Encapsulation is a system and/or method whereby the memorabilia articles might be authenticated without deforming or otherwise altering the articles themselves by affixing identifiers to the article in question.
The housing comprises front and rear portions, each constructed of a clear thermoplastic material which does not offer any impairment to visualization of either the memorabilia article or the identification tag.
Certain plastics such as acrylic, Ultem®, PVDF, and PTFE are inherently UV stable. However, most plastic materials exhibit color change and loss of elongation when exposed to UV light. Weathering resistance of some plastics can be improved by adding UV stabilizers or UV resistant caps to protect the base polymer.
The identification tag further includes front and rear surfaces, both surfaces of the identification tag containing identification and authentication indicia. The front face of the identification tag including text which identifies the issuing entity, the memorabilia article contained within the receptacle and the authentication service, a serial number comprising a unique alpha or alpha numeric sequence which specifically identifies the memorabilia article disposed within the housing.
In addition to providing an authentication function, such a system and/or method should also be able to provide a certain degree of physical security for the items and prevent, or at least considerably retard, normal degradation with time - Thus offering some degree of enhanced value to the memorabilia article itself.
For memorabilia that are graded in accordance with their physical condition providing an indication of a the collectable designation, such as for coins, sports cards, comic books, toys and/or video games - the system and/or method should be able to maintain a “mint” condition.
The memorabilia article and the identification tag are encapsulated, within an encapsulation facility, under the supervision of the authentication service; and the housing is permanently sealed along a periphery, such that neither the article nor the tag may be removed therefrom without providing visible indications of tampering on the housing.
In a further aspect of the invention, a memorabilia article registration database is established and maintained by the authentication service. Encapsulated memorabilia articles are tracked by their unique serial numbers and are identified by verifying the serial number pertaining to the corresponding memorabilia item
An additional type of authentication system, exemplified by U.S. Pat. No. 6,303,657 provides an encapsulated biological marker, labeled with an agent that emits selected detectable wavelengths of energy when exposed to a laser or some other excitation media, and associates the labeled marker with a particular memorabilia article, whereby the article can be authenticated as genuine by exposing the label to the elected wavelength of laser light, and detecting the appropriate response. If the label is intact, the article is deemed authentic; lack of, the entire system (article and authentication indicia) may have been replicated and/or compromised.