30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cheap Cool Cards #9: Tony Gwynn Diamond Kings

Dick Perez is one of the elite sports artists in the industry and he's showcased some of his best artwork in the Diamond Kings series. These pieces of art were part of Donruss' base set from 1982 to 1991. Then in 1992 things changed. In the midst of the "insert" boom, Donruss issued their Diamond Kings as an insert for the first time.

Donruss continued to make changes in the mid 90's. 1996 marked the first time Donruss serial numbered these inserts (#'d to 10,000). The biggest change in the history of Diamond Kings took place in 1997. That's when Dan Gardiner took over as the artist for the series.

Here are a few other key moments in the Diamond King timeline:

1999/2000 - Donruss filed for bankruptcy in 1998, so DK's weren't produced for two years.

2002 thru 2005 - Donruss created Diamond Kings as both an insert & as a stand alone set.

2005 - Donruss loses their MLB license.

One of the coolest things about early issue Diamond Kings is that they're cheap. You should be able to pick up most of them for a quarter or less and even the big name players can be found for under a buck. I was able to buy all four of these Diamond Kings for less the $2.

1985 Donruss #25

1989 Donruss #6

1994 Donruss "Diamond Kings" #11

1995 Donruss "Diamond Kings" #24

I'm still chasing down six more Gwynns:

1996 Donruss "Diamond Kings Insert" #9
1998 Donruss "Diamond Kings Insert" #4
2001 Donruss "Diamond Kings Insert" #11
2002 Donruss Diamond Kings #145
2003 Donruss Diamond Kings #169
2005 Donruss Diamond Kings #434

So... if you have any you're interested in trading... send me a message.

Tuesday's question of the day...

What's you favorite Diamond Kings card? Why?

I personally love the 1985 Gwynn card, because it features him in the classic brown and yellow uniform. I also like the dual image that Perez painted.

Well.. four more days to Christmas. I only have one more present left to buy... and I'll do that online. Have a great week everyone! Sayonara.


  1. Can't say I have a favorite DK card, but I love looking at the chronology of the cards you posted! I learned a lot from this post...had no clue about Donruss' bankruptcy issue.

  2. Color me jealous. I really hope to add that '85 card to the growing stack of Gwynn cards someday. Nice get!

  3. thingsarefunnerhere - thanks... i'm glad i was able to help. i've loved DK's since i was a kid and was a pretty big collector in the late 90's when donruss filed for bankruptcy.

    mariner1 - you collect gwynn too? lmk if you have doubles... b/c i have a bunch of doubles too. maybe we can work out a trade.