Original Hokusai prints are far more valuable than reproductions due to their rarity and historical significance. Hokusai was a prolific artist who produced a large number of prints during his lifetime, but many of these prints were lost or destroyed over time. As a result, original Hokusai prints are highly sought after by collectors and art enthusiasts.
Reproductions, on the other hand, are modern copies of Hokusai’s original prints. While reproductions can be high-quality and visually stunning, they lack the historical and artistic significance of the original prints. As a result, reproductions are generally less valuable than original prints and are often sold at a much lower price point. There have been many restrikes over the years, for example, of Hokusai’s most famous work – 36 Views of Mt. Fuji.
It is difficult to determine the exact number of reproductions of Hokusai’s “36 Views of Mount Fuji” that have been made, as the series has been reproduced and reprinted many times over the years. But it is safe to say that most Hokusai Mt Fuji prints you see floating around eBay, or at your average art shop, are likely reproductions.
Hokusai created the “36 Views of Mount Fuji” series in the 1820s and 1830s, and the original woodblock prints were produced in limited editions. Even though, it has been said that the Great Wave off Kanagawa, Hokusai’s most famous print, was likely printed around 4,000 times. Many of these copies have likely been lost over the years due to loss, fire, and earthquakes. However, the popularity of the series led to numerous reproductions and reprints being made in the following years, particularly after Hokusai’s death in 1849.
Since then, the series has been widely reproduced and reprinted in various formats, including lithographs, offset prints, and digital prints. The number of reproductions and reprints made over the years is likely in the thousands, if not tens of thousands.