AP or EA? The language of the Art world.

AP or EA? The language of the Art world.

AP or EA?, we explain some of the most common terminology you’ll find in print collecting. We hope it helps to clarify things, but please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further help.

AP (artist’s proof) 
Also sometimes called by its French name, epreuve d’artiste, or EA, this is effectively a test print for the artist to check the plate from which the final image is printed.
Ironically, in the early days of printmaking, these were often the best quality versions, as there was no wear and tear on the plates at this early stage. Usually the first 20 or so of a print run, numbered separately to the main limited edition run, they were often kept by the artist or sold later.
Technology has, of course, moved on, and now an entire run of litho or giclée prints will all be of the same high quality. Many artists, though, still enjoy the tradition of having a special artist’s proof edition, and the value of them lies not in their quality, but in owning a rare print. This rarity makes them much sought-after by collectors.
Artist’s proofs are clearly signalled on the reproduction. A run of 20 artist’s proofs would be numbered 1/20 AP to 20/20 AP (or very similar) and will cost rather more than a limited edition – perhaps an additional 20% to 50%.

What is an AP

PP (printer’s proof)
Similar to an artist’s proof, although obviously intended for the printer’s, rather than the artist’s, peace of mind, there will likely be even fewer PPs of a given print, giving collectors the opportunity to own something even rarer.
Usually numbered in the same format as the artist’s proof – so, perhaps, 1/20 PP – printer’s proofs sell for the same price as APs, or even slightly more.

HC (hors commerce)
Hors commerce translates loosely as ‘out of trade’, or ‘not to be sold’. These were very low edition prints sometimes used as exhibition copies, so wouldn’t be handled or damaged much, pushing their value up even more.

BAT (final proof)
The rarest of the rare, BAT stands for bon à tirer (loosely, ‘good to go’) and is the final trial proof, approved by the artist: this is the one that dictates how the edition looks. There is only one BAT per edition, making it the most valuable print of all.

Signed and numbered
A limited edition print should have on it somewhere – often in the bottom left- or right-hand corner – the artist’s signature and what looks like a fraction. 
Usually in pencil, this tells you what number, of a limited edition of how many, you are buying – so 7/50 would be the seventh print in a run of 50.

What is an AP

Certificate of authenticity
All of our artwork comes with a certificate of authenticity, a document with information about the piece, signed by the artist. It gives you confidence that what you are buying is genuine.

Collector’s price
Also known as retail price, this is the standard asking price of the artwork. 

Art professional’s price
The price paid by art professionals, such as galleries or dealers.

Still need some clarification? Get in touch with the Artmarket Gallery team on hand to advise you on your art choices. 

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