Photograph Authentication Process

To combat counterfeiting and provide peace of mind to collectors, PSA/DNA employs a four-level Authentication System. The process includes:

STEP 1: ANTI-COUNTERFEITING

Anti-Counterfeiting

Covert Tagging - Once the photograph is authenticated by one or more PSA/DNA experts, the item is marked with invisible ink which contains a synthetic DNA sequence/combination specific to PSA/DNA.

The DNA-laced taggant can only be detected in a scientific lab or with a proprietary infrared laser. In fact, by using the laser, the invisible DNA-ink will glow "GREEN." More importantly, the chance of replicating this exact sequence is 1 in 33 trillion!

Overt Tagging - A label bearing an alphanumeric serial number is applied on the back of the item in a discrete location away from any inscription, notes or stampings. Interestingly enough, this label was specifically designed to checkerboard when tampered with and can be completely removed! In addition, the label is non-destructive and does not harm your valuable item.

Photo Encapsulation

STEP 2: ENCAPSULATION (NEW)

Encapsulation service is now included in the PSA/DNA Photo authentication fee. All 8x10 photos submitted for authentication will now be encapsulated in our tamper evident photo holder. A Letter of Authenticity will also be included with any item with an authentication fee of $50 or more. A Letter of Authenticity can be purchased for $10 for items with an authentication fee of less than $50.

STEP 3: CERTIFICATION

Letter of Authenticity

Letter of Authenticity - For items submitted with an authentication fee of $50 or higher, a detailed letter on your authenticated piece is composed and issued with your item. The letter provides several security features to prevent counterfeiting:

  • Double-watermarked paper; simply hold the LOA against a lamp and look for the official PSA/DNA logo and a series of double helix DNA strands.
  • A detailed, color-changing PSA/DNA logo hologram embedded into the custom paper: not a sticker placed on top of the page, but rather actually part of the paper itself.
  • A high resolution photo of your encapsulated item.
  • Hand signature from one of PSA/DNA's representatives.
  • A report of the expert's findings.
  • Seven digit alphanumeric serial number that matches the tamper evident label.

STEP 4: DOCUMENTATION

Letter of Opinion

All authenticated memorabilia is available online for verification. Simply visit Cert Verification and enter the alphanumeric serial number.
The verification page will display:

  1. The Subject
  2. Type Classification
  3. The Item
  4. Authentication Location

Photographs that do not meet our requirements in our opinion, and are of questionable authenticity will receive a "NO PASS" designation. Thereafter, a Letter of Opinion (LOO) is returned with an explanation of our experts' findings.

Occasionally, our experts cannot express an opinion on a photograph. These will be designated as "Inconclusive" and a credit voucher will be issued in the full amount of the authentication fee. This voucher can be used towards future submissions.

Provided that the photograph is genuine, our experts will issue a Type I-IV Classification on your photograph based on its characteristics.

PSA/DNA Photograph Type Classification
  • Type I - A 1st generation photograph, developed from the original negative, during the period (within approximately two years of when the picture was taken).
  • Type II - A photograph, developed from the original negative, during the period (more than approximately two years after the picture was taken).
  • Type III - A 2nd generation photograph, developed from a duplicate negative or wire transmission, during the period (within approximately two years of when the picture was taken).
  • Type IV - A 2nd generation photograph (or 3rd or later generation), developed from a duplicate negative or wire transmission, during a later period (more than approximately two years after the picture was taken).