Download High-Res PSA Image Scans for Cards Graded in 2023

PSA image example: PSA verification of certificate #48535175

Last Updated On: September 15th, 2023

PSA is the world’s #1 trading card grading company, and it’s not even close. GemRate estimates PSA grades almost 10 times more cards than the number two grading company.

But even with over 10 million cards slabbed annually, PSA continues leading by example with the announcement of PSA image scans available (free) for all cards graded as of January, 2023 or later.

The service is called SecureScan, first announced by PSA back in 2019. The original announcement mentioned the service was limited to some service levels with the intent to broaden its availability across all tiers in the name of security. We’ll get into that and more, including how to view or download the images, and all the benefits and drawbacks of the SecureScan image service. So keep reading!

How to Download PSA Image Scans

It’s very easy to access PSA image scans for your cards. Let’s go through the steps:

PSA Certification Verification Tool page
PSA Certification Verification Tool page
  • If available, PSA will display high-resolution card scans for the front and back as shown. Click either image to see a larger version.
PSA Image Scans for the front and back of card
PSA Image Scans for the front and back of card
  • To download the images, click to enlarge each one and tap on the download icon in the top right corner. It typically looks like this in Google Chrome browser.
PSA image download icon in Chrome web browser
PSA image download icon in Chrome web browser

That’s it! The PSA image(s) should now be on your file system, typically in the Downloads folder.

Now let’s talk about some of the best use cases for PSA’s SecureScan images, including an explanation of the detailed slab information you may have noticed upon performing a verification (which is shown regardless if images exist).

How to use PSA SecureScan Images

There are multiple ways (reasons) to use the high-quality PSA images we viewed or downloaded for our trading card of choice. They include:

  1. Detecting fakes and general security
  2. Replacing subpar photos taken using a phone with high-quality scans
  3. Viewing card flaws in detail before making a purchase

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Detect Fakes / Security

PSA’s stated goal in providing card scans is to improve overall security. But how you ask?

When using the PSA cert tool, not only do we see high-quality photos of a given card, we also retrieve detailed information about the card slab displayed underneath the photos which we can compare to ensure what we’re buying is the real deal.

PSA cert lookup detailed information for slab ID 77395469
PSA cert lookup detailed information for slab ID 77395469

In the example from earlier, the Mike Trout gold refractor is encased within a current PSA slab which uses a “lighthouse” label/slip. The lighthouse slip is designed with multiple security features, including anti-tampering with fugitive ink (commonly used to prevent check washing), and “frosting”, which PSA explains best as:

One way the PSA holder may show tampering is what is commonly referred to as “frosting” along the edges where the clear plastic starts to exhibit a cloudy appearance

If you’re buying a PSA slab (especially a high-end card), be sure to verify the card you’re looking at online or in person resembles exactly the same card and slab you see using the cert tool. Follow these tips and eyeball:

  • the PSA label type (e.g. lighthouse label or an older PSA slip type)
  • the grade
  • the certification number is identical on the front and the back of the slip (even the QR code)
  • the front and back photos of the slab and card match up
  • any frosting or similar changes in the case form-factor compared to PSA image scans

If you need any convincing that fake slabs and nefarious actors exist, look no further than this collector forum where allegedly a high-end collector is cracking PSA 10 Pokémon slabs and replacing the cards with less-pristine cards in fake slabs. Using PSA images, the online investigative collectors called BS on the slabs!

Now that we have the depressing use case out of the way, let’s talk about how we can use high-quality PSA card scans in more delightful ways.

Higher Quality Card Scans

Have you ever taken a picture of a slabbed card and couldn’t manage to get rid of a light glare or reflection? How about when you think you snapped a great pic but then notice your face reflecting back at you in the slab looking like Shrek?

Image of Shrek: what you don't want to see in the reflection of your sports card photos
Image of Shrek: what you don’t want to see in the reflection of your sports card photos

Well, say goodbye to crappy PSA slab pics! The dirty work has already been done for you with downloadable PSA image scans you can use in auctions or marketplaces, or on social media.

Auctions or Shopping Marketplaces

eBay, the premier auction platform for buying and selling sports cards, claims:

According to eBay’s research, listings with better photo quality are up to 5% more likely to sell

While eBay does not mention higher prices in their research, it’s not hard to imagine items selling faster could translate into higher prices as well (note: eBay analyzed 6.8 million listings in their research and the fine print states the actual number was ‘4.5% more likely to sell’). But eBay isn’t the only game in town when selling sports cards.

MySlabs is an up-and-coming sports card marketplace (with very low selling fees) that is particular about posting crisp images of the front and back of your slabbed cards. Their goal is to give buyers the opportunity to review a card in detail, and don’t want sellers trying to pull a fast one with awful lighting or angles to hide 90-10 centering. So what could be better than simply using SecureScan PSA images to save time and get a quick sale?

Social Media

Outside of auction houses and marketplaces, social media is one of the most popular ways for collectors to connect, buy, sell, and trade cards. According to @thewharfsportscards on Instagram, their recent poll of almost 500 collectors claims 67% of respondents used social media to purchase a sports card over the last three months. And that’s not even counting Discord, which could be considered a social media platform as well.

Needless to say, using high-resolution images of your cards on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram will attract eyeballs, and quicker sales if eBay is any indication. At the very least, you’ll attract more followers thanks to your crispy photo-taking — or more like downloading — skills.

That said, let’s take a moment and appreciate <<insert shameless plug>> as a blog that delivers genuinely practical sports card content for collectors. The problem? Not everyone is going to read this blog and be aware that PSA image scans can be used in place of awful photos taken with a phone. Fortunately, you have the upper hand knowing you can view a card in detail through the PSA cert tool before buying it based on grainy photos.

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View Card Flaws Before Buying

Much of the sports card hobby is transacted online nowadays with many market participants acting as opportunistic flippers. That is, they may buy a card that appears to be under-graded, crack it out of the slab, and resubmit it with the same or a new grading company in hopes to get a higher grade and flip the card for a profit. It’s a common practice, and one that some collectors have tried often with (now defunct) BCCG graded cards.

But whether you’re a card flipper, or simply a basketball card collector looking to make an informed buying decision, PSA image scans are a blessing. Take this example of a Stephen Curry Topps Chrome rookie Refractor graded PSA 4 (not good).

PSA cert verification #48535175 - 2009 Topps Chrome Stephen Curry Refractor #101 RC PSA 4 VG-EX
PSA cert verification #48535175 – 2009 Topps Chrome Stephen Curry Refractor #101 RC PSA 4 VG-EX

As a PSA 4 graded card, it won’t sell as much as a PSA 9, which last sold for almost $20,000 in December, 2022 at Goldin Auctions. A PSA 6 last did $7,500, and a PSA “Authentic” (no numeric grade) only did $5,700 in July, 2023. That tells us this card would likely sell for around $5,000.

Now, opportunistic you is wondering if this card is a great regrade candidate. Perhaps you intend to crack it out and submit it to BGS, or use a card cleaning kit to get it to grade a few notches higher with PSA, or BGS, or even a more affordable grading company.

Using the PSA certification tool, you can view the details of this card to determine if it’s indeed a good regrade candidate. Notice any imperfections on the back of the card? Horrible corners! It’s almost like the prior collector gripped it like a baseball before submitting it for grading. Thanks to PSA image scans, unfortunately this is a hard pass which leads us to our next topic.

PSA cert lookup for card #48535175 (back of card)
PSA cert lookup for card #48535175 (back of card)

When not to use PSA SecureScan

There are two primary reasons for avoiding the use of PSA images via SecureScan:

  1. When selling a card and the imperfection is extremely magnified
  2. On social media for dynamic cards like refractors, prizms, or holograms

The Steph Curry rookie refractor is a great example that hits both points. Prospective buyers of this card already expect imperfections given it is graded VG-EX 4, which based on PSA’s grading scale of 1 to 10 is a relatively poor score. As the seller of this card, using PSA scans to magnify the imperfections could result in a horrible sales price.

Also, refractors (and Prizms) have a beautiful rainbow-effect at the right angle of light. PSA card scans will rarely capture this effect and the result is a dull-looking card. When posting on social media, try using video in these cases, or do your best to capture a picture that highlights the beauty of the card at an angle (and ensure your fugly face is not in the reflection).

Appreciate the refractor-effect of this 2009 Stephen Curry RC Refractor graded BGS 9.5
Appreciate the refractor-effect of this 2009 Stephen Curry RC Refractor graded BGS 9.5


To sum it up, high-quality PSA images via SecureScan can be an incredibly useful detective tool to help make sure sports cards in the marketplace are the real deal. By verifying the front and back images, and particulars like the PSA label type and certification numbers, collectors can be well informed when buying PSA slabs. Plus, these tools (usually) make cards look amazing when selling them online, attracting more buyers on platforms like eBay, MySlabs, and social media.

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