Because we think knowledge is power, we want you to know everything about the terms we use on our website:
AP or EA: Artist’s Proof or Epreuve d’artiste
In the early days of printmaking, printer’s plates would wear down over time. Because of this, the first prints off the printing press were the highest quality and were designated “artist’s proofs”. The artist’s proofs were considered to be the best prints within the edition and often the artist kept them.
Technology has changed quite a bit since the early days of printmaking. Today, all prints within a run of off- set lithographic prints or Giclee prints will be identical in quality. However, the tradition of having a special edition within the edition has stuck around.
Today the value of owning an artist’s proof does not relate to quality, it relates to the importance of owning a rare portion of an edition. Most offset lithographic editions and Giclee editions include less than 20 percent artist’s proofs. Because the art world loves rarity and since there are fewer artist’s proofs than regular prints, they are preferred by many collectors.
Artist’s proofs are clearly notated on the reproduction. If there were 50 artist’s proofs, they will likely be numbered 1/50 A.P. to 50/50 A.P.
Most often they will cost between 20% and 50% more than a signed and numbered print from the same edition.
PP: Printer’s Proof
A printer’s proof is basically the same as an artist’s proof except that there are even fewer of them produced. They provide an even more exclusive opportunity for a collector to own something very unique, as they are given to the printer or publisher by the artist.
Traditionally, printer’s proof edition sizes are very small - usually 20 prints or fewer. They are usually numbered in the same format as the artist’s proof, (example 1/20 PP).
Printer’s proofs usually sell for the same price as artist’s proofs or perhaps slightly more.
HC: Hors Commerce
Hors Commerce prints, or HC’s as they are called in the industry, are very similar to Artist Proofs except they are only available through the artist directly. The artist receives these as a gift for allowing the publisher to print their images. The term «Hors Commerce» means «Out of Trade» in English.
Of all the «special prints», the HC are the most valuable, since they are more rare.
BAT or Final Proof
Literally, the “okay-to-print” proof. If the artist is not printing his own edition, the bon à tirer (sometimes abbreviated as b.a.t.) is the final trial proof, the one that the artist has approved, telling the printer that this is the way he wants the edition to look.
There is only one BAT for an edition, making it the most prized print of an entire edition.
Signed and numbered
This lets you know that this is a signed limited-edition reproduction. It describes a limited edition artwork that has been hand signed and sequentially numbered by the artist, usually in one of the lower corners of the work.
The numbering takes the form of a fraction, with the top number indicating the number of the image, and the bottom number signifying the total number of images in the edition.
Certificate of authenticity
A Certificate of Authenticity is a signed document proving the authenticity of the work and containing details about the artwork for the collector’s reference.
Every artwork we offer is sold with its certificate of authenticity.
Also known as retail price. This is the regular asking price of the artwork.
Art professional’s price
A special price offered to artworld’s professionals, such as art galleries or art dealers.