The Collectors Choice Magazine by Upper Deck, Was It Ever Made?

1991 Upper Deck The Collector's Choice Magazine Offer Card

1991 Upper Deck The Collector’s Choice Magazine Offer Card

I came across some advert cards (see above) in a box of random 91 UD baseball, and 90-91 UD hockey, that I bought off a guy recently. On these cards it advertises that you could get Upper Deck’s first premiere issue of something called The Collectors Choice Magazine. All you had to do was send in this card after you filled out your address etc. on the reverse of the card.

With the popularity of Upper Deck cards at the time (1991) I would assume many people sent in these cards to get the free magazine. Yet looking all over the internet I can’t find one listing or sales offer for this magazine. Did Upper Deck actually print this magazine and distribute it to those who filled out and sent in the card?

2001 Topps – Through the Years Reprints

2001 Topps - Through the Years Reprints

2001 Topps – Through the Years Reprints

This 50 card insert set is a fun set to collect. The cards have that vintage feel to them without the vintage price. Personally I wouldn’t collect a reprint set as a set itself but somehow it being an insert in this situation makes all the difference. It’s because it’s only a small part of a regular issue that gives the incentive to collect it. If Topps came out with a reprint set as the set itself I wouldn’t understand the point of spending the money on it. Once you collect all the cards all you have is a reprint set, you may as well collect the original set instead, or collect a newer non-reprint set.

Anyone else collect or have collected these inserts?

The Most Elusive Roberto Alomar Signature

1992 Donruss McDonald's MVP's Alomar Signature Card

1992 Donruss McDonald’s MVP’s Alomar Signature Card

1992 Donruss McDonald's MVP's Alomar Signature Congrat. Letter

1992 Donruss McDonald’s MVP’s Alomar Signature Congrat. Letter

If you are an autograph collector, especially for autographs on baseball cards, and you also like Hall of Famers, then the 1992 Donruss/McDonald’s Roberto Alomar signature card is something you may want to pursue. Not only is it Alomar’s first signature card, it is also one of the rarest. Back in 1992, Donruss and McDonalds teamed up to distribute four card packs of “MVP” cards. This set consisted of 26 regular cards (one player from each MLB team), a checklist card, and 6 “Blue Jays Gold” insert cards.

Randomly inserted into these 4-card packs was one of 1000 redemption cards good for an Alomar signature card. Only 1000 of these signed cards exist. They are very rare. In the last 5 years on ebay I have only seen the card appear three times. the back of the card has a hand written number beside a printed 1000, so the cards are serial-numbered.

1992 Donruss McDonald's MVP's Alomar Signature Card Encased

1992 Donruss McDonald’s MVP’s Alomar Signature Card Encased

It is hard to gauge a proper price for the card as I said due to it rarely showing up. But also because it is a Canadian card. Like O-Pee-Chee cards, many American buyers avoid cards printed outside the USA because of their thinking that they are all odd-ball cards.The first time I saw the card (2011) it sold for $100.00. The second time I saw it (2013), it listed at $300.00 but went unsold. The third time I saw it (presently), it has a list price of $499.95. Myself, I would think it’s worth around $100.00-$150.00. What would you pay for it?

The 90’s Master Set Builder Destroyer

1990s Signature Cards

1990s Signature Cards

Anyone who collected cards back in the late junk wax era will know the cards pictured above. Manufacturers had just started paying serious attention to how insert cards were affecting the marketplace. Once the 90’s hit and Upper Deck included a Reggie Jackson signature card in their High Series Boxes, all hell broke loose and it seemed every new issue had to include a famous player limited signature card.

Master set builders were just getting used to finding those elusive inserts, by either buying many more boxes than sanity would dictate, or look for ways to trade or buy from others the cards they needed. The worse inserts, speaking in an “ease to find and pay for” context were the signature cards. Every one, was offered and sold in the multiple hundreds of dollars. It made a master set builder on a budget cry because they saw the death of their style of collecting coming on them like a break-less train.

For me, it was when I stopped buying new boxes and began looking backward in time for my collecting fun. I focused on Hall of Famer cards and sets going back to 1981. I wasn’t going to pay 500 dollars for a card that was found in a pack of cards issued a few weeks earlier. Why do that when I could buy a nice rookie card of most Hall of Famers for the same or less of a price. I asked myself if I would rather have a Reggie signature card from 1990 (in 1990) or buy a nice copy of his ’69 rookie card. The decision was stupidly easy to answer. All my sets from the early 90’s are still incomplete because of the signature insert. Who would’ve guessed that that period of time was actually the calm before the storm. Soon relic, jersey, game-worn, 1/1. 5/5 cards would become the norm and the master set builder would disappear from the card collecting landscape, much to my chagrin.

The Memorabilia Card

I remember when game used jersey cards, game used bat cards and the like came out, and I was quite surprised. I left card collecting in 1993 but returned in 2007 for about a year, then left again, returning in 2013. My first swatch card came from a box of Upper Deck, and another from a box of Fleer. One was a Roberto Clemente card the other a Roy Campanella card. I remember being surprized in pulling them and a bit bewildered.

Why did they put these pieces of history into cards? It seemed like another gimmick like the signature inserts from the 90s. But, for me, it seemed to have a more drastic result. What popped into my head was not, “Coool, I got an awesome card with a piece of history included,” but, “Shit, did they cut up and destroy a rare collectible to put pieces of it inside different baseball cards?” What a punishable offense if they did. Why would anyone want a card like this? I read up on the introduction and proliferation of game used memorabilia cards and found out that yes, the card companies were buying up bats and jerseys and other memorabilia at auction in order to cut them up to put pieces of them into cards.

Let me ask a question, are they insane? Why is anyone putting up with this crap?

A piece of jersey or bat in a card holds no real significance.When you look at it it means nothing. It looks like a piece of wood or material, that’s it. It doesn’t look like a jersey or a bat. So when these items of baseball history are cut up it serves no purpose. The jersey or bat when intact shows the viewer what that bat or jersey actually looked like. You get a feeling of historical significance when you look at it. This does not occur with a small one inch by one inch piece of that item.

To further my point, here is a picture of a Babe Ruth game worn jersey circa 1920s:

Babe Ruth Jersey

Babe Ruth Jersey

It sold for 4.4 million recently. Now when you look at it, and understand this is just a picture of it, you get a feeling of wow, Babe Ruth actually wore that jersey, how cool is that?

Now imagine some ass buys it for $4.4 million and then cuts it up into 500 pieces and puts these pieces into insert cards in packs of Upper Deck or Topps. Man, I would want to slap the people who did it. But these cards do exist:

Babe Ruth Jersey Relic

Babe Ruth Jersey Relic

Or how about this jersey of Ty Cobb which sold for $385,500 recently:

Ty Cobb Jersey

Ty Cobb Jersey

Now imagine some idiot decides to start cutting it up to make this card:

Ty Cobb Bat and Jersey Relic

Ty Cobb Bat and Jersey Relic

Wouldn’t that kinda piss you off? I wonder how many of these important pieces of baseball history have been destroyed over the years so that card companies can pull in some serious money from collectors. When you look at a jersey card do you get a feeling of what it was like to wear that jersey in a game 100 years ago, or 50 years ago? Not really correct?

What is even sadder is that there are literally millions of these cards made over the last decade, to the point that they hold no special significance in the hobby anymore. They have become the same as any other card. I hope the card companies stop destroying history before all the older memorabilia has disappeared into cards.

Making Smart Choices, You Decide?

The 90’s was the decade that ushered in the Authentic Company Made Autograph. No need go to card shows across the nation to get a famous retired Hall of Famer to sign a card for you. Just buy hundreds of boxes of baseball cards and find a licenced signature card. Upper Deck was the first to impliment this gimmick to convince buyers to purchase just one more box of their product (or 10, or 50). But soon after Fleer and Score joined in. But Since Upper Deck started it, I decided to use their cards as an example of what is so stupid about the pricing on these signature cards. Well, in my opinion, stupid. I’ll Let you decide for yourself.

The first ever signature card came in 1990 Upper Deck High Number boxes and it was the autograph of Reggie Jackson. Below are three cards of the slugging Hall of Famer that are priced approximately the same. Which of the three would you want the most?

Reggie Jackson Cards

Reggie Jackson Cards

The second example I will use is 1991 Upper Deck High Series that had Hank Aaron as its signature card. Which of the three cards would you prefer to have?

Hank Aaron Cards

Hank Aaron Cards

And the third example is from 1992 Upper Deck Low Series that used Ted Williams as its signature card. Which of the three would you prefer?

Ted Williams Cards

Ted Williams Cards

What I’m guessing is that most of you would choose one of the other two cards rather than the signature cards. Myself I would choose the PSA 6 Jackson, The Ungraded Aaron rookie, and the ungraded Williams rookie, which I would then send off to be graded (if it holds at NM it’s a $15,000.00 to $20,000.00 card).

Personally, I’m not a fan of autographs on cards. A signature on a card usually makes it ridiculously expensive. If I would get a player’s signature I much prefer it on a baseball or a photograph.

What do you think. Would you think the people who would choose the signature cards crazy, or no?

Topps, What Were You Thinking?

Perhaps some of you are fans of the parallel set that have come out through the years, The Golds, Platinums, Silvers, Reds, Greens, etc. Although a rare few try to complete these sets, numerous collectors do try to complete, of their favourite player, what is known in the hobby as a rainbow set. That is, for the uninitiated, one each of the base card and all the parallels of their favourite player. This might be a fun pursuit, even if some of those parallel’s are 1/1 5/5 or 25/25s. But it could also be quite frustrating if the cards can not be found. But if the deed is accomplished you could have the only rainbow set of that player from that set in all the world.

Topps Chase Cards

Topps Chase Cards

But what happens when the parallel has 500-800 different cards? Would you try to collect all of them? How about if the border doesn’t change but instead they place a number on the front of the card to indicate a certain amount of a certain statistical digit the player has accomplished? Well that’s what Topps did with some of their sets back in 2006-2008. And the statistic was career home runs. Not satisfied with duplicating a card several hundreds of times for just one great player (Mickey Mantle) they decided to continue the nonsense with Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Josh Gibson. If that wasn’t enough, they expanded beyond the career home runs to include DiMaggio’s two hitting streaks. the more famous 56 game hitting streak he accomplished in the majors, and the less famous 61 game hit streak he accomplished while in the minors.

Topps Joe DiMaggio Hitting Streak Cards

Topps Joe DiMaggio Hitting Streak Cards

In order to get every one of these insert cards, which for all intents and purposes are exactly alike, you would need to find over 2000 cards. Imagine filling a binder with Mantle’s Home Run History cards, it would look something like this:

Topps Mickey Mantle Home Run History Insert Cards

Topps Mickey Mantle Home Run History Insert Cards

So the question remains: What was Topps thinking?

My only guess is that they were lazy people and thought us chimp-brains might not notice the stupidity of it all and run around pursuing these cards ad nauseam. Use your talents to better improve the cards, not repeat and repeat card after card so that opening packs becomes routine and boring. You should know better than that Topps, shame shame.

Remembering Dick Perez and the Diamond Kings

Dick Perez will always be remembered by collectors as the artist behind the original series of Donruss’ Diamond Kings subset. Perez spend a decade and a half creating these portraits for collectors to enjoy until he was released from his duties after the 1996 set. Each year, for fifteen years, collectors anticipated the Donruss sets to see who Perez pictured in the subset. After Perez left the DK name had less luster and by at least my account lost much of it’s appeal. 1992 foreshadowed the loss of Perez and collector’s interest in the DK series when Donruss made the cards more difficult to collect, but more on that later. After 1996, the DK’s lost their history. Dan Gardner replaced Dick Perez, the tradition of representing each Major League Franchise with a DK player was dropped, the sets were made more and more scarce until it became quite difficult to find all of the the cards each year. But while Perez was working the set was an institution.

I thought it might be fun to write a short history of the sets to introduce the younger collectors to them (if there are any young collectors left in the hobby anyway) and to bring the rest of us on a short trip down memory lane.

1982 Donruss Diamond Kings

1982 Donruss Diamond Kings

1982 Donruss Diamond Kings

One year after joining Topps and Fleer in the baseball card market, Donruss was looking to add some nostalgia to it’s second release of cards. They contacted then hired artist Dick Perez to create 26 portraits of MLB players, one from each franchise, in order to bring art back into baseball card collecting. Donruss decided it would start off the 1982 set with these paintings and with that a tradition was born.

An unnumbered Diamond King checklist card was also included in packs. The DK checklist card would be included in each years packs and would remain unnumbered until 1987’s set. Alan Trammell’s DK card has an error and corrected version. Trammell is spelled Trammel on the error card (both front and back). The checklist card also got Trammell’s name incorrectly as Trammel so there is a error and corrected version of that card as well. See below:

1982 Donruss Diamond Kings Alan Trammell Error

1982 Donruss Diamond Kings Alan Trammell Error

 

1983 Donruss Diamond Kings

1983 Donruss Diamond Kings

1983 Donruss Diamond Kings

The 1983 DK’s were created with the same design as the 1982 cards, just the player selection changed. The unnumbered checklist card shows a photograph of artist Dick Perez. It has two versions, an error where “Check List” is missing from the back bottom of the cards, and the corrected version where “Check List” was included. See below:

1983 Donruss Diamond Kings Checklist Error

1983 Donruss Diamond Kings Checklist Error

1984 Donruss Diamond Kings

1984 Donruss Diamond Kings

1984 Donruss Diamond Kings

The 1984 set was new and improved from the previous two years. Donruss decked out the cards in red, white and blue parade-ribbon style as if the cards were to be given out on the 4th of July. Each card has an error and a corrected version. The error, where “Perez-Steele Galleries” on the back of the card is actually spelled “Perez-Steel Galleries” were found in wax packs. The error was corrected for all the factory sets. See the example below of Robin Yount’s card back:

1984 Donruss Diamond Kings Robin Yount Error

1984 Donruss Diamond Kings Robin Yount Error

 

1985 Donruss Diamond Kings

1985 Donruss Diamond Kings

1985 Donruss Diamond Kings

1985 saw the DK’s return to the design of its first two years except that the 1985 cards were given a black border and the team and position designation was not given with the player’s name. Donruss would continue with this design, mostly just changing the border colors until 1992 when the design went borderless and then in 1994 when the whole design was dropped for something best described as more imaginative.

1985 also marked the beginning of the Super Diamond Kings. These are 5×7 versions of the smaller DKs and were available through a mail-in offer. You mailed three 1985 Donruss wrappers plus $9.00 to get the 29 card set (26 DKs, the Checklist card, the Lou Gehrig puzzle card and a “History of the Diamond Kings” card of artist Dick Perez). The Perez card is below:

1985 Donruss Diamond Kings Dick Perez Card

1985 Donruss Diamond Kings Dick Perez Card

The Lou Gehrig Super DK puzzle card was the same image as its counterpart that you could assemble from the 63-piece, 3-piece per card, cards that you received from the wax packs. But the Super DK version was 12 pieces rather than 63, and it measured 5″ X 7″ rather than the larger 11″ X 7 3/4″ that the assembled puzzle from the wax packs would measure. An example of both puzzle cards are below:

1985 Donruss Diamond Kings Lou Gehrig Puzzle

1985 Donruss Diamond Kings Lou Gehrig Puzzle

1986 Donruss Diamond Kings

1986 Donruss Diamond Kings

1986 Donruss Diamond Kings

The 1986 set continued with 26 cards (one from each franchise). The border of the cards were blue with black lines. Although Perez is very good at creating a likeness of the player’s image, with his Andre Dawson portrait in the 1986 set, he really captured “The Hawk”‘s likeness. Just as in all previous years the set included a unnumbered checklist card.

For the second year in a row there was available a redemption mail-in offer to receive a Super Diamond Kings set through Perez-Steele Galleries. Three 1986 Donruss wrappers plus $9.00 would get you the set. The set consisted of the 26 DK player cards, the unnumbered checklist card, a Hank Aaron Puzzle card, and a Pete Rose “King of Kings” card. The puzzle card as well as the other cards in the set measured 4 7/8″ by 6 13/16″. The Super Diamond King puzzle card was exactly the same as the one you could put together from the puzzle pieces from the wax packs except that it was smaller. When you assembled the puzzle from the 3-piece wax pack cards it measures 11″ X 7 3/4″.

The Pete Rose “King of Kings” card was the first of a series of special Super DK cards that celebrated a certain player’s great achievement in the history of baseball, the normal version of the card was #653 in regular set.

1987 Donruss Diamond Kings

1987 Donruss Diamond Kings

1987 Donruss Diamond Kings

The 1987 version of the DK’s have a black and gold border and as with each previous year, show player portraits with a superimposed smaller action shot of the player. 1987 marks the first year that the DK checklist card was included in the numbering of the set. Previous years sets had the DK checklist, as well as the other checklist cards, as unnumbered. The DK checklist card in this set was numbered #27.

There were three cards in the DK set that did not have the yellow coloring the ribbon on the top back of the card. These error cards were eventually corrected. The three error cards and their corrections are pictured below:

1987 Donruss Diamond Kings Errors

1987 Donruss Diamond Kings Errors

For the third year in a row a redemption mail-in offer (this time $8.00, 3 1987 Donruss wrappers, and $1.50 S&H) to receive the 28 card set of Super Diamond Kings (26 DK player cards, the checklist card, and the Roberto Clemente puzzle card).

1988 Donruss Diamond Kings

1988 Donruss Diamond Kings

1988 Donruss Diamond Kings

The 1988 DK’s had a black and blue border. There were no errors in printing the cards but there are two versions of every card in the 1988 Donruss set including the DK’s. When Donruss printed the cards for their factory sets they reversed the border design. An example (Ron Darling’s DK card #6):

1988 Donruss Diamond Kings Ron Darling Reverse Border

1988 Donruss Diamond Kings Ron Darling Reverse Border

For $8.00, three 1988 Donruss wrappers, and $1.50 S&H, you could again receive through the mail the 28 card Super Diamond King set (26 player cards, the checklist card and the Stan Musial puzzle card).

1989 Donruss Diamond Kings

1989 Donruss Diamond Kings

1989 Donruss Diamond Kings

The 1989 DK set had a rainbow of colors for its borders (black down the sides, with blue, purple and green interspersed on the top and bottom). There were no error card this year, and for the fifth year in a row you could redeem through the mail $8.00, three 1989 Donruss wrappers, and $2.00 S&H to receive the 28 card Super DK set (26 player cards, the checklist card and a Warren Spahn puzzle card).

1990 Donruss Diamond Kings

1990 Donruss Diamond Kings

1990 Donruss Diamond Kings

The 1990 DK’s came with a red border. There were two errors involved with the set. The first concerns Ruben Sierra’s card (#3) in which the difference between the error and corrected card is a small square black notch that is on the back of the correct version but missing on the incorrect version. The second error involves the Brian Downing card (#10) in which Donruss screwed up the negative and reversed the image on the front of the card, the correct version has the superimposed Downing in a batting stance on the right side of his portrait. Both errors are shown below:

1990 Donruss Diamond Kings Brian Downing Reverse Error

1990 Donruss Diamond Kings Brian Downing Reverse Error

The Super Diamond Kings set was available this year for $12.00 and three 1990 Donruss wrappers. The set include the 26 player cards, the check list card and the Carl Yastrzemski puzzle card. It also included the second “King of Kings” card this time saluting Nolan Ryan (the first saluted Pete Rose in 1986). Where the Rose card had on the back the corresponding number to its regular set card (#653), the Ryan card drops the number altogether (the regular card was numbered 665). The puzzle card and Ryan card are pictured below:

1990 Donruss Diamond Kings Ryan King of Kings and Yaz Puzzle

1990 Donruss Diamond Kings Ryan King of Kings and Yaz Puzzle

1991 Donruss Diamond Kings

1991 Donruss Diamond Kings

1991 Donruss Diamond Kings

The 1991 DK set featured blue borders. Error cards are found throughout the set but this year Donruss didn’t correct any of them. They mostly involved missing TM on team logos and mistakes in the descriptions written on the back of the cards. For the seventh consecutive year you were able to mail in to receive the Super Diamond King set ($12.00 and three 1991 Donruss wrappers). This year no puzzle or checklist card was included so the set consisted of 26 player cards only. 1991 also marked the end of the superimposed mini action shot of the player leaving only the portrait to grab the collector’s attention.

1992 Donruss Diamond Kings

1992 Donruss Diamond Kings

1992 Donruss Diamond Kings

For the first time since their inagrual set of 1991, Donruss did not start their regular set with the Diamond Kings subset. Instead the 27 cards (26 player cards and one checklist card) were randomly inserted into boxes. The insert set was upgraded. The pictures were full bleed and darkened. Gold trim was embossed into the ribbons and name borders making the cards stand out from the regular set unlike in previous years. Although the set was more difficult to collect, there were approximately four to five DK’s per box, they weren’t so rare that it turned off collectors in pursuing a complete set of the cards. No errors were detected from the set.

Donruss did not offer collectors a mail in option for a Super Diamond Kings set for the first time in eight years. Super Dk’s were made but not distributed to collectors. They were given to staff at a strategy meeting at Donruss and made it into the secondary market from there. No One really knows how many sets were produced but it’s guessed that very very few were made. The sets are extremely hard to find and command hundreds if not thousands of dollars to buy. When they were given out at the meeting the set came plastic-wrapped and in a sealed cardboard box. I found these images at www.calripkenjr.net

1992 Donruss Super Diamond Kings Employee Gift Package

1992 Donruss Super Diamond Kings Employee Gift Package

1992 marked the beginning of the end for the DK’s as they were produced previously. Perez is dropped as artist by 1997 and the cards themselves never re-enter the main yearly Donruss set instead being produced as inserts in more and more difficult to find numbers until eventually they are dropped altogether only to resurface first in 2001 as inserts and paralells in Playoff’s first Donruss product and then as a main set itself in 2002 called 2002 Diamond Kings.

1993 Donruss Diamond Kings

1993 Donruss Diamond Kings

1993 Donruss Diamond Kings

The 1993 set, just as in 1992 was randomly inserted into Donruss boxes. The set is a duplicate in design of the 1992 set. The set was expanded to 31 cards which included 30 player cards and one checklist. The first 26 cards are as per usual a player from each of the teams, Card 27 and 28 are the 1st round draft picks of the two expansion clubs (Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies), and cards 29 and 30 are of the 1992 Rookies’ of the Year (the first time a DK was made for anything other than a team representative ballplayer). The two ROY cards are pictured below:

1993 Donruss Diamond Kings ROY Cards

1993 Donruss Diamond Kings ROY Cards

For the first time since 1985, no Super Dk’s were produced, not even in in-house gift form as they were the previous year.

1994 Donruss Diamond Kings

1994 Donruss Diamond Kings

1994 Donruss Diamond Kings

Big changes occurred in the design of the DKs for 1994. Left behind was the ribbon on the top of the card and the curve-ended rectangular shaped border for the player name. Donruss and Dick Perez decided to get funked up and surreal for the 1994 issue. Players looked like they were being painted in the sky during sunset or at dawn/dusk. This year there was no ROY cards as there was in 1993. You could look forward to pulling 4 to 5 DKs per box. The set consisted of 30 cards, 28 player cards (one for each team), a third “King of Kings” card (this year Donruss saluted Dave Winfield. 1986 it was Pete Rose, 1990 it was Nolan Ryan), and Card #30 was a checklist card with a Dick Perez self-portrait. The Winfield card and Checklist card are below:

1994 Donruss Diamond Kings Dave Winfield King of Kings and Dick Perez Cards

1994 Donruss Diamond Kings Dave Winfield King of Kings and Dick Perez Cards

1994 marked the return of the Super DKs after a year’s hiatus. It was also the first time the Super DKs were used as box-toppers for Series One and Two boxes. With each box you purchased, you received a Super DK.

1995 Donruss Diamond Kings

1995 Donruss Diamond Kings

1995 Donruss Diamond Kings

The design for the DKs changed again in 1995. Perez moved away form surreal sunset imagery to what could be called a kindergarten wallpaper background with different colors and shapes. The set consisted of 29 cards (28 player cards and a checklist). Unlike the previous year, the Super DKs were not inserted into boxes as box-toppers. In fact Donruss. like in 1993, dropped the Super DKs altogether. No errors were found in the set.

1996 Donruss Diamond Kings

1996 Donruss Diamond Kings

1996 Donruss Diamond Kings

Continuing the trend of wholly changing the design yearly for the DKs (started in 1994), Perez discarded colored backgrounds in order to enhance the player portrait. The cards have a simple marble-like border with a black background. This would be Dick Perez’s last work on the DKs he would be replaced in 1997 by artist Dan Gardner. This would mark also the last time the DKs stuck to the “one player from each team” formula as 1997 would issue only 10 DK cards. This year’s DK’s were serial numbered to 10,000 copies which further limited set builders ability to complete the set. Starting in 1992 when the DKs became inserts, and continuing this year with 10,000 copies, 1997 also with 10,000 copies and 1998 reduced again to 9500 copies, the DKs became scarcer and scarcer, leaving set collector’s feeling irritated. Where 1992 started the eventual decline in the desire to have sets of the Diamond Kings (at least in the minds of set builders) 1998 marked the end of the series entirely.

Along with Perez leaving, Donruss was undergoing significant change itself. By 1996 they were purchased by Pinnacle Brands, who then in 1998 declared bankruptcy which led to the end of Donruss baseball card issues. Playoff purchased Pinnacle and resurrected Donruss renaming their company Donruss/Playoff and issued a Donruss set in 2001. As for the Diamond Kings, they were reduced to 10 cards in 1997, then 20 cards in 1998. When Playoff issued their Donruss set in 2001, the Diamond Kings were resurrected. Three insert sets were produced, “1999” Retroactive Diamond Kings (5 cards serial numbered to 2500 copies with a Studio parallel numbered to 250), a “2000” Retroactive Diamond Kings (5 cards serial numbered to 2500 copies with a Studio parallel numbered to 250), and finally an All-Time Diamond Kings set (10 cards of HOF players serial numbered to 2500 copies with a Studio parallel numbered to 250 with the first 50 autographed).

in 2002, Playoff/Donruss changed the DIamond King name from a main series card (1982-1991), from and insert (1992-1998, 2001) to its own card set entirely. The 2002 Diamond Kings is a 160-card set released in two series. The first 150 cards were issued as part of the Diamond Kings set while the final ten cards were randomly inserted into packs of 2002 Donruss The Rookies. Designed to compete with Topps’ Gallery brand, all 160 base cards and inserts are painted. Below are three examples of the main set:

2002 Diamond Kings Base Set Examples

2002 Diamond Kings Base Set Examples

Donruss/Playoff would continue the Diamond King sets until 2006. Along the way they put out Donruss sets that included Diamond Kings until Donruss sets were discontinued in 2005. After 2006 I gave up on Diamond Kings, well more like in 1996. If anyone wished to continue with what happened with Diamond Kings post 2006 I invite you to post it here. Now that Panini owns Donruss/Playoff, and has no MLB licence to produce baseball cards (although they still do with only MLBPA licencing), perhaps the DKs are forever left in the annals of baseball card history. With almost every player now having Auto cards, the DKs are no longer really needed for autographs at stadiums and through the mail I guess. What once was an awesome set of cards is now reduced to ashes.

Michael Jordan and Baseball

As everyone my age, and even those younger, probably know Jordan dabbled in baseball back in the 90s after establishing a Hall of Fame career in the NBA. If you were alive and collecting you don’t need to be reminded of the phenomenon of athletes dabbling in more than one sport. Jordan did it. Brian Jordan and Deon Sanders did it. Probably the most famous for this type of behaviour was Bo Jackson. But I digress. If you look below you probably need no one to tell you what this card is and where it came from…

1991 Upper Deck SP1 Michael Jordan

1991 Upper Deck SP1 Michael Jordan

Along with, although not in the same caliber, Griffey Jr.’s ’89 Upper Deck card, and Frank Thomas’ ’90 Leaf card, this Jordan card was one of the most famous cards of the late ’80s, early ’90s. When this card began being pulled out of packs it created a feeding frenzy. Everyone wanted this card.

Now, 25 years later, with Jordan resting comfortably in the NBA’s Hall of Fame, this card is all but forgotten. I was perusing Kijiji the other day and came upon a listing for three of these cards. They were offered along with Jordan’s 1995 Upper Deck #200 card, a 1994 Ultra Pro card of Mike Piazza, and a factory set of 1989 Upper Deck including a real nice mint or better ungraded Griffey Jr. rookie card. I bought the cards all together for $50.00.

When I was buying the cards, I looked through them to make sure they were all there and one of the ’91 UD Jordan cards was in a toploader and had a price of $18.00. Can you imagine? It made me write this post. The other cards were also priced and by that evidence I assumed he had bought these cards all at the same time from the same dealer way back in 1991 when the baseball craze was in full tilt. The seller confirmed it. He had bought them from a dealer at a card show back in late ’91, if his memory served him correctly.

But it was the $18.00 Jordan card that I had my focus. Back in ’91 the $18.00 was a bit of a steal. Some shop owners were selling the card in the $40.00 range in my area of the world. But even at $18.00 I would have avoided buying this card at the time. In fact I had many opportunities to buy this card but I never did until quite recently. The Jordan card represented to be, a perfect example of the stupidity of the era. A card that was easily pulled from the 1991 boxes, was chased after crazily. Dealers were breaking cases of ’91 Upper Deck to get copies to sell. And people were buying them hand over fist. It took about a year, but people realized how much ’91 Upper Deck product was out there, and how easily the Jordan card was being found (every dealer in my area had at least a few copies of the card). The price fell and fell. When I came back to the hobby last year I picked up seven copies of this card for 99 cents plus 3.00 shipping off ebay. I was completing my ’91 Upper deck set.

If you were wondering what prices were on the other cards, the Piazza card had 8.00 on it and the 1989 Upper Deck factory set had $75.00 on it.

a Jordan rookie baseball card, once worth at least $18.00 is now just a common. That my friends is the culture of the junk card era.