The 1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond baseball card set was one of the more unique and eye-catching sets produced in the late 1990s. Upper Deck introduced Black Diamond parallels in 1998 and continued the popular parallel insert set in 1999. While the base set cards from 1999 Upper Deck don’t hold much value today, some of the rare Black Diamond parallel cards from the set can be quite valuable for collectors.

The 1999 Upper Deck base set contained 330 cards and had several traded rookie cards that held value early on. Twenty years later the base cards are quite common and in well-centered, near mint condition hold a nominal value of around $0.10 to $1 each for most players. There are a few exceptions, such as Venezuelan slugger Vladimir Guerrero’s rookie card, which in a PSA 10 Gem Mint can fetch around $15-20 given his Hall of Fame credentials. Other star rookie cards such as Lance Berkman, Todd Helton, or Carlos Beltran in top grades might garner $5-10. But for the most part, investors wouldn’t want to spend too much time pursuing individual base cards from the ’99 Upper Deck set considering how affordable they are.


Where the real value lies in the 1999 Upper Deck set are the parallel Black Diamond refractors and patch cards. These coveted parallels were inserted on average around 1 per pack or 1 per every 125 cards. The Black Diamonds featured refractors of the player photo on a diamond-cut border and parallel numbering from 1/99 to 99/99 depending on the parallel. The lowest numbered parallels, especially numbers 10 or lower, can be worth hundreds or thousands depending on the player. Here is a breakdown of some key 1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond parallels to watch out for:

Chipper Jones #/10 – Jones is a lock for the Hall of Fame and his #/10 Black Diamond refractor in gem mint condition could fetch $1,000+ based on recent eBay sales. Other low numbered Jones parallels also command 3-figure prices.

Derek Jeter #/25 – As one of the most popular Yankees, a Jeter #/25 Black Diamond refractor sold for over $800 in 2021. His parallels 60/99 or lower generally sell for $100+ if well-centered and graded.

Ken Griffey Jr. #/50 – Even in the twilight of his career, Griffey remained one of the most popular players. His #/50 parallel sold for close to $500. Other Griffey parallels under #/75 hold value of $150+ usually.


Mark McGwire #/10 – McGwire’s mammoth home run chase created huge demand for his cards in the late 90s. A #/10 refractor sold for over $900. Any McGwire parallel 10/99 or lower tends to sell for $250+ today.

Sammy Sosa #/25 – As one of the stars of the home run race, low numbered Sosa parallels are still sought after. His #/25 realized over $450 at auction. Expect 60/99 or less to sell for $100+.

In addition to low numbered refractors, there were also ultra-rare Black Diamond jersey and triple patch parallel insert cards featuring swatches of game-worn material. These parallel patch cards are some of the holy grails for collectors, with only a handful believed to exist for some of the biggest stars. A Miguel Cabrera triple logo patch #/10 was reportedly privately sold for over $2,500 in Near Mint condition before he became a superstar. A Derek Jeter triple pinstripe jersey patch #/5 was rumored to have sold for around $4,000 as well. There are even whispers of a #/1 Chipper Jones jersey patch said to be worth $5,000 or more, but none have surfaced publicly in recent years that we know of.


While the vast majority of 1999 Upper Deck base cards hold little intrinsic value today outside of graded rookie cards, savvy investors should keep an eye out for the incredibly rare and desirable Black Diamond refractors and patches from the set, especially those numbered 10/99 or lower. With the continued rise of star players like McGwire, Griffey, Jeter, and Chipper entering the Hall of Fame, demand for their low serial numbered parallels appears to remain steady or increase over time. Withcareful research into recent sales data and population reports, it’s possible unused Black Diamond gems could still be unearthed from the late 90s and provide excellent returns for patient collectors or flippers. Overall the 1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond parallel subset is commonly cited as one of the most visually appealing ’90s inserts and holds solid long term collectability and value potential for the right cards.

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