Monday, February 15, 2021

A duo of mid-90s Diamond Kings

Here are two DonRuss Diamond Kings cards from the 90s. They are both numbered out of 10,000. When people complain about overproduction in the current hobby, ask them if any card companies bother serial numbering cards into five digits! How many regular cards were printed that 10,000 was regarded as low?

Card Number 586: DonRuss Diamond Kings, 1996; #DK-9

There's a little bit of damage on the gold border of this card.The 'gold' seems to be overprinted on the card rather than embossed foil. 

The artist is Dick Perez, who painted the portraits for DonRuss's Diamond Kings range from 1982 to 1996. There is a full gallery of his Diamond Kings portraits on his website. He had produced portraits of Tony before, in 1985, 1989, and 1994. It's to his credit that they are all look quite different.

The write-up on the back is a contender for most words squeezed onto a cardback ever. I counted 113 words (not including numbers) in this paragraph.

This was the 8,950th card in the sequence. I can't think of a statistical tie-in to that number. The copyright year is 1995, but this was definitely part of the DonRuss 1996 set.

Card Number 587: DonRuss Diamond Kings, 1998; #4

This card had a very different look, with a silver foil edging to the frame. There isn't an indication who the artist is, apart from what looks like the initials 'BG' or 'DG' - it's hard to tell.

I've googled it, but am none the wiser. The DonRuss brand was changing hands with frightening regularity around this point. In 1998, it was owned by Pinnacle but they went bust that year. Unlike Dick Perez, whoever drew this card hasn't got an easily findable online gallery of their work. If Pinnacle ever put the details online that would be long-gone now.

The back is more restrained in terms of word volume. It's still one of the bigger blurbs on a card back.

At 1,927, the serial number is 7,023 lower than the card from 1996. Again this is a card with a copyright date a year out from when the set was released.

And as a little bonus, here's a timeline of Tony's Diamond Kings appearances from 1989 to 2005. (I have yet to acquire his 1985 and 1994 cards!)

Total: 587 cards


  1. I've been annoyed by the copyright confusion of the late 90's and early 2000's for decades. I didn't realize it actually started as early as 1996. I think the 1996 and 2005 are the last two I need. One of these days I'll need to target them on Sportlots. The good news for you is the 1985 and 1994 shouldn't be very difficult for you track down.

    1. I'm sure they will turn up sooner or later. The fun is in the chase!

  2. If you find yourself liking lengthy write-ups on the card back, don't miss the early Score sets!