Monday, February 27, 2017

2000 Upper Deck Ultimate Victory Diamond Dignitaries

Upper Deck Ultimate Victory (UV) only lasted for two years (1999-2000) but has become one of my favorite "modern" sets of all time.  I considered it a higher end card when it first came out - you can now find 24 pack boxes for about $30. If you don't know much about it, this card may jog your memory:

1999 Ultimate Victory #145
 Rick Ankiel RC

This card was highly sought after and sold for a pretty penny back when Ankiel was a top prospect. I recall as a kid browsing through a Beckett magazine and seeing this card at the top of the hot list. I'm pretty sure people were dropping a couple Benjamins for it before Ankiel lost his ability to pitch. You can now find it for around $5.

What impresses me about Ultimate Victory is the quality card stock and foil, but what really brings me back to the set are the inserts. The one time I ripped a pack of 2000 UV I pulled the box "hit", a Diamond Dignitaries insert of Nomar Garciaparra. 

I loved holding it, admiring every little detail and the refraction of light as I angled the card in my hand. That card remained in my collection over the years, and was buried within it for so long I forgot I had it until I pulled a card binder from my shelf and began thumbing through the pages. When I hit the Nomar section, this card stood out among the other 8 cards. It stood out so much in fact that I removed it from its pocket and held it in my hand like I did when I pulled it from a pack years earlier. That's when I decided I was going to collect the whole set.

Diamond Dignitaries has an insertion ratio of 1:23 and consists of 10 cards:

D1 - Ken Griffey Jr.
D2 - Nomar Garciaparra
D3 - Chipper Jones
D4 - Ivan Rodriguez
D5 - Mark McGwire
D6 - Cal Ripken Jr.
D7 - Vladimir Guerrero
D8 - Alex Rodriguez
D9 - Sammy Sosa
D10 - Derek Jeter

I could have completed the set in one COMC purchase, but decided it would be more fun to acquire cards through other means (trades, card shows). I'm in no rush to finish.

What I love about Diamond Dignitaries is how well the gold backdrop compliments the red diamond centered behind the cropped poses of each player. The red, often a color representative of rank or royalty, pairs perfectly with the name of the set. The horizontal design and capturing the players left of center turned the set from a good one to a great one.

- Affordability/Availability - cards range from $0.75 to $3.00 and are easy to come by
- Checklist - This set contains elite players, many of which are now HOFers or future HOFers - there were no duds inserted into the set

- Size - 10 cards means one card will sit all by itself in a 9 pocket page behind the rest; not ideal since I like to store my insert sets in binders

Nostalgia gets me every time.


  1. I remember that insert set well. Good luck finding them the old fashioned way! Glad you already have the Jeter. Even his cheap cards are a pain to find.

    1. Ha, yeah I'll probably hold out until COMC's Black Friday sale if I haven't found the other cards by that point.

      Jeter cards really are hard to come by. And my goodness, Griffey cards are almost always the most expensive in any set. In this case it costs double all the other cards.

  2. I've wondered why card companies haven't figured out to make sets in multiples of nine. I mean, if you store things in a box, it doesn't matter how many are in the set, whether it's a multiple of 5 or 10 or whatever. But they have to know that we collectors like pages, which are almost always in nines.

  3. Those are nice looking shiny inserts. 10 card insert sets drive me nuts though.

    1. Drives me nuts too! I was perusing other insert sets from 1998-2001ish recently and many of them have 10 cards... :l