Not All Labels Are Created Equal3 min read

It’s no mystery collectors are passionate about their cards. They’re typically consumed with the condition and the preservation of their prized cardboard. The discovery, identification, authentication and, ultimately, the grading of their coveted cards intensifies this passion. The PSA holder and its accompanying label takes care of every security concern and has gone through its own metamorphosis to enhance each of these elements.

The label is your card’s glossary, so to speak. It includes all the vital information you or a fellow collector – who may want to buy your card – need to know when it comes to identifying your card. It reveals the year, manufacturer, player, card number, insert or parallel set (if applicable), grade and eight-digit certification number. But what goes into the production of the PSA label is what sets it apart from all the rest.

Anniversary marks upgrade

Aligning with the company’s 25th Anniversary, PSA unveiled a new look to its already industry-leading labels or “flips,” as seasoned hobbyists like to call them. That’s when PSA introduced new technology and a new look to its labels that made them not only tamper-evident but nearly impossible to replicate.

While the front of the PSA label maintained its iconic red border, the simple white background behind the copy evolved into special wave-like brush strokes of “fugitive ink.” This fugitive ink, which is the same technology used to prevent check washing, washes away if ever exposed to cleaning chemicals, thus altering its look and rendering it tampered.

At the same time, the PSA hologram that is positioned on the lower front center of each label was upgraded to include proprietary Lighthouse technology that creates an “on/off” illumination effect when tilted. The Lighthouse effect can be seen as the label is angled left to right, as the PSA logo will either hide or reveal the Collectors Universe “NASDAQ: CLCT” stock ticker symbol in the background pattern. Please note that since PSA’s move in February 2021 from a publicly traded company to one that’s privately owned, the logo will now reveal smaller PSA logos in the background pattern.

Reverse side also gets upgrade

Keeping in lock step with the label front, the reverse got a facelift as well. The company’s trademark blue still extends across the back of the label, while a large, centered PSA Lighthouse logo is flanked by a stylized “PSA” (instead of “Professional Sports Authenticator”) and a QR code. The QR code on the reverse of the label, when scanned using the PSA Cert Verification app, can access the PSA Cert Verification database to find pertinent details about the card or collectible in question.

The tamper-evident fugitive ink extends across the area just below the blue background to complete the back. The stylized PSA on the left side includes a surrounding ultraviolet PSA logo pattern that illuminates when hit with a UV light. What’s more, PSA labels are see-through when held up against a light, another telltale sign that it’s not a counterfeit label.

Show certification number proudly

In recent months, it seems more and more collectors are showing off their cards on social media but choosing to cover up the certification number on the labels. There is no need to hide the cert number; it’s there for substantiation purposes. It’s just another step in validating the card. Whether you are a buyer or seller, or just a delighted card owner, the cert number is there for collectors to plug into PSA’s cert verification database to make sure that it’s authentic before making an offer (if your card is for sale). Show it off proudly. It serves to alleviate concerns from potential buyers and could just help cement your pending sale.


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.

2 thoughts on “Not All Labels Are Created Equal3 min read

  1. thanks for the first submission will be soon. if all goes well,i have a very valuable submission to make is will here from me soon. dean

  2. I have a question if I have an old psa 10 with the old label is it worth regrading to get the new psa holograms? Can they downgrade my card?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.