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Essential information for the collector

Defining a limited edition

As Swarovski collectors you are no doubt familiar with the concept of limited editions. But although you may be aware that objects produced in a limited edition automatically gain higher value and are much sought after, you may be interested to learn how such limited editions are defined.  Special terms are used within the limited edition market to distinguish each product These terms and how the relate to Swarovski are listed below.

Numbered editions
The manufacturer announces the number of pieces being produced as a new piece is launched. The object will be numbered on the back or the base, or accompanied by a certificate giving the limited number -for example, '1,001/10,000', or `number 1,001 from a numbered edition of 10,000'. Each Silver Crystal Peacock, for example, has its individual number indelibly lasered into the crystal.

Year of issue
This refers to the number of collectibles produced over a one-year period. Christmas ornaments are often dated and limited to the year of issue. Most collectors' societies offer club members the chance to purchase an exclusive piece during a designated year. The SCS Annual Edition is offered in this way and, like all companies, Swarovski does not reveal the number of pieces produced. Once the year of issue has ended, Swarovski refers to the piece as a Closed Annual Edition. Similar pieces include the anniversary Birthday Cake, launched in 1992 to celebrate five years of the SCS, and the 10th Anniversary Edition Squirrel introduced last year.

Manufacturer's retirement announcement
When a company decides to remove a collectible from its line it will usually make an official announcement through its stores or by contacting collectors directly. In 1988, Swarovski informed stores and SCS members that the Miniature Swan (7658027000) would be retired at the end of that year, giving collectors ample time to buy the piece before it was discontinued.

Special promotional collectibles
Most collectibles companies offer their members an exclusive members-only piece each year, but some also give their collectors priority on selected limited editions. In 1995 the Silver Crystal@le was offered to the general public in a limited edition of 10,000. The piece was so popular that Swarovski found it had to devise a new distribution system to ensure that its vast number of international members had an equal chance of purchasing such a piece. The solution was Swarovski's Invitation Draw system, introduced for the launch of the Silver Crystal Peacock, last year. The new system, pioneered by Swarovski, invited members to return special entry cards which were distributed with the Swarovski magazine. Returned cards were placed in an electronic draw, 10,000 names were electronically selected and the winning entrants were awarded the chance to purchase the Peacock. The response from members was enormous and the company plans to implement similar draws in the future as the system is unbiased to individual markets.

Limiting the number of pieces it manufactures enables Swarovski to maintain a manageable total in its crystal lines. The Silver Crystal range, for instance, averages 120-125 pieces despite new introductions each season. Swarovski announces the objects being retired at the end of each year in the January issue of Swarovski magazine. A final reminder appears in the October issue.

Whatever a manufacturer's method of limiting pieces, it undoubtedly adds value to a collection, so that it is as much an investment as a pleasure to look at for generations







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