- Card Design:
Those of us that have been collectors since the 80’s remembers when the first 26 cards of the Donruss set were represented by Diamond Kings. These were one for each team and artwork painted by the great Dick Perez. Panini devotes a set every year to commemorate what we remember. This is a whole set of artworks including a base set that looks like a collection of paintings along with inserts that provide more of the same. The only down is the lack of the license that causes the team logos to be left out, but the beautiful artwork helps make up for it. Plus, this product tends to be found because of its manageable price point and some tend to chase the hits from other products.
- Checklist Review:
Diamond Kings gets us back to a set-builders product with a 170-card base set. This set has been known to have a complimentary blend of those players from the good old days as well as those of today. Note that the last 70 cards in the set are Short Prints. The first 100 are split down the middle of those players that are retired along with those that are current. It is interesting that many of today’s star players are actually in the Short Prints and thus will hold some value due to their shorter supply.
Diamond Kings has a place in our collectible hearts due to its nostalgia (as referenced before), its artwork (for those who like cards for their aesthetics), its hits (who doesn’t like chasing hits?) and its base depth (for those who love to complete yet another set). All of these cannot be said for pretty much any other Panini product except maybe Donruss.
- Favorite Parallel/Insert Set:
Since Diamond Kings is a Panini product, you can expect a share of Parallels. Look for them from this list: Blue Frame, Gray Frame, Plum Frame, Red Frame, Artist Proof Blue, Artist Proof Gold (numbered to 49), Litho Proof (numbered to 25), Wood Frame (numbered to 13) and your choice of Masterpieces in Artist Proof, Black Frame or Litho Proof Black Frame (all numbered 1/1). Think there are a lot of Parallels? Well, how about the Inserts? 15 total sets of Inserts to be specific. These start with All-Time Diamond Kings (30-card set with Parallels) and continue with DK 206 (20-card set with Parallels), Downtown (20-card set), Modern Art (20-card set), Parietal Art (20-card set), Pixel Art (20-card set), Aficionado (15 cards with Parallels), Aurora (15-card set), Blank Slate (15-card set), Gallery of Stars (15 cards with Parallels), In the Zone (15 cards with Parallels), The 3000 (15 cards with Parallels), Artist’s Palette (10 cards with Parallels), DK Delong (10-card set) and DK Originals (10 cards with Parallels).
Diamond Kings may not have the higher price point like some of the other premium products, but it still has many hits to chase. On the Autos side, look for a collection of different sets and the Parallels that give them lots of depth: DK Signatures (62-card set with five different Parallels), DK Originals Signatures (30-card set with five different Parallels), DK 206 Signatures (8-card set with five different Parallels) and Diamond Cuts Masterpiece (19-card set all numbered 1/1). Let’s now look at the Relics list in Diamond Kings: DK Materials (100-card set with five different Parallels), Bat Kings (40-card set with three different Parallels), Jersey Kings (35-card set with three different Parallels) and DK Quad Materials (25-card set with three different Parallels). There are also a handful of Auto and Relic combos: DK Material Signatures (61-card set with four different Parallels) and DK Quad Material Signatures (19-card set with four different Parallels).
Diamond Kings hits a lot of collectors in the heart (talking to you Steph). It is sharp to look at for those with an art need (maybe like Project 2020?), has plenty of hits to chase, brings back some nostalgia and won’t necessarily break the bank like many of the others. We need more products like this in the hobby instead of so many that are at either end of the spectrum.
Overall Score 4.19/5.0