Metal Coulda Been A Contender

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.

My Precious!



  1. Unless you pulled a gem card of Roger Clemens (my favorite guy) or any of the big hobby star, you’ll have a hard time convincing me otherwise. PLUS, you have to remember that the gem parallels were encased in a plastic sleeve, so they VERY easy to find by pack searchers.

  2. Actually, I may be wrong. I did a quick search on eBay and found none that were encapsulated, but I SWEAR I saw a Matt Williams that was encapsulated a few years ago. Forget my pack searching comment, world.

  3. I officially declared myself a metal 96-98 collector yesterday (baseball, football, and basketball). Weird timing with this post hahaha.

  4. These were some of my fav. cards to buy back in the late 90’s. As a kid I loved the design and the price. I never pulled any of those rare cards but I was/am a big fan of the base cards. I would love love love to see these come back with the design toned down just a little bit.

  5. I was more of a fan of the Donruss Preferred Precious Metal inserts because they were actually made of genuine gold and platinum…wth commodities prices shooting through the roof right now, I thought it’d be cool to find the crappy examples from that set for cheap on ebay (The Jose Cruz Jr.’s of the world, etc) and melt them down for their weight in platinum…is that stupid? I bet their is money to be made…

  6. Geez, I take that back…even semistars from that set are selling for over $100. A recent completed listing for Jeff Bagwell sold for $113 and a Mo Vaughn is selling for $75 right now…Donruss had a great idea in mind because you can’t find many “insert” sets from the late 90’s that hold their value that well

  7. The Metals line was ugly and reeked of Marvel Comics hands all over the Fleer brand at the time. This was such a comic book thing and seemed gaudy to excess. More of an item that would attract an eight year old with A.D.D.
    (no offense to anyone that likes it just my opinion.)

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