PSA Card Holders: Innovation Leads the Way4 min read


Security is something we strive for in every aspect of our life. Whether it’s with our finances, our home, our family, we want the things we care about to be safe and secure. The same can be said with collectibles. We want to keep them protected from harm and maintained in the best condition possible. And that’s one of the many reasons why collectors turn to PSA.

The authentication and grading of one’s cards and collectibles can add enjoyment and value to your collection, but it’s more than that. We want our cards protected, preserved and safe for presentation. With that three-pronged goal in mind, people often decide to encapsulate their cards as a security effort to maintain the condition of their collectibles.

PSA has been innovating trading card security since 1991 when the company introduced authentication and grading options to the hobby. Since its inception, PSA has continued to develop advanced security features to provide collectors with industry-leading protection for preserving trading cards, tickets, unopened packs and autographs.

The PSA Holder: Stronger Weld Provides Durability

The PSA holder has gone through many iterations since its debut. It currently features specially formulated plastic with an innovative design that offers the strongest weld in the market.The holder is tamper-evident as a result of the sonic weld that seals the two parts of the PSA holder together. The result is a holder that is more difficult to chip, holds up better to drops, and more readily reveals any evidence of tampering. This is not only important for the customer’s peace of mind, but also for the preservation of the card.

For those curious, “tamper-evident” means that if someone does attempt to open the holder to get to its contents, evidence will be left that the holder has been compromised. This is different than if something was considered “tamper-proof,” which means the holder could not be violated at all. For multiple reasons, it’s important that the holder is not tamper-proof. For example, if the outside of the PSA holder is scratched or damaged in some way, it must be possible to safely remove the encased card, so a re-holder service can be performed without harming the collectible inside.

One way the PSA holder may show that tampering has occurred is by what is referred to as “frosting” along the edges, where the clear plastic starts to exhibit a cloudy appearance. In some cases, you can actually see minor fractures or cracks in the plastic as a result of the violation. This occurs when the sonic weld is broken.

PSA Labels Get Cutting-Edge Makeover

Three years ago, PSA also enhanced the security features found on the label placed inside the PSA holder. Not only did it gain new security properties, it underwent a stylistic, branding makeover.

When the PSA Lighthouse™ label was introduced in 2017, then-PSA President Joe Orlando (now President and CEO of Collectors Universe) said it was “the single greatest leap forward” in the company’s 26-year history. It was named in tribute to its leading security feature, the proprietary PSA Lighthouse logo that replaced the PSA hologram from the company’s previous label iteration. The proprietary technology produces an on/off illumination effect that when rotated provides a highly visible beacon to notify collectors of its authenticity. Due to the label’s technology, this lighthouse effect is virtually impossible to replicate.

What’s more, within the labels’ iconic red borders are specially developed brush strokes of fugitive ink that fill the white background. Fugitive ink, which is used to prevent check washing, will dissolve and wash away when exposed to cleaning chemicals which makes tampering with the label a useless pursuit.

On the label’s reverse, over the company’s trademark blue, rests another large, centered PSA Lighthouse logo. To the left is a foil PSA logo that when illuminated with an ultra-violet light reveals additional, smaller PSA logos. To the right is a QR code that when scanned by the PSA Certification Verification app provides the item’s precise details: cert number, grade and population data. Finally, a strip of tamper-evident fugitive ink rests below the blue background.

SecureScan Imaging: The Next Step in Security

Since 2019, PSA has been offering a cost-free “SecureScan” service to orders submitted at the Regular service level and higher. The imaging feature involves taking front and back scans of PSA-encapsulated items with high-resolution scanners and making those images available to its customers on the PSA website.



PSA images the collectibles (cards, tickets and packs) and uploads them to its online Certification Verification site for documentation purposes. The free service provides collectors with high-quality images to use either on the PSA Set Registry, for marketing possibilities or for personal reasons including insurance purposes.

Rest assured, if you have collectibles worth protecting, PSA encapsulations is one important step you should consider taking. Protection, preservation and presentation, all rolled into one. Visit the PSA Security page to see more examples of how PSA keeps your cards safe and secure.


Posted by Terry Melia

Terry Melia is a hobby veteran who has served in various PR, marketing and content roles for industry movers and shakers including The Upper Deck Company and SCP Auctions and is currently working as PSA's Public Relations and Content Specialist.

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