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The artist's proof edition is a small group of prints set aside from an edition for the artist's personal use. All types of limited edition printing (etching, silkscreen, stone lithography, giclée, offset lithography, etc.) customarily produce artist's proof editions. P. Buckley Moss AP editions are small by industry standards - usually 10 for an etching and 25 for an offset or giclée edition.
Before the advent of offset printing, an artist's proof was usually one of the first prints pulled from the press and was used as a benchmark for printing the rest of the edition. Each print in an original print edition was hand-colored and hand-pulled, hence no two are exactly the same, even though the printer strives to match the proof.
By contrast, the prints in an offset edition are the same throughout, consequently the offset AP edition is not necessarily comprised of the first prints off the press.
Traditionally, each print in the artist's proof edition is marked AP. These days they are usually numbered, though this is a fairly modern trend. P. Buckley Moss APs were first numbered in the early 80's, before that they carried just the "AP" notification.