Latest Trends in Framing Sports Memorabilia

The National Sports Collectors Convention is the Super Bowl of sports collecting. The 41st National was Jul 28-August 1, 2021 at the Donald E Stephens Convention Center in Chicago (Rosemont) IL. and we saw some fantastic matted pieces at this years show featuring Crescent matboard. We talked to several leading framers who specialized in framing sports memorabilia and discussed the latest trends they are seeing in this segment in the industry.

Frank Martuscello is based in Waleska Georgia and has been a custom framer for 40 years. Frank does all the amazing framing for Stoner Sports and BP Sports.

“I love using Crescent Select or Moorman Suedes for jerseys and for shadowboxes,” Frank said. “And when I frame them I like to cut the matboard to create a nice shape around them, rather than just a rectagular shape showing the whole jersey.”

Frank has sport collector clients all over the United States that seek his framing skills. A client from Chicago just sent him a piece to frame that incorporated 26 signed hockey pucks. “I like to frame sports objects that are very deep –  client-supplied artifacts such as replica championship rings, replica mini trophies, signed shoes and balls, along with the flat items like signed photos. The depth between the mats is so eyecatching and adds so much more interest in a piece.”

Franks hand-cuts all his sports teams logos, and makes sure there is no wasted empty space in his mats. We really like how he adds stars to fill any voids in the composition of the piece he frames.

The trunk lid is from Heidelberg’s sponsored NASCAR race car that Rusty Wallace drove the year he retired. It’s an example of very large pieces Frank is asked to frame, and a great use of Crescent’s Moorman Suede matboard.

Nick Kucharski of Fat Apple Custom Framing in Boynton Beach Florida was displaying a large booth of incredible sports memorabila. One of the trends he is seeing is not showing the full jersey.

“Collectors want to get more on their walls, and not showing the whole uniform does that – making the overall piece not as tall. It also allows us to use a standard size of 32″x40″ matboard and not have to go to an oversize – which may not have available the exact color we require.”

Nick recommends incorporating photos when matting jerseys and adding team logos or icons to fill empty spaces.

“I definitely recommend the Crescent Team and School Color Guide for referencing the exact team colors for framing. Crescent Select acid-free conservaion matboard is a must.”

Nick also sees a trend of framing graded cards along with corresponding player photos or jerseys.

One of the leaders in sports memoraibilia framing is RJ Jacquez of Jacquez Art & Custom Framing based in Chula Vista, California.

“To us,” says RJ, “much of what we do is ‘Storytelling’. I always try to get to the real reason for why people choose us to frame their sports memorabilia and then make that the center of our creativity for that project.”

We love how Jacquez Art matted and framed the Rizzo jersey with the floating Sports Illustrated cover. “Often times a Jersey doesn’t need much more than a symbol (i.e. the magazine) that helps tell the story. Everything else is already there, the autograph and the inscription plus the two iconic patches on the sleeves,” expalined RJ.

“With the Hole-in-One piece we wanted to highlight what it’s like to hit that elusive hole-in-one and the customer told us that it’s about the only memorabilia piece that you cannot buy, but instead you have to earn. So we wanted to create something unique for him.

We used Crescent Golf Ball mat 9744 and added a golf course theme around it. Finally, we mounted the ball outside of the museum glass on a Tee and it worked out great. We love the quality of all Crescent’s products.”

“As one would expect,” RJ elaborated, ” Kobe Bryant Jerseys are something we do quite a bit and every new customer wants to get from us something unique and something we haven’t done before, which is a tough task since we’ve done so many, so we are always tweaking things around and trying new ideas.

This one here includes one of his most iconic photos, that to me symbolize his ‘mamba mentality’.”

Incorporating signed shoes into a framed piece is also a growing trend – shown above in the eye-popping Tom Brady piece RJ created.

Crescent’s official Color Guide Specifier is a great resource for identifying exact team colors. The Crescent Select sports line offers color schemes that match all major sports teams in the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL. The line includes the team colors for many colleges, as well. Crescent Select conservation quality matboards are made of alpha-cellulose wood pulp fibers and are acid-free and lignin-free throughout the surface, white core and backing. In addition, Crescent Accents matboards are available in three sports themed textures: basketball, football and golf ball.

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