What are Prints and Posters?
Posters and Prints are reproductions of an original piece of artwork. The original artwork is the piece of paper that has the watercolor painted onto it, for example. Any time an originial artwork is reproduced, whether by a photocopy machine, a scanner, or expensive print making equipment, a "reproduction" is created. The value of the reproduction is dependent upon the quality of it (among other factors like how scarce it is and the reputation of the artist), the best quality being achieved by using more expensive reproduction equipment and/or with the artist supervising the process.
The original itself is more valuable than a reproduction but, of course, there is only one. The next most valuable type of art to own, if you can't afford an original, is a high-quality print that was supervised by the artist and among a limited number made. These are available through rare print dealers (see list below) and are appropriate for someone wanting great-looking artwork that will probably appreciate in value.
The posters available through companies like AllPosters.com are reproductions made in large quantities, generally not under the supervision of the artist. This type of reproduction is appropriate for someone wanting great-looking, individualized artwork without having to spend a lot of money.
I have all three types on the walls in my home, original pieces, limited edition prints, and mass quantity production prints. My only requirement is that whatever goes on my walls be personal and have meaning to me.
The terms "print" and "poster" are often used interchangeably, but there is a technical difference between artwork that is reproduced under the supervision of the artist and artwork that is mass-produced.
An original-edition print is similar to a first edition printing of a book, while posters are similar to mass (subsequent) printings of a book. While an original edition print, in the case of an artist working in earlier centuries, is an antique (and have the potential to increase in value), posters are generally not antiques and have little or no potential to increase in value. There is, at times, not a great difference in cost between an original edition print and a poster. In such cases, the original edition print is much preferrable over a poster.
If you are interested in collecting antique and rare prints, see the following resources:
|Websites at which original prints may be purchased: |
||Carries "a large stock of very fine Antiquarian Natural History books, ranging from colour-plate books to early herbals, classics on geology andpalaeontology as well as travel and scientific voyages."
Most of the collection is pre-1850.|
||Carries "antique prints and maps published during the 1800's and early 1900's." Specializes in Americana.|
||Carries "original etchings, lithographs, watercolors, paintings, drawings or other mediums of original graphic art from the Renaissance period to contemporary art."|
| Prints Old and Rare
||Carries antique maps, prints and books over thirty years old.|
|For more information, see About Collecting Prints|