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Original Photograph Authentication

A photograph may be worth a thousand words, but it can be worth even more with PSA certification. That is why so many collectors trust PSA to authenticate their original photographs.

As original photos continue to grow in popularity, it is more important than ever to know what ‘Type’ of photo you have. Plus, with PSA’s industry-leading encapsulation services, collectors are assured that their prized photographs are preserved for generations to come.

Put the power of PSA behind your collection and submit your original photographs today.


Submit in four easy steps

Submission Form

Download and print the submission form.

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Submission Price

Determine the price of your original photo submission.

Check Price

Shipping Charges

Determine your return shipping charges.

See Shipping Cost

Packaging Guidelines

Review and follow these packaging guidelines.

Review Guidelines

PSA Photograph Type Classification

Not all photos are created equally! The value of a photo can vary dramatically depending on the photograph’s ‘Type’ classification. Using PSA’s Photo Type Classification System©, each photo will be certified for life:

  • 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).

Type 1 photographs are the most desirable and valuable of the four photograph types because of their vintage and originality.

Many Type 4's were issued after 1970, either for latter-era publication of earlier original images or for the general public consumption.

Duplicate negatives are produced by taking a photograph of an existing original photograph thereby creating a second negative that is of inferior quality to the original

All photograph types are collectible; a Type 3 photograph of a Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle may be worth considerably more than a Type 1 photograph of a common player from the 1920's.


Photograph Authentication Process

Step 1

Examination

Each photograph is examined to determine the approximate era of production and assign a classification from Type 1 to Type 4 based on its characteristics.

Step 2

Certification

A detailed Letter of Authenticity on your authenticated piece is composed and issued with your item. You may choose to have your photo encapsulated in our tamper-evident, sonically-sealed holder for an additional fee.

Step 3

Documentation

All authenticated memorabilia is available online for verification. Simply visit Cert Verification and enter the certification number.

Photographs that do not meet the above requirements, and in our opinion are of questionable authenticity, will receive a “NO PASS” designation. With the Letter option selected, the photo is returned with a Letter of Opinion (LOO), which provides an explanation of our experts’ findings. With the Photograph Encapsulation option selected, the photo will be returned to you unholdered.

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.


Certification Options

Option 1: Letter of Authenticity

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 logo and a series of double helix DNA strands.

  • A detailed, color-changing PSA logo hologram embedded into the custom paper - not a sticker placed on top of the page, but part of the paper itself.

  • A high resolution photo of your item.

  • Hand signature from one of PSA's representatives.

  • A report of the expert's findings.

  • Seven digit alphanumeric serial number that matches the tamper evident label.

Option 2: Encapsulation

PSA’s industry-leading encapsulation services not only protect your original photographs from further wear, but also add world class uniformity and presentation appeal to your collection. Plus, our tamper-evident, sonically sealed holders are a great way to safely store or display your photograph collection. As an added benefit, all the photograph’s pertinent information, like year, subject and photographer, is easily referenced on the encapsulated label, along with the unique PSA certification number.

View PSA’s current holder sizes to see if your photograph will fit. PSA’s popular Jumbo holder carries an added price of $30. Please also note that encapsulated items do not receive a LOA or COA, or the PSA tamper-evident certification sticker. You may request to receive a Letter of Authenticity in addition to encapsulation for the additional price of $15. Simply indicate “Letter Upgrade” on the submission form to select this option.