A specially designed, invisible DNA laced ink compound was used today by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), Newport Beach, California, to permanently "tag" Mark McGwire's record-breaking home run baseball number 70. PSA is the world's largest sports memorabilia and collectibles authentication and certification service.

"Using DNA technology is a major breakthrough to combat counterfeits and forgeries of autographs and sports memorabilia. In the future, these famous baseballs can quickly be verified as authentic because of the DNA coding and genetic markers," explained Stephen Mayer, President of PCGS, Inc., PSA's parent company.

The baseball was certified as "PSA/DNA Guaranteed Authentic," and marked with DNA synthesized exclusively for PSA by DNA Technologies, Inc., Los Angeles. The ink is invisible to the naked eye, but easily seen when viewed with a special laser set to the proper light frequency. The small mark will glow with the green PSA/DNA logo and the numeral 70.

"This is identical to the anti-counterfeiting tactics that will be used by DNA Technologies for tickets and security passes at the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia. PSA began using this DNA system this past summer to prevent piracy and counterfeits of autographs and other collectibles," said Mayer.

"Use of the DNA tagging presents an unprecedented level of confidence for future owners of these baseballs and an insurmountable obstacle to would-be counterfeiters."

"We believe the rampant problems of fakes and forgeries in the collectibles hobby can be dramatically reduced because the largest sports authentication service and one of the world's leading anti-counterfeiting technology companies have joined forces," stated Mayer.

The certification was conducted at the International Bowling and St. Louis Cardinals Halls of Fame Museum in St. Louis, Missouri.

The historic home run balls were examined and tagged by Miles Standish, a well-known and respected PSA Authenticator of sports collectibles. He explained, "I've authenticated billions of dollars worth of collectibles, but I've never handled anything before with so much significance to so many people." Also present was Michael D. Barnes, Managing Partner of Creative Properties Management Group, Inc., St. Louis, who represented the owners of McGwire home run balls 63, 64, 68, and 69 that are in the process of being authenticated by PSA. Baseballs 63 and 69 were displayed at the news conference when number 70 was certified.

Last month (September 1998), collectors and dealers submitted more than 70,000 items to PSA for expert examination, authentication and certification of grade (state of preservation).

Since its founding in 1986, PCGS, Inc. has examined more than six million rare coins, sports cards and memorabilia, and vintage music records with a combined declared value of more than $7 billion. The certification is conducted by Professional Coin Grading Service (founded in 1986), Professional Sports Authenticator (1991), and Good Rockin' Tonight (1995).

PSA recently entered into a cooperative venture with the Topps Company, Inc., New York, America's foremost manufacturer of trading cards, to provide grading and authentication services for various Topps' products.