on comprehensive research and examination.

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    This post currently has 30 comments.

    1. Kate Welch
      July 26, 2014

      We purchased a Al Capp Serigraph 27 years ago. It is a 3 panel piece titled “One Fault” ( L’il Abner). We still have the reciept and the letter of authenticity from the gallery in NYC where we purchased it. There were 250 Serigraphs made of this 3 panel Serigraph and ours is #185. It is signed by Al Capp in pencil. The letter of authenticity states that the screens used in creating this edition were destroyed. We would like to know how to find out the value of this piece to make sure it is insured properly. I have been unable to find any information on the internet. If you could help us we would greatly appreciate it. Thank you, Kate Welch

        Reply
      • MIR Appraisal
        July 29, 2014

        Dear Ms. Welch,
        Thank you very much for your comment. Please contact us at your convenience and we can review our different service options relating to your serigraph. Our phone number is 312.814.8510 and our email address is info@mirappraisal.com.
        Regards,
        Kate

          Reply
    2. Nestor
      July 25, 2014

      I have a framed print by
      Gino Boccasile

      La voce che incanta Irradio
      1939 color offset lithograph

      24” x 46”

      How would I determine if it has any value?

        Reply
      • MIR Appraisal
        July 29, 2014

        Dear Nestor,
        Thank you very much for your comment. Are you able to bring your print in to our Chicago office? From there we can do more research if you would like it evaluated. Please give us a call to make an appointment or to talk about how to proceed via email if you are not in the area. Our phone number is 312.814.8510 and our email address is info@mirappraisal.com.
        Regards,
        Kate

          Reply
    3. kris
      July 15, 2014

      I believe I have a copy of a Sacred Heart painting. It has Octavio wrote at the bottom. It has Mary and Jesus together. I have done research and can’t find a painting by Octavio of the Sacred Heart. I was hoping you could shed some light on this for me.

        Reply
      • MIR Appraisal
        July 16, 2014

        Dear Ms. Kris,

        Thank you for your note. Please give us a call at your convenience at (312) 814-8510 and we can review our different service options relating to your item.

        Kind regards,
        Sarah Spieler

          Reply
    4. Esther
      July 8, 2014

      Hello, I found a old canvas add from the 1920′s, and on the back was a us patent #. Please can somebody tell me what and why it has a patent, and what does that mean for me?

        Reply
      • MIR Appraisal
        July 8, 2014

        Dear Ms. Florez,

        Thank you for your note. Please give us a call at your convenience at (312) 814-8510 and we can review our different service options relating to your canvas.

        Kind regards,
        Kate Brown

          Reply
    5. vanessa van dusen
      June 30, 2014

      Hello,

      I have a vintage De Corsi Entrata Del Lago Lithograph
      P510-2
      V3476-948

      wondering if it has a value? I live about an hour from Chicago

        Reply
      • MIR Appraisal
        June 30, 2014

        Dear Ms. Van Dusen,

        Thank you for your note. Please give us a call at your convenience at (312) 814-8510 and we can review our different service options.

        Kind regards,

        Sarah Spieler

          Reply
    6. Scott Silver
      April 9, 2014

      Hello. I have an obvious reproduction (based on this blog) of the famous Mother and Child by Gari Melchers. It is done on canvas and it is in near perfect condition. Whoever had it did some folding in order for it to fit in a smaller frame…henceforth the near-perfect status. What intrigues me is what is at the bottom. It says on the left side: Brushstroke Dimensions. The middle says: Mother and Child; Gari Melchers 1860-1932; Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago. The right says: made in U.S.A.

      Im trying to find out the value of this reproduction. I’ve tried to research Brushstroke Dimensions, which was owned by Universal Art Products inc. The strange thing is that the US Trademark and Patent office has no historic record of the company. Other than that, I haven’t been able to find ANYTHING online about the company. Do you know anything about the company who created this wonderful reproduction? Could you find out? That way you/we may be able to find it’s true worth (if any) thanks.

        Reply
      • MIR Appraisal
        April 9, 2014

        Dear Mr. Silver,
        Thank you very much for your comment. Are you able to bring your print in to our Chicago office? From there we can do more research if you would like it evaluated. Please give us a call to make an appointment or to talk about how to proceed via email if you are not in the area. Our phone number is 312.814.8510 and our email address is info@mirappraisal.com.
        Regards,
        Sarah

          Reply
    7. Joe
      March 26, 2014

      What would be the approximate value of a Leslie A. Wilcox print (of 500) of the Californian Clipper

        Reply
      • MIR Appraisal
        March 26, 2014

        Dear Mr. Cariello,
        Thank you very much for your comment. Are you able to bring your Leslie A. Wilcox print in to our Chicago office? From there we can do more research if you would like it evaluated. Please give us a call to make an appointment or to talk about how to proceed via email if you are not in the area. Our phone number is 312.814.8510 and our email address is info@mirappraisal.com.
        Regards,
        Kate

          Reply
    8. LUIS morales
      March 7, 2014

      I have a lithogragh of the first Superman comic action comics #1 the first superheroes comic printed the cardboard it’s on is a little rough around the edges but the litho itself is in excellent shape.

        Reply
      • MIR Appraisal
        March 7, 2014

        Dear Mr. Morales,
        Thank you very much for your comment. Are you able to bring these items in to our office in Chicago? From there we can do more research if you would like them evaluated. Please give us a call to make an appointment or to talk about how to proceed via email if you are not in the area. Our phone number is (312) 814 8510 and our email address is info@mirappraisal.com.
        Regards,
        Kate

          Reply
    9. Ann Ayres
      March 3, 2014

      I have a reproduction of A. D. Greer’s “First Light in the Rockies” that was done by Regency Fine Art, Ltd. There is a Certificate of Authenticity and it is 148/1000. Released date is Oct 1, 1984. I was wondering if it is of ant value?

        Reply
      • MIR Appraisal
        March 4, 2014

        Dear Ms. Ayres,
        Are you able to bring the reproduction to our office in Chicago? From there we can research it for you. Please give us a call to make an appointment or to talk about how to proceed via email if you are not in the area. Our phone number is (312) 814 8510 and our email address is info@mirappraisal.com.
        Regards,
        Sarah

          Reply
    10. Debbie Benson
      January 19, 2014

      I have a print that I purchased about 15 years ago in an antique store. It is titled The Country Store; which is which is written in pencil along with with the artist’s name, Jean Spiry and also says AP 15/75. I have googled everything I can think of and I can’t find any information regarding this print. I’m hoping you can assist with this matter or refer me to someone that can.

      Thank you so much,
      Debbie Benson

        Reply
      • MiR Appraisal
        January 20, 2014

        Dear Ms. Benson,
        Are you able to bring the print in to our office in Chicago? From there we can research them for you. Please give us a call to make an appointment or to talk about how to proceed via email if you are not in the area. Our phone number is (312) 814 8510 and our email address is info@mirappraisal.com
        Regards,
        Kate

          Reply
    11. Martin Amato
      November 6, 2013

      hi

      I have a Vincent Van Gogh printed copy of a women bent over either cleaning, washing in black and white also looks like charcoal.

      on the bottom it says copyright kroller-muller stiching otterlo (Holland) and Vincent Van Gogh Arenlezende Boerin 1885 Woman cleaning

      Also bottom right side it says printed in holland 2006A and on back in pencil it says 625 and 41/8 3/4

      Are these replicas worth anything?

        Reply
    12. betty goodwin
      July 8, 2013

      Hello I have a few different items, one is a large print of George Washington at valley forge etched by evans 1913, copy right by J.E Kelly in 1904 black and white, I have the declaration rice paper with many signatures. also gold etch prints by Lionel Barrymore.

        Reply
      • admin
        July 9, 2013

        Hello Ms. Goodwin,
        Thank you very much for your inquiry. Are you able to bring these items in to our office in Chicago? Please give us a call to make an appointment or to talk about how to proceed via email if you are not in the area. Our phone number is (312) 814 8510 and our email address is info@mirappraisal.com
        Sincerely,
        -Lex

          Reply
    13. sharon carpenter
      July 7, 2013

      I have a 1978 signed 109/171 Pink Tulip lithograph maybe a serigraph purchased in 1981. I have searched and have not been able to locate the value.

        Reply
      • admin
        July 8, 2013

        Hello Ms. Carpenter,
        Thank you very much for your inquiry, please give us a call in the office if you’d like us to evaluate your print for you:(312) 814 8510. You can also reach us via email at info@mirappraisal.com
        -Lex

          Reply
    14. Cindy
      May 22, 2013

      I have a limited edition 112/500 called No Sales Left by Sally Bourgeois, 1993. What is the value?

        Reply
      • admin
        May 23, 2013

        Hello Cindy,
        Thanks for your inquiry. We would be happy to take a look at your print for you, please give us a call to schedule an appointment or send us an email at info@mirappraisal.com.
        -Lex

          Reply
    15. David Severtsgaard
      July 29, 2012

      Iam wanting to find out the value of my limited edition print. It is “Sunrise at Gibbon Meadows” by Leon Parson 782/980 The original painting was commissioned to the state of Utah by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. It’s of two bull elk in a mountain meadow. Around the stamp in the frame of the print says Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, 000782 1984 – 1991 7th Anniversary Edition
      I did a large sales promotion in New Mexico for Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Bugle Magazine and for my efforts and the promotion being a huge success Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation presented it to me and the company received wholesaler of the year award. The plaque on the frame indicates this and I have a letter from Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in this regard.

      Anyway I was hoping you could give me some value of the print based the history Ive given you or if you could direct me to the right person or website to find out.

      Thank your for taking the time to read my request.

      Sincerely,

      David Severtsgaard

        Reply
    16. Kathy
      March 16, 2012

      I have painting “The Girl in Blue” how may I find the value. It belonged to my late aunt. Thank you Kathy

        Reply
    17. Harald Oyen
      February 14, 2012

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/48839892@N06/sets/72157626460124231/

      What’s next in finding out the artisit? I have paid once for a “maybe” response.

        Reply

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