Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When parallels mean something

Parallels are nothing new in the world of sports cards, especially with baseball cards.  Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm probably wrong) but one of the first parallel sets I remember were the 1991 Topps Desert Storm parallels...and you may or may not count those since they weren't randomly packaged in packs.  Another prominent memory of parallels that seemed to get out of hand during my collecting years (started in 1990 by the way) were all of the Gold Medallion cards in Fleer Ultra.

While parallels certainly have their place with collectors I've come to the conclusion that I'm tired of them.  I'm tired of chasing multiple parallels of the same card when only the border changes color.  I can deal with parallels like Topps Tek where more of the card is changed from variation to variation, but the simple color swap of the border - I'm tired of them.

However I will say that some parallels make sense...at least to me.  What I mean by that is there are certain ones that are more appealing to me.  Take for instance this 2011 Topps red bordered parallel from the factory sets.  (I'm not sure why the scan makes the red look so orange)


With the color red being a prominent color of the Braves I can deal with this parallel.  However why would I want to continue chasing orange, green, powder blue, etc. parallels?  My hobby funds are already near non-existent.  If I receive parallels that I don't already own in trades then I'm for it.  I just don't see the need nor do I have the desire to chase down every single parallel unless it's for someone that fits into my PC. 

Here is another example of a parallel that makes sense to me.  2011 Topps Update Walmart blue border:


Prior to Francoeur being traded to the Royals I can't say I would've messed with this card.  While the powder blue doesn't quite match the Royals shade of blue I can let this card slide for several reasons.  1) I like Francoeur, 2) he doesn't have near as many 2011 cards and 3) it's an awesome photo.

The one exception I'll make is for players that I collect (see side bar for list).  I'm all for chasing the rainbow or whatever, but as far as going after pointless parallels for my Braves, Panthers or Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats I'll pass.  Even if the parallel is of someone from my PC I'll still probably be choosy going forward.  Well maybe not for Hudson, Glavine, Smoltz and Rey Ordonez.  I just can't seem to get enough cards of these guys!

What is your feeling towards parallels, especially modern parallels?  How do you approach collecting them?  Do you tend to shy away from them?  Do you tend to only collect certain colors or a certain style (like refractors)?


  1. I do try to get all of the Rockies parallels, because they look good in a binder. But if I was just going to get one it would definitely be the purple refractors.

  2. I'm done buying packs specifically for the parallels. If I see one that I can trade for, I might make an offer...

  3. Orioles cards look great as Orange refractors. I mostly stick to just Nick Markakis when I'm trying to collect rainbows though. I'd try to collect more Orange bordered cards but that can be a tad expensive.

  4. With my type collection I guess I need all the parallels, but the collection focuses more on quantity than quality - I don't chase the /25-or-less too often. When I was first developing the type collection, I ignored parallels, especially with the insert sets.

    I don't bother with parallels for my player collections, and other than Topps Tek (where I've been putting together a variation collection) and a 1992 Topps Gold set, I don't think I have parallels in my collection. I have a minor interest in eventually putting together a proper rainbow sometime from Finest or Chrome, but there are more interesting things in baseball cards to collect.

    1991 Desert Storm parallels were the first real recognized parallels, though there were Topps Tiffany, '75 Minis and Fleer Glossy before, and '92 Topps Gold were the first real packed-out parallels. And some smattering of other parallels and test issues out there that nobody remembers or even knows about.

  5. I'll chase a rainbow for a player I collect (I did for Vernon Wells in 2010 Chrome and almost finished aside from the superfractor and three of the plates) or I'll chase Jays parallels. Otherwise I won't go after them too too often. Borders that match team colors are great though. Almost makes me want to be a Rockies collector so I can collect purple bordered cards.

  6. Being a team collector, I feel the insane need to have every parallel for every Ranger. It never works out, but that doesn't mean I have to stop trying.