Pins from Sydney 2000 Olympic Games
This is the world's first collector set of Olympic pins that incorporates the DNA of an athlete. Genetic material (DNA) from Dawn Fraser's hair is sealed behind each photograph. The embedded DNA can be detected and verified using a special scanner or decoder. It provides product security and protection against counterfeiting because Dawn Fraser's DNA is unique. This is the first time a living person's DNA has been incorporated into pins or marketed to the public as a collector's item. It means that some people's genetic make-up is now seen to have commercial value. The pins were sold with the statement that "DNA is your seal of total authenticity and ensures that the revenue raised for the funding of the Olympic Games in Australia is not depleted by unscrupulous manufacturers or retailers. The DNA seal in your pin ensures both uniqueness and long term value protection of your collection."
Collecting and swapping souvenir pins is big business. Counterfeit brand name products cost manufactures and stakeholders more than 1000 million dollars per year world wide. In 1996 AMINCO Australia was nominated as the official licencee to make pins for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. For years the company had been stamping its products with a security code containing rare chemicals and synthetic DNA. This became the inspiration for incorporating real DNA into a pin.
An Australian company, DNA Technologies (Australia) Pty Ltd, developed the technology used to incorporate the DNA into pins. Their patented DNA authenticating technologies are one of the few methods for authentication which are recognised as being valid for admission as evidence in a court of law. Their Product Authentication System can mark and authenticate numerous brand-name products, including garments, sports collectibles, memorabilia, signatures, documents and original or limited edition artworks. These technologies can detect both counterfeiting and product diversion. Diversion is the sale of a product at an unauthorised outlet. Brand names are 'cheapened' and key retailers threatened when brand name products are sold at discount stores and outlets. Manufacturers spend many millions of dollars annually to fight product diversion.
The pins were launched by Dawn Fraser at David Jones' Sydney store on 19th May 1997. There was a media launch at the Powerhouse Museum the following day.