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Custom Framing May Cause Heavy Lifting From the Wallet

When a relative decided to frame a Pete Rose signed jersey – not game-used – for $700, I almost choked on my corn flakes.

It’s a reality in this hobby, sad as it might sound, but oftentimes the material we use to house our sports memorabilia can be more expensive than the items in it.

For instance, over the holidays I got together with my cousin – a moderate collector who purchases collectibles and novelties of teams and players of his choosing (Milwaukee Brewers, Arkansas, Dallas Cowboys, etc.). On a recent visit to Las Vegas, he ran into the Pete Rose signing shop and was surprised to find Pete signing away. He purchased a signed bat and Reds jersey. As an aside, if you are not in this hobby, I guess running into Pete Rose in Las Vegas might be a surprise and thus cause your wallet to be increasingly light in weight. For the rest of us, I would think not.

Anyway, after having these items sitting around for a year or two, he said he finally got the jersey in a custom frame this year. The cost? With a significant “discount,” the framing cost $700. Try not to choke on your corn flakes.

Pete Rose was a fine ballplayer, and his HOF merits have been played out in these pages for decades. But $700 attached to any Pete Rose memorabilia, minus game-used artifacts, would cause me to hesitate, to say nothing of paying that much just to display a Rose item. Perhaps I should find a new career in frame-building.

Custom framing looks amazing, I will admit. It’s just so hard to justify the cost at the end. When we ran an auction business here, there were a lot of framed pieces that came through the doors. Very nice pieces all, but some of them would sell for under $100, and I can only imagine the consignor was crestfallen, mostly for the fact that the framing alone cost multiple times that amount. If you have a collection and took the time to have some of the pieces custom framed, I’d be hard-pressed you’d get a fraction of that amount back when/if it came time to sell. Unless you’re holding signed pieces of some premier Hall of Famers, the math doesn’t add up.

But my collecting forays haven’t been about the end investment of what I have acquired. If I could afford to custom frame all of the pieces I want to, I would, no question. However, if I want to add more pieces to my collection down the road, I’ll have to refrain. My collection wants to grow, not stay static so a few of the “highlights” can look better in a basement that doesn’t get much outside traffic. But that’s just me.

Well, that wasn’t a cheery way to start off the New Year, but I was just taken aback by what my cousin invested into his Rose jersey. He’s happy, and in the end, that is what matters.