Is the original framing important?

L.S. Lowry

R.B.A., R.A.

In the 1970s there was little conservation framing or specialist glass.
Many of Lowry's signed limited edition prints were framed in poor quality aluminium or cheap wooden frames.
There is no financial or conservation benefit of keeping the work in its original frame.
In fact much better to make use of today's acid free conservation framing and UV protecting glass.
It is the work that is important.. not the frame.
Confusion occurs when galleries suggest that it is more valuable in its original frame, similar to keeping the original parts on a classic car for example.
This is certainly not the case, and misleading.

54 signed limited edition titles have been produced using photo lithography
When published each print is identical
There is absolutely no difference in quality or value in any particular print number

The most important point, is the condition of the work and how it has been cared for over the last 40-50 years
Some inks can be of poor quality, and fade quickly under sunlight.
This fading cannot be reversed

Original etchings and old silkscreen prints produced by hand have created the idea that some work ie. low numbers in the edition are more valuable
This is due to the printing process where the plates are inked, and it is suggested that earlier numbers could be slightly clearer than the later ones.
Some sales people can unwittingly confuse a client by implying one number of a photo litho is better or more valuable than another
This is completely incorrect.

Conservation framing and 'museum' UV blocking glass was rarely in the 1960's and '70's
Prints were often attached to the mount with sellotape (not acid free tape used frequently today)
The print was often stuck onto board using glue and a heat press
Its life from publication to the present day is the most important factor of any print
If it has survived the last 50 years and is in good condition with strong original vibrant colours
then it will probably be fine for the next 50 years, as long as it is kept away from strong sunlight and damp
Normal 2mm. picture glass cuts down UV by 50%, so with double glazing it is generally quite safe
UV is not particularly expensive (approx. twice the price of 2mm. glass), so if you wish to be 100% sure it is a good option
Museum glass cuts most of the UV and has non-reflective properties too
This gives a superb effect, but comes at a cost.
Museum glass for a good sized picture could be £200-300

The number of prints in the edition, does have a certain bearing on value
But this has to be weighed against the subject matter
For example 'The Cart' 850 edition will always be more valuable and sought after than 'The Lowrys' 300 edition.