Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), Newport Beach, Calif., announced Saturday that it has contracted with DNA Technologies, Los Angeles, to introduce autograph authentication to its list of services. For the first time, collectors will be able to build their collections without having to worry about the legitimacy of the items they purchase.

The authentication program, which will be known as PSA/DNA Guaranteed Authentic, combines the resources of the largest and most reputable company in sports card grading with the world's leading anti-counterfeiting technology company. Each item authenticated will bear a tamper-evident label displaying a unique certification number as well as the logo of the service. Additionally, all of the items certified will be tagged with a DNA trace liquid unique to PSA/DNA Authentic. The combination of these two technologies will present an insurmountable obstacle to would-be counterfeiters and an unprecedented level of confidence to the buyer of autographed items.

"PSA/DNA Authentic hopes to eliminate the problem of counterfeits by labeling items in such a way that they can be sold time after time with each new buyer confident that he or she is spending money on an authentic item," explains Steve Rocchi, PSA President. "Up until now, to be sure you were buying a legitimate autograph, you needed to see it signed yourself. Autograph collectors needed a way to be sure that they were purchasing real autographs, no matter who they bought them from. That is what we provide."

Neither PSA nor DNA are new to the sports collectibles market. At present, PSA grades approximately 30,000 sports cards every month and DNA Technologies has been selected to be the official security mark for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. A similar invisible mark will be used to identify authenticated signatures without detracting from the item itself. The authenticity of the item can be instantly verified with a handheld detector. DNA Technologies is also currently working with Warner Brothers, Hanna-Barbera, and artist Thomas Kinkade in attempts to limit losses due to counterfeiters.

The service, announced at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, will begin immediately and focus primarily on modern autographs signed in the presence of a PSA/DNA Authenticated representative.