Parallels shouldn’t be complicated. Essentially, it’s a double with a little added bonus. Some companies add a different color border, other change the color of the foil. The most famous parallel, the Refractor, adds a colored glow to their cards.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
There are very few parallels that have been able to compete with Topps’ Refractor. One would be Pinnacle’s Dufex technology but with that company long gone and the owner of the brand, Panini, out of baseball, odds are we have seen the last of Dufex.
Another parallel that had a chance had the company not folded, was Fleer/Skybox’s Precious Metal Gems that made their debut in 1998 Metal Universe and were extremely tough pulls. While I could not find stated odds, they were numbered to just 50 copies and in 1998, that was a pretty big deal.
For those collectors who never experienced the short-lived Metal Universe brand, I’d highly recommend a box from 1996-1998 (avoid all others). Along with the most unique and somewhat insane base cards, you will find some pretty innovative inserts. For a short while, they may have even been more popular than Topps’ Chrome line-up.
You can find boxes of 1998 Metal Universe on eBay for about $40 dollars.