The vast majority of prints are works on paper, which makes them prone to water stains, fading, creasing, trimming, and other damages.
It’s rare to find a historic (or secondary market) print in perfect condition. So, before you buy one of these works, you should ask the gallery or auction specialist for a condition report. If the print you want is in poor condition, this doesn’t need to be a deal breaker. Oftentimes, these prints will be available at (or can be negotiated down to) much more affordable prices.
When you’re buying a contemporary print straight from the artist’s studio or print shop, you can expect the work to be sold in perfect condition.