An artists proof set is identifiable by the special way that it is signed and numbered. Traditionally, an artists proof set was the original pieces created from a set of reproductions done from stone or wood plates. These highly prized pictures are still valuable collectibles in today’s market.
In the past, an artists proof set was the brightest and best of the painting reproductions. This was due to the fact that they were the first ones off the production line, so the colors were at their best. Because of this, and the fact that they are rare and were in the possession of the original creator, they are very valuable. In today’s market, they still fetch a good price. They are a small number of pieces from a subset given to the painter from the limited edition reproductions. Indentifying such a piece begins with examining the way it is signed and numbered. A pencil is always used to make these markings. Reproductions are numbered with a fraction in the lower left under the picture. However, these rare pieces are simply marked with an A/P designation in that space. On the opposite side under the painting, is the signature of the painter and sometimes the date of creation. Centered under the picture is the title in single quotation marks.
Pencils markings located under the painting reproduction help identify a piece as an artists proof. These rare pieces are special because of their unique connection to the painter. Having been in the possession of the painter, they are a valuable piece to add to any collection.