Taking My Hacks

PSA Holders Get a Subtle Makeover

Joe Orlando

A few years ago, we decided to revamp and improve some of the security features related to our PSA/DNA Authentication Services process. Those new features included things such as the new embedded hologram for use on our certificates and letters, as well as superior watermarked paper. As usual, it took some time to find the right design, from both an aesthetic and functionality standpoint.

Once we completed that project, it was time to focus on the variety of holders PSA uses. While the holders are primarily used for trading cards, these holders are also used for a host of other things like tickets, autographed items and packs. There are literally dozens of different sizes. When you consider PSA has been around since 1991 and has graded over 20 million items, this process was one that had to be approached with care. To put things in perspective, I was still in my late-teens when PSA first opened its doors. That was a long, long time ago!

A lot of plastic has been used in that time as well. It was imperative that we found a way to preserve the PSA look, our recognizable brand, while improving the holders at the same time. Well, fast forward to the present, our staff believes we have achieved that goal after much deliberation. Over the next few months, you will notice subtle changes to the PSA holders as each one is completed and put into production. Since the manufacturer can only make a certain number of holders at a time, the new versions will have to be slowly introduced as we also deplete the old stock of holders.

On their face, the old and new holders look virtually identical. In other words, in a scan, the front of the holder retains the familiar PSA look. It's the construction on the side of the holder and the way it functions that clearly separates the two versions. Most of the old PSA holders were constructed in such a way that the two components, the male and female parts, met in the middle where the sonic weld took place. Along the edges of the holder, where the two parts come together, you will find a groove that extends around the perimeter of the plastic.

The new holder is different. Instead of two pieces meeting in the middle, now, the top piece envelops the bottom. This removes the groove that existed along the edge and leaves a smooth appearance around the outside instead. In addition, while the new holder is slightly thicker, the new holders have a stackable reverse which works with old holders as well. In other words, even if you mix old and new holders, they can still be stacked together.

Furthermore, we also decided to upgrade the reverse of the PSA labels from a simple silver foil stamp along the back to a new reflective hologram. The new holder is stronger, provides better security and, in our opinion, actually looks slightly better as well. Change can often be challenging for a variety of reasons. That is why our team took their time, like they did with our PSA/DNA security revamp, to produce the next generation of PSA holders. Our team listened to suggestions from customers and tried to incorporate as much of that feedback as possible during this important process. 

In the coming months, PSA will be running a very aggressive re-holder special for those who wish to have their items placed in the new and improved design. In addition, you may have already noticed some of these new holders entering the market. The first two holders created using this construction were the holder for standard-sized cards and a new holder for thick, modern patch cards.

We believe in reinvesting in our products because that means we are reinvesting in you, the people who make PSA the #1 authentication and grading company in the business. Thank you for your support. We look forward to serving you in the coming year.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief