Proper Framing of Historical Documents, Autographs and other Antique Paper

Being a collector and dealer of American historical autographs and prints/maps for over 30 years gives me the utmost in pleasure of handling and owning these important treasures.  The thrill of seeing and touching such amazing historical artifacts is enough to get you goosebumps up my spine.  Yes, even after all these years, I never tire of the fascination of handling, framing or dealing in these manuscripts.

When you hold a document signed by Thomas Jefferson, Susan B. Anthony or George Washington, you wonder what they were thinking when they signed it.  But, incredibly, when they touch that letter or document, you are touching that same sheet that these famous people touched.  Wow!



Thomas Jefferson and James Madison signed document, 100% museum quality framed for preservation.  Jefferson signed as President and Madison as Secretary of State.

It is very important that one entrust the framing of these antique and valuable items to expert framers who have demonstrated many years of knowing of how care and display these items.  When framing early and fragile items, reversibility in framing is critical when preparing these items for display.   A document signed by Thomas Jefferson, for example, needs to be protected from harmful UV light, acid borne matting and environmental factories like heat and humidity.  The first two can be controlled by a framer with proper knowledge. The last two depend on you.

Deterioration, fading and discoloring from poor framing can rarely, if ever, be reversed.  And, if it can be partially reversed, at a very considerable expense.  There is no reason why one should trust anyone with the care, handing and framing of these unique documents to anyone.  Why pay some to harm your documents, antique paper or any other artifact you want framed. Doesn’t make sense?


Preparing a letter, document or photograph for display in a frame with museum grade materials will give the owner many years of enjoyment.  In this framing collage, we engraved a biographical plaque on black brass describing Bell and his history.  We used 100% cotton rag matting, safe reversible mounting materials and museum quality glazing.  Not following strict procedures can harm the item and eventually decrease the value.

Before getting your item framed, make sure you follow the following steps: 1) Know your framer.  Has he or she really demonstrated knowledge in the proper techniques in conservation framing?  Don’t just accept buzz words anyone can look up.  Make sure the framer really explains the methods without sounding condescending or patronizing. 2) Inspect their framing workroom.  Are good quality materials in good clear sight?  Does the work area seem organized? and lastly, 3) What kind of items is the frame shop framing?  Are they framing important,personal items or beach posters?  This will say a lot about their customer base and their experience.

Categories: Alexandria framing, Autograph collecting, conservation care, Conservation Framing, custom framing, Document Framing, Historical Autographs, Museum Framing. Bookmark the permalink. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.