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Proper Framing of Historical Documents, Autographs and other Antique Paper

Being a collector and specialist of historical autographs, prints and maps for over 30 years, it has been my pleasure of handling and owning these important antique treasures.  The thrill of seeing and touching these amazing historical artifacts is enough to get you goosebumps up your spine.  Yes, even after all these years, I never tire of the fascination of handling, framing or dealing with these manuscripts.

When you hold a document signed by Thomas Jefferson, Susan B. Anthony or George Washington, you are actually viewing a document these famous people touched, viewed and signed.  How incredible is that?  Wow!

Being that these pieces of paper are historical, one of a kind and valuable, its important you frame this items very carefully and that the framer can be trusted to use the proper materials and techniques in doing so.  Any inferior methods employed by the framer can be harmful to your document and lessen its value and aesthetics.  Please adhere this as I have been framing for over 30 years and I have seen documents and other important items deteriorate through improper framing.

It is very important that one entrust the framing of these antique and valuable items to genuine expert framers who have demonstrated many years of knowing of how to care, handle and display these items.  When framing early and fragile items, reversibility in framing is critical when preparing these items for display.  Reversibility means the item can be removed from the framing without harm or negative effects.  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 knowledgeable in framing important personal and historical items or just routine beach posters?  This will say a lot about their customer base and their experience.

In the end, do research before settling on a framer.  Make sure there is real experience behind the framer and genuine concern for your collectibles.  After all, you are paying hard earned money for the framer's services and you are entitled to what you are buying.

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