Track Limited Edition Serial Numbers
Limiting the number of units in an edition is a good idea, because of the greater demand, price and appreciation potential limited editions enjoy. Traditional printing involved photographing the original artwork, creating physical lithographic plates and then printing a small number (50) of Artists Proofs, a few Complimentary Proofs and a fixed number of Limited Edition units. After the print run the plates and negatives were destroyed to protect the integrity of the edition.
Many Artists now sell limited edition reproductions using digital print-on-demand technologies (e.g. Giclee)
. These methods eliminate the need to incur much of the up-front financial investment and risk of traditional limited edition runs, because there are no plates or negatives required and the units do not have to be printed all at once. Since an unlimited number of identical prints can be created over an extended period of time, there are new challenges for maintaining edition integrity
in today's art market.
For the Artist, maintaining detailed records of serial numbers assigned to edition units has become an imperative, since it is essentially the only way to maintain the integrity of an edition. Informed Patrons insist on having the series size, printer, date and serial number of their piece recorded for posterity, both in the Artist's records
and on the Certificate of Authenticity
The Artist-Patron Register manages these requirements completely and automatically
. The key to the solution is management of both unprinted and printed units in Inventory. When an Edition record is created in the system, every unit of the edition is automatically created as a discrete inventory record. If the edition is printed all at once you select that option and all units are created with an "Available" status. If you are printing the edition on-demand, selecting that option creates all the units with an "Unprinted" status that you can then update as individual units are printed.
Inventory units are controlled with serial numbers
that correspond to the size of the edition. They are also given a unique inventory ID that ensures that all inventory units are accounted for by the system. The Certificate of Authenticity
produced when you sell an edition unit is cross referenced to the database and the limited edition unit serial number automatically, providing a secure and verifiable audit trail for every piece of artwork you sell.