Don't Assume Every Business that Hangs a Framing Sign Knows How to Frame

Abraham Lincoln signed letter as President

Before I framed college diplomas, corporate artwork and personal memorabilia, my main specialty originally was (and still is) framing historical art and artifacts.  This includes historical documents, antique maps, prints, collectible coins and currency.

My collecting hobby turned into dealing and and ultimately protecting and framing these unique and valuable treasures.  From coast to coast, I sold ancient coins in attractive, preservation oriented presentations that appealed to collectors and non collectors who enjoyed the beautiful displays with descriptive plaques while being conserved for many years of enjoyment.  We still operate that business, called Frameabilia.

Paper Money from 13 Original Colonies dated 1771 to 1785

Then people asked me to frame their examples or collections for their personal enjoyment.  Protecting these items for future generations to enjoy while maintaining their value was paramount.  Antique paper as well as collectible coins and currency are very sensitive and any improper handling and mounting can not only damage the items, but can also decrease their value dramatically.  And, not using the proper glazing (glass or acrylic) with 99% UV filtering properties will eventually fade or discolor the artwork or artifacts.

Why do you think museums use conservation framing in addition to environmental controls to protect their collection on displays?  And, know that such protective measures does NOT cost a lot of money or time consuming.  It just involves knowing the real professionals with the right skills and material use.

Don't assume that all framing businesses know the proper techniques to frame your diplomas, documents or artwork. and other important items. That's a bad assumption.

Decayed "acid free" foamcore resulting from outgassing

The first thing that one must know when framing these artworks and artifacts is to ensure they can be easily removed from the frame should the need arise. This is also called "reversibility".  In other words, any framed item should be able to be removed from the frame without problem. This could include if the owner wants to sell it, appraise it or inspect it.  Most framers use tapes, glue or adhesives which are not recommended and are harmful to the artwork or item.

Badly faded signatures of sports figures from non UV acrylic

In my many years in the framing business, the overwhelming majority of the framing jobs I have encountered have ended up harming the artwork or artifact.
This includes, but not limited to, mat burns, acidic mountings, fading from improper glazing and even damage from the framer mishandling (irreversible mounting) the object.

If you wish to protect and maintain the condition of your personal effects when framing them, then know your framer and make sure the framer can explain how he or she will handle and frame your item(s) in specific terms or show you the materials he or she will be using on your artwork or items.

After all, its what you desire and the framer should know and understand that without brushing it off.