Not in the slightest. Works are printed one at a time, and each is assigned an individual number, but the print labeled “1/100” has the same value as the print labeled “100/100”.
“There’s the myth that’s floating around that we’re always trying to dispel: that a lower edition number is better,” says Slattery of Two Palms, which is a reliable presence at fairs such as Art Basel in Hong Kong and The Armory Show, and has collaborated with artists such as Koons,
on exclusive new prints, which range in price from $2,500 to $100,000.
“The misconception actually dates back to more than 100 years ago, when prints were made using copper plates,” explains Slattery. “Because copper is a soft metal, as the edition was printed, the plate would compress in the press, and so the higher edition numbers would lack some of the detail of the first few editions.”
Some presses no longer use copper, and instead use steel-plated copper plates to make sure no detail is lost, Slattery explains, and the updated process is able to create editions where each work is perfectly identical, rendering them equal in value, as long as they don’t get damaged.
Oftentimes editions are not numbered in the order in which they were printed, further deemphasizing the idea that an edition with a lower number is more valuable. “People still think that getting the first or the second edition is going to be worth more, or [that] it’s a better print, but that’s not the case,” Slattery says.
After the full printing, the gallery goes over all the prints to make sure they are all identical, and the artist authenticates them as their work, all of it, equally.