Thursday, November 29, 2012
1996 Zenith Diamond Club Real Diamond
Set Size: 20 cards
Design Notes: A foil border in the shape of a diamond surrounds the player's photo, with the Zenith logo in an upper corner and a large portion of the bottom devoted to the set name and player's name. In the real diamond version, a small diamond is mounted at the base of the diamond. The backs contain a sepia photo of a baseball field in the background, with a player photo and short highlight paragraph.
Parallels and Similars: The regular version uses Pinnacle's Dufex technology, but there is no diamond.
Distribution: Regular cards were inserted one per box, and cards with real diamonds were found one in every 350 packs.
Thoughts: Pinnacle Brands tried a whole bunch of "gimmicky" ideas in the 1990s, including what I believe is the first card to contain an embedded gem. The actual diamond is pretty small and unimpressive, but the card is quite rare for its time. Actually, the diamond sticks out from the surface of the card a bit. I wonder if people pulling these from packs in 1996 were upset that the card preceding the diamond card most likely had a small dent in the back. Did it damage multiple cards? Or was there a filler card inserted to fix this? In addition to probably being the first embedded-gem card, it has to be one of the first "manu-relic" cards too!