Once upon a time, Black Diamond was a challenging set of cards to put together, usually consisting of 100 base cards, plus numerous short-printed Double Diamond, Triple Diamond, and Quadruple Diamond cards. It also cost around $100 per box.
However, in 2015-16, Upper Deck refocused Black Diamond into a set consisting of hits, inserts, and autographs. And while it still has base cards, they are now serial-numbered. Thus, Upper Deck also raised the price of the set; in 2015-16, it was around $250 for a six-card box.
Black Diamond is not for the faint of heart. A box of 2021-22 Black Diamond Hockey cards will cost you around $370 for a six-card pack. That’s over $60 per card. I know that the pandemic has both raised the demand for and reduced the supply of trading cards, but this has gotten out of hand.
Although I’m more of a set builder than a hit chaser, I still love to open hockey cards. So, let’s see what’s inside a box of 2021-22 Black Diamond Hockey.
1 Black Diamond Base Card #/349
Base cards for 2021-22 Black Diamond are serial-numbered out of 349 copies. I got Josh Bailey of the Islanders. There are 100 base cards in the set. Note that the base cards do not use standard numbering (i.e., 1, 2, 3, etc.) but have a BDB prefix for “Black Diamond Base.”
1 Black Diamond Rookie
The Black Diamond “Diamond Relic Rookies” — redundant, I know! –use a BDR prefix and are serial-numbered out of 99 copies. I got Lucas Raymond, who had a decent rookie year in 2021-22. Hey, I can think of both better (Moritz Seider, Cole Caufield, Trevor Zegras) and worse rookies (take your pick) to get than Raymond, so no complaints here.
1 Black Diamond Rookie Gems #/399
At first glance, I thought the Rookie Gems were THE rookie cards for Black Diamond, since these Rookie Gems and the base cards both use a matte black finish on the fronts, interspersed with silver foil. But nope! These are actually inserts and are numbered out of 399. I got Nils Lundkvist of the New York Rangers — but now with the Dallas Stars.
1 Exquisite Collection Moments #/399
Another insert, this Exquisite Collection Moments card of Kirill Kaprizov is numbered 144/399. The card shows a picture from Kaprizov’s NHL debut, where he scored two assists plus the game-winning goal in overtime.
1 Team Logos Jumbos Puzzle Patches
A big, manufactured patch of Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning. And no — there is no serial-number on this card.
1 Diamond Mine Relics Authentic Jersey
A more-traditional memorabilia card with a much-smaller jersey swatch — but hey, at least it is game-used! Unfortunately, this Bo Horvat card uses the dreaded white jersey swatch. And before you shout “Sal, straighten your card scans!”, please note that the card is actually printed a bit crooked.
At $370 per box — or around $400 with sales tax — 2021-22 Black Diamond is a tough rock to swallow. Yes, getting a rookie card numbered to 99 copies is nice, as are getting a low serial-numbered base card and low serial-numbered inserts. (Granted, some would not consider /399 or /399 exactly low.) But for the price of admission, shouldn’t you get a rookie card AND an autographed card, like in a box of SP Authentic? And shouldn’t the manufactured patch cards and game-used jersey cards also be serial-numbered? And really, does a white jersey swatch have any business being in a set as expensive as Black Diamond? If taking big risks in the hopes of getting a big hit is your thing, then Black Diamond is probably your speed. Otherwise, stick to eBay or “pick your team” case breaks. And if you crave the shiny, full-foil Black Diamond cards of old, the 2021-22 Upper Deck Extended Series set had a 46-card insert set designed to look like the 2005-06 Black Diamond set.
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