Antique Architectural Prints
While most antique architectural prints are digital reproductions, there are some exceptions. If you find an old print that was produced in limited quantities, such as an antiquarian book or a hand-printed poster, it may be hard to reproduce digitally.
However, there’s no need to worry about this type of print if you can obtain your image from another source. Many businesses, museums, and private collectors produce images for free!
Historically, artists sold their work through local auction houses and by direct mail. Direct mail is still used today to sell posters and other decorative arts.
Many companies buy large amounts of print space each year to advertise upcoming events. So if you live near the area where the advertisements are being printed, stop into the library and look around online for sources of vintage prints.
You also have the option of purchasing low-volume editions. Large publications often contain exceptional examples of unique artworks prepared by experienced printers and publishers who understood the aesthetic importance of letterpress printing.
Volumes relating to historic locomotives, ships, armor, motor vehicles, and other topics include high-quality illustrations illustrating the text.
Definition of an antique print
An old print is one that was produced before 1930, or sometimes earlier. But here’s the thing: unlike vintage objects that are simply worth something because they were made in a specific time period, an antique print is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
That means no matter how much you might want to sell your grandmother her wedding dress, antiques aren’t like shares of stock; there’s nothing inherently valuable about them. It also means that while you may be able to sell your wife’s necklace from her childhood for enough money to make her happy, an antique print will always remain an antique print — beyond its current age.
There are many different types of prints, but most are divided into three basic categories:
- Original art painted on wood blocks (also known as etchings).
- Prints using other methods besides ink stamps, such as oxidization techniques where dye is sprayed onto the paper to create patterns through oxidation.
- Any printed image showing original artistic expression created when the printer had not yet learned their craft.
Price ranges of antique prints
While there are no hard and fast rules for pricing antiquedepending upon your audience and location, there are some general guidelines that helpus understand where copies should be priced.
Artists repainting an old master's painting can extend it's value in terms of collectors who want to own a work by this famous artist. If you add a signature or touch of yourself, then the value goes up even more.
Antiquing is very similar to updating a wall poster. You don’t do anything crazy like adding signatures, but we have updated older posters with new art or information. A lot of our antiques come from print publications, film productions or CDs; all of these areas contain fine art museums with exhibits made by professionals.
When selling antiques, we open with a description of the exhibit including any background info., Then we talk about the specifics of the item such as the condition and what it looks like because people might not know that an antique print has cracks or blemishes. I tell them if something is missing, how it was sent (by mail) and when it was shipped. I also list special attributes such as colors etched into the metal and textures within the material.
We usually close with a bit of explanation about why someone would seek out an antique print. People sometimes buy antique prints for creative reasons – they need documentation proving original construction dates or identifying marks left by unknown ancestors.
How to clean old prints
Sometimes, no matter how hard you press flowers or butterflies in your print, they come out dirty. Allowing dust and dirt to permanently settle on the printed surface can change the appearance of the image.
In order to preserve an antique print while maintaining its original beauty, you need to do two things. The first is to make sure that any mechanical treatment you use will not damage the print. The second is to be aware of the difference between cleaning and restoring.
Restoration is done by people who know what they’re doing; they are able to differentiate between materials and layers so they can replace damaged pixels with real artifacts from the era. When those things break down (for example, the plastic parts in photographs fade over time), they put new pixels into the picture to restore the original.
Cleaning is something most people try to accomplish themselves. They use all kinds of solutions for removing paint stains or as deoxidizer/fixers for metal antiques. But there are some processes such things cannot easily undo, such as discolouration caused by hand-printed images or fabrics.
Since it is difficult and expensive to chemically treat every square inch of a print, someone trying to clean up after everything else has been done should look at the back side of the picture. See if the backs of older pictures have anything important or revealing written on them. Also check price tags; many cheap reproductions will list “restorer”.
Identify your printer
You should know the make, model, and edition of your inkjet or laser printer for several reasons.
First, you may be able to obtain higher resolution images by upgrading not just your printer, but also the manufacturer’s software that produces those prints.
Second, knowing which printer you have will allow you to identify any files with print settings that are unknown to you. It will also help you avoid unnecessary expenses; since printers rarely change their price ranges anymore, purchasing a new printer with a different feature set is very expensive.
Third, if you need to return an item for some reason, knowledge of whose printer it was will help you do so. If someone else has it, you can easily give them a copy of the receipt.
Fourth, having information about your printer will facilitate business moves such as when we purchase replacement cartridges or go up graded (to newer models).
Finally, identifying your printer will save you considerable time because you don’t have to worry about misreading the manufacture labels located on common appliances like inkjets and toners.
Manufacturer and model number are two ways to identify your printer, however. The most common method is by looking at the buttons on the machine itself. Finding the right one doesn’t have to be hard....
Know your print medium
There are many types of antique prints, each one offering its own perspective on history or artwork. The variety in print media makes antiquing an activity for anyone who is interested in learning more about it.
Although you can apply digital tools to create images, the process isn’t the same as when you use pen-and-paper methods. You will need to put yourself into a memorization mode where you recall information from memory instead of writing it down.
This way you’ll be able to distinguish between then and now, understanding what people did not know that they should do today. You’ll also understand why they did things this way versus how else they could have done them.
A typical day spent antiquing might include visits to libraries, historical societies, museums, art galleries, workshops, etc., where researchers can help you unravel certain aspects of history. Heading out to see local archaeological sites also gives you opportunities to document early histories through photos and sketches.
These ways of approaching research make beginners feel comfortable and help them get excited about finding answers via inquisitive questioning. Plus, it saves time and money by narrowing down which places to visit.
Protect your prints
When people think of antiques, they imagine rare objects made for special occasions like holidays or weddings. Rare indeed, is an object that has been used in such commonplace ways as cooking food, holding meetings and having sex. But even though these items are common, that doesn’t mean their history isn’t precious.
When you buy things to use them for particular purposes, those uses become part of their history. What matters isn’t so much what something can be used for today, but how it was originally intended to be used. By preserving the original purpose of an item, you also preserve its historical value.
Many museums don’t accept pre-modern artifacts, for example, because they were never designed to hold modern materials. In most cases, if an artifact is valuable because of where it was produced or when it was created, then it cannot be accepted into a museum without significant modification.
Even if it will pass inspection at the museum, there’s still a lot of work to be done to ensure it won’t get stolen. Experts recommend using tags instead of labels, since tags can be easily replaced.
Visitors to any museum should understand that unless modifications are called for in design, doing anything more than replacing missing parts, chances are it would not survive outside the museum safely.
Know the difference between antique and antique-look ink
While both terms are often used interchangeably, they have different meanings and come from different eras.
Antiqued ink was most commonly used in copies of manuscripts before 2000. When you see antiqued ink, you’re looking at an old style of writing. Antiquing is made by using solid blocks of color to form letters and images. It was very common in books printed prior to 1700.
Take care of your prints
Printed images can be a lot of fun to look at, but they’re different than other forms of art. Unlike other arts, printed images are temporary – once you buy them, they cannot be resold again.
If you want to enjoy looking at art, invest in some painting or drawing supplies and take up painting. Once you have invested time in learning how to paint, wearing artistic clothing and making aesthetic decisions about what you will do with your home, you will find yourself having fun watching your paintings everyday.
For printed images, you need to know that there is no longer any such thing as an “original print” for sale. All “antique” prints were produced with modern technology and labor tables today.
A watercolor printer alone produces color images by spraying small dots of pigment onto the paper. Each dot is calibrated so that it comes out smaller than the one before it. The result is that the artwork appears more blended if it is looked at closely.
When you view antique prints from 100 years ago, these printing techniques were not available. They simply could not produce accurate reproductions then. You also cannot fully appreciate the beauty of the image until you understand why the artist chose to use colors specifically.