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Where Many Framers Fall Short in Protecting Your Art

How Not Using the Proper Glass can Negatively Affect Your Art

It still surprises me that many frame shops think taking certain precautions in protecting one's artwork is unnecessary.

For example, most framers, even long time framers think it is a waste of money to put 100% museum grade cotton rag mat between the art and the final backing.  As a matter of fact, most framers just use foamboard products as the only backing.

Not only is foamboard bad for your art, but putting your art directly on foamcore with no inner backing, specifically rag board, is asking for trouble.

As I have shown before, over a period of time, foamcore out gasses and decomposes over time.  The product turns a brownish color and even brittles and will affect your artwork.

This is why many museum professionals, conservators and institutional framers advise against using any foamcore products, even so called "acid free" foamboard.  It will deteriorate over time like regular foamcore, but it may take longer.

Conservation Framed Abraham Lincoln Signed Document Dealing with Outbreak in Baltimore, Maryland

At Museum Framing, we use 100% archival grade inert polypropylene, also known as Coroplast.  This is a plastic like product that offers excellent protection, doesn't out gas and remains stable and constant over many years offering full protection.

As a matter of fact, collecting and dealing with historical manuscripts, I have had many older framed documents come into my path of business.  When I open the frame, I see no change in the materials and, more importantly, no change in the condition of the historical document.  The autograph is still nice, crisp and bold as I remember from years past.

However, one time, I was going to purchase a document signed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison that I remembered was offered by a dealer in New York a few years back.  At the time, I remember it had a nice strong signature and crisp engrossment within the body of the document.

How Foamcore Products Negatively Discolor and Brittle Over Time

When finally offered the same document, I noticed a complete difference in its condition as it was framed elsewhere.  The signatures were light, losing most of its bold ink and you could barely read the inner wording of the document because of the fading it experienced.

I removed the components of the frame and noticed two negative aspects. One, no UV protective glass and, two, the document rested directly on foam core.  Two no no's!

I told the collector I was not interested as it wasn't the same document I remembered from a few years ago.

Rare Henry VIII from 1528 We Are Preparing to Frame for a Collector

When I sent him pictures and he compared from the original lot description and photograph, he was visibly upset.  Being that it was several years ago, he felt he could do nothing.  He may be right.

The value of the document dropped a few thousand dollars in price and the collector was left with a less desirable artifact in his collection.

People! Please exercise extreme caution in getting your artwork framed by an arts and crafts store or a local frame shop unless they have a record of working on such important items.