Flashback Product of the Week: 1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond Baseball

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The first card shop that I ever went to was called The Penalty Shot.  It was great!  They had boxes, packs, singles under glass, and a dollar wall filled with cards.  I can remember looking at the sealed boxes and thinking that I was never going to get to open anything like that.  Well, we all know how that worked out don’t we?  🙂  Not only did they have cards, but it was organized and easy to get around too.  Unfortunately after a few years in business, they had to move and then ultimately close up.  I’ll never forget that shop.

For some crazy reason, whenever I think back to my times at The Penalty Shot, 1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond Baseball shoots into my head.  This is probably because I remember them having the Babe Ruth #90 base card under one of their glass cases.  I believe I ended up buying it too.

Upper Deck started using the Black Diamond brand with hockey, and then expanded it to football, basketball, and baseball.  1999 was the first time they issued a Black Diamond baseball set.  The set features 120 cards, which is broken down into 90 top stars and 30 prospects called Diamond Debut.  I can remember pulling a J.D. Drew Diamond Debut rookie which was a big deal at the time.  This product has two major aspects when you look at it – foil and parallels.  Every single card is covered from top to bottom in foil.  It almost reminds you of something Panini would release today.  The parallels are the only real part of this set that holds any value today.  Parallels within this product can have a print run of 3,000 copies all the way down to 1.  Player collectors go nuts for the one-of-one Emerald versions when they appear for sale.  High-graded parallels can sell for some insane prices since the foil card stock can easily be damaged.  Upper Deck did include relic cards, but they aren’t anything special.  Perhaps in 1999 they were, but not now.  The relic cards look cheap too.  On most of them you can see the white cardboard that the relic sits on.  I hate to see that.  Its not something that collectors should have to see.  Sealed boxes can still be picked up for just under $50.00.

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