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How To Tell The Different Between A Reproduction And Original Antique Print

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If you are interested in purchasing an antique print, you need to know the differences between an original and a reproduction before you go shopping. Although reproductions can also be antiques, they do not have the same value nor should you pay as much for a reproduction of a print, even if it is an antique reproduction. Here are a few differences you need to know about original and reproductions antique prints.

The Printing Methods Are Different

The first thing you need to know is that there should always be a way to tell the difference between an original and a reproduction because the printing process is different for each type of print. Reproductions are made using a photo-mechanical process that is different than how the original print is created. The key to identify when a print is a reproduction and when it is an original is knowing the differences between these two production methods. These differences will be explained in more detail below.

Look For A Dot-Matrix

Reproduction prints are made using either a dot-matrix or a half-tone process. Both of these methods use small, tiny dots to recreate the original image. You may not be able to see these dots when you just look at the reproduction with your naked eye, which is why you should carry a magnifying class with you when you are shopping for antique prints.

If you look under a strong magnifying glass, on a reproduction you will see lots of tiny little dots that make up the larger image you see with your naked eye. They dots are generally symmetrical. If you look at an original print, you will not see this dot pattern when you examine the print with a magnifying glass. 

Look For A Plate-mark

The next thing you need to pay attention to is plate-marks. There are some types of original prints that should have plate-marks and others that should not.

Intaglio prints, which include mezzotint, etching, engraving, etc., should have plate-marks on them. Plate-marks go around the entire print and are like an outline on the paper. Additionally, on an original intaglio print, the ink itself should also be raised off the paper. If you run your fingers across it, you should feel a difference between where the ink is and where it is not. If the ink is smooth, it is not an original intaglio print.

On the other hand, you should not see a plate-mark on lithographs, woodcuts or wood engravings. If you do see a plate-mark on these types of prints, then the product you have in your hands is probably a reproduction and not an original.

Make sure you look closely at any antique print you are interested in purchasing. Pay attention to how the ink looks and feels. Although antique reproductions can also be beautiful, you shouldn't have to pay the same money for a reproduction as you do for an original. Make sure you know what you are purchasing before you hand over any money.

For more information, contact Davis & Associates-Marc Davis or a similar organization.