Why I Opened a Frame Shop


Standard Oil Company Stock Certificate

Standard Oil Company Stock Certificate

During the 1970s and 1980s, I bought and sold old coins, paper money and autographs for the enjoyment of handling historical items and working with people of a common interest.  Handling rare, old coins, paper money and related items was a thrill for me.

I would travel to shows in various parts of the U.S., buying and selling collectibles that dated back to the colonial era with other dealers and collectors.  This would allow me to raise money to fuel my hobby of collecting neat documents from times past.

It was during the late 1980s that I wanted to frame a few things and sell them or keep them for myself.  Since this was before the days of the internet and vast information readily available, I would go to the various libraries and seek proper information for my knowledge.  It was a very time consuming process, but I was also very serious about my business of dealing.

Armed with the information, I visited some local frame shops and discussed my venture and see if they would provide good prices, while giving me the quality I wanted.  After all, these items are old and important, needing care in handling and framing.

1783 Society of the Cincinnati certificate on vellum

1783 Society of the Cincinnati certificate on vellum










By now, we are in the later winter season of 1988.  I found out there was an excellent framing school  in New England.  Great!  Took a week off and went up there to learn what I could from a seasoned frame shop owner.  It was fun and very eye opening!

My first framing was a little nervous.  I believed what the frame shop told me in terms of price and his methods.  Though the price was a little higher than I expected, I felt comfortable about his delivery.  Great, let’s get going with these couple projects.

Two weeks later, I picked up the work.  Looked good.  I delivered one piece to one customer and kept the other for inventory.  Everything is fine.  Even had more work done by the frame shop.

Or, so I thought!   I get a call from the client.  “Can you please come by and take a look at my frame?”  These are words you never want to hear, especially your first project.   Of course, I will come by and take a look.

What I found out truly shocked me.  The stock certificate from the Civil War era was attached to the matting with masking tape and came undone!  Masking tape!?!?

This was not what I expected!  Face flushed in red, I took the piece back and profusely apologized.  This is not the time for explanations or but…but…but…

Needless to say, I did not bother going back. Not because I was afraid to confront the owner, but I believed it fruitless to do so.  What would I get out of it?  and plus, even if he said he would rectify the problem, would I trust him?

After a learning curve, and experiencing problems of quality, pricing schemes (why are you doubling the price now versus last month?), etc., it was time to take the plunge!  I was 25 years old and starting my own framing business.  Help!

Though I had ups and downs along the way, it was great meeting new friends, learning about people’s personal items they wanted framed.  Even about them!  The past 20+ years has been a real experience and blessing for me.

Giving people the quality they want at a price they find very fair means a lot to me.  Rarely a day goes by that I don’t enjoy my work. I live a few blocks away from my family.

If I can brighten up someone’s day enjoying what I do, what more could I want!

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