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Trading Artists Art Cards and ACEO

Updated on April 29, 2015
Angel Art Card
Angel Art Card | Source

The Difference Between Art Cards and ACEO

There is a difference between art cards and ACEO (Art card editions and originals) despite the fact that the medium used to create these collectible works of fine art are the same. Art cards and ACEO are produced on paper that measures 2 1/2" x 3 1/2". This is the same dimension as a baseball card. However, art cards are meant to be traded and ACEO are bought and sold. How did this difference between the two cards happen? Well, it did not happen overnight. In fact, artists' trading cards existed well before ACEO while ACEO is a rather new movement.

"In 1997, a project known as Art Trading Card (ATC) began. Most would credit reviving the ATC trading sessions in the modern era to M. Vänçi Stirnemann, who began trading sessions in Zurich, Switzerland. The idea behind this project was for artists to meet with one another and trade their art. ATCs were NOT to be sold! In the early 2000′s, it was the ACEO that started initiating the buying and selling of art cards."

Believe it or not art cards have been around since the 16th century. Portraits were painted on very small canvases on behalf of a Lord or Master who hired an artists to paint a portrait of their loved ones to be carried with them on long jouneys.These small portraits were always sold. The idea of trading an art card did not happen until the 17th century. Both the French and English started to put small advertisements on the back sides of these tiny art works. The Impressionist painters used the cards in the same way that business cards are used today. The cards allowed people to become familiar with an artists work without journeying to a gallery and gave them contact information for the artists at the same time therefore serving a duel purpose. Often an Impressionist would trade these cards for painting supplies or food. They would also sell them for small amounts of money.

An interest in collecting art cards was revived again on Ebay in the early 2000s. Many people collect this little gems of art. Prices range from ten dollars to hundreds of dollars. Trading cards is still popular and many art card trading groups can be found on social media sites like Facebook. Many art galleries and museums often have exhibits of art cards. More information on art cards can be found at

Garnet Pitta ACEO
Garnet Pitta ACEO | Source

How to Trade Art Cards

Trading art cards has become a popular activity on social networking sites. Facebook has several groups designed just for trading. Trading art cards is a process that can be done in several simple ways. On social media sites, artists interested in trading will often put up a simple post in the group forum stating what they have to trade and what they are looking for in return. You trade cards simply by responding to their offer and mailing your small piece of art work to them. They will mail you a piece of their ATC work in trade..

Other trades are completed by a moderator in an ATC group who will announce an upcoming trade. These trades are usually themed. For example, a moderator might announce an ATC trade in the theme of snow globes or antique cars and set a deadline for the trade. A due date is scheduled for receiving your completed ATC by mail . You mail the snow globe or antique car ATC of your design to the moderator and then he or she will divide up the cards and remail one back to you. You receive a card designed by a fellow conrtibuting artist. Groups on Facebook are easily joined. Try Artists Trading Cards, ACEO & ATC Artists and Collectors for more information on trading art cards.

The third way to trade is to actually attend an Art Card Trading Show. These shows are similar to home shows or bridal fairs in that they are usually held in convention centers or stadiums. Some time the venues are not so large and may be held in a small place like a pub or restaurant. Whether the event is large or small, an Artists Trading Card swap meet is a great way to meet people with interests similar to your own and to have some fun trading cards. The original website for swap events is The website gives dates and locations for art card swaps all over the globe and has a great picture gallery of ATC.


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    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Very interesting, This is new to me.

    • lpanfil profile image


      8 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      Look forward to more hubs! I started a binder to keep track of all my ideas I haven't gotten around to. Ahhh some day.

    • cabmgmnt profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Northfield, MA

      I intend to write more about groups to join so stayed tuned. I know what you mean. Time is a precious commodity. I wrote a list of over 100 articles/hubs I would like to write and wondered how long it would take me to get done. One day at a time.

    • lpanfil profile image


      8 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      I’ve always wanted to participate in an ATC group. So, many ideas so little time!


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