Upper Deck: Black Diamond
My Upper Deck: Black Diamond Collection (Updated December 28th, 2021)
In 1997 Upper Deck introduced the Black Diamond title. The Black Diamond title came into the hobby like Gangbusters and has never truly settled down. The initial release was a simple 180-card set, and has still maintained an extremely high book value, (See the 1997 Upper Deck Black Diamond "Steve Atwater" #76 left). If you look back at a few earlier Upper Deck insert sets one called "Helmet Cards", (See the 1996 Upper Deck Silver: "Wayne Chrebet / Hugh Douglas" Helmet Cards #AE2 below right), and the second called "Star Attractions", (See the 1997 Upper Deck: "Rod Smith" Star Attractions #SA14 below right), they both look very similar to the Black Diamond release. I've often said that insert sets are not only "Chase Cards", but also serve as market evaluations for future products. Obviously, the market, (aka the hobby), looked favorably towards these two insert sets so Upper Deck went forward with a full set.
I really liked the 1998 set. It still had the '97 look, but with a slight change; the team's colors bled from the player to the background. A really cool look,
1997 Upper Deck Black Diamond: “Steve Atwater” #76
1997 Upper Deck: “Rod Smith” Star Attractions #SA14
1996 Upper Deck Silver: “Wayne Chrebet / Hugh Douglas” #AE2
1998 Upper Deck Black Diamond: “Corey Chavious” RC #96
The '99 release brought changes to the Upper Deck Black Diamond title, gone were the hazy gray backgrounds and in return they replaced it with some silly background, (See the 1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond "Oronde Gadsden" #57 below right). The look of the '99 set was such a drop off compared to the previous two sets. Nineteen ninety-nine was also the first year that the Black Diamond title ventured into the memorabilia market, (See the 1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond "Edgerrin James" Piece of History #EJ below left). The Black Diamond "Piece of History" insert set also had a parallel set called "Double" which not only had 2 pieces of memorabilia, but also a different picture, (See the 1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond "Edgerrin James" Piece of History #EJ below right). Now that is how you do a parallel set.
1998 Upper Deck Black Diamond: “Reggie White” Premium Cut #PC12
(See the 1998 Upper Deck Black Diamond: "Corey Chavious" #96 below left). Another thing about the early Black Diamond releases was the insets sets were amazing, (See the 1998 Upper Deck Black Diamond: "Reggie White" Premium Cut #PC12 below left). And not only were they amazing, but they all still maintain very high book values. As of this writing, the "Premium Cut" insert set still books for $200.
1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond: “Oronde Gadsden” #57
The 2000 release didn't have any memorabilia sets, per se, but they did have a Rookie Memorabilia set in the base set; a subset, if you will (See the 2000 Upper Deck Black Diamond "Courtney Brown" RC #151 below right). The look from the earlier Black Diamond sets comes back, kinda, you can see it in the rookie cards with the gray text in the background. The "Rookie Jersey" subset is only 30 cards but adds significant value and interest to the set. Manufacturers started adding short-printed rookie cards to base sets in 1998, (See the 1998 Upper Deck set), rookie autograph cards in 1999, (See the
1999 Upper Deck SP set), and rookie memorabilia cards to base sets in 2000, (See this set). As I said before, adding these rookie cards to the base sets adds value and interest.
1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond: “Edgerrin James” Piece of History #EJ
1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond: “Edgerrin James” Piece of History Double #EJ *
*Note: I do not own the card above. I am currently workig on this set.
In closing, the "Upper Deck: Black Diamond" brand was just a solid title. It was only around for 4 years and with zero autograph sets and only 2
memorabilia sets, (one being the rookie memorabilia subset), a collector could really put a Black Diamond master set together quite easily. The real challenge for collectors, (including me), is putting together all those high-priced insert sets from '97 and '98.
2000 Upper Deck Black Diamond: “Courtney Brown” RC #151
I have complete sets:
Upper Deck Black Diamond:
1) 1997 Upper Deck Black Diamond Set - Do Not Have
2a) 1998 Upper Deck Black Diamond Set
A) Premium Cut Insert
2b) 1998 Upper Deck Black Diamond Rookies Set
A) Sheer Brilliance Insert - Incomplete ( 29 / 30 )
3) 1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond Set
A) A Piece of History Insert
B) A Piece of History Doubles Insert - Incomplete ( 8 / 26 )
C) Diamondation Insert
C) Galley Insert
D) Might Insert
E) Myriad Insert
F) Skills Insert
4) 2000 Upper Deck Black Diamond Set
A) Diamondation Insert
B) Diamond Might Insert
C) Diamond Skills Insert