By Allan Alexander aka HockeyCardsPlus

This is my tale of the history in my eyes of the revolution of the parallel set. I have been a collector since I was around nine years old. I was really never interested in collecting a certain player or team, I enjoyed them all. Then along came 1994 and Pinnacle released its parallel set, Museum Collection, into that year’s baseball cards. I was hooked. I guess it was the starburst effect that really caught my eye with these. I tried to put the set together as well as the Artist Proofs set, but there were just too many cards for me. The irony here is that I ended up doing the 1994-95 Pinnacle Rink Collection set which was 539 cards; some of which I am still missing as they were only attainable through redemption. For me the challenge of finding all the parallels for a set is what makes it fun and enjoyable.

The next few years I tried collecting a few other parallel sets. I tried 1996-97 Leaf Press Proofs, but they just didn’t really hold my interest enough to finish pursuing it. I also tried 1997-98 Donruss Silver and Gold Press Proofs and even with them holding my interest a little more, I just couldn’t manufacture the will to keep collecting them. Around that time, I struggled with collecting in general and even with my love of it. I was having a hard time enjoying it. I even flirted with the 1998-99 SPx Finite Spectrum set but gave up faced with the impossibility of getting all the 1/1’s.

The 2002-03 Atomic set more than rejuvenated my love of collecting and of the parallel set. The cards were a beautiful die-cut design and with the smaller set size (125), the parallels did not seem like an impossible challenge. I tried all four of the parallels to the base set; gold/99, blue/150, red /125, hobby/775. Although the hobby set was the only one I finished, I enjoyed them immensely. Sadly the next 4-5 years I was busy in a new job and left the collecting hobby for the most part.

In 2009 I returned to the hobby I had loved for so long. I started the year acquiring 2009-10 Certified Fabric of the Game NHL Die Cuts /10. It was a beautiful set and I came about ten cards from completing it when I started to go through some layoff time at work and had to abandon it. I really wish I could have finished that set as all the ones I had received were really sick patches, it would have been my masterpiece. My next move was to find a set I could hopefully put together, and wasn’t too costly. There were enough made that it wouldn’t be an extreme task. The NHL Die-Cuts from Certified, were so short printed that when you saw one on eBay or wherever you had to grab it, and even with the limited number it was not too difficult just very costly.

Then, along came 2011-12 Artifacts. Once I had seen this set, I was instantly in love. It was beautiful and it reminded me of the feeling I had when I first saw the 2002-03 Atomic cards. I loved all the different choices of parallel sets, and so I had to decide which one was the best fit for me. I decided I would try the jersey parallels but only if the two jersey pieces were different colors on each card and none of the two were white. I also decided to try the horizontal jersey patch emeralds and the regular jersey patch emeralds. The horizontal started to prove to be costly and it proved to be difficult to find dual jerseys ones that matched my criteria. The regular jersey patch emerald ended up being the one I stuck with and eventually made it to only two short of the set. The next few months yielded no progress and with 2012-13 Artifacts getting ready to be released and viewing the checklist (Gretzky in it), I decided all the ones from the previous year would go a long way to helping me do the 2012-13 set with hopefully very little monetary investment. In hindsight part of me wishes I would have finished the 2011-12 set, but I will finish this year’s version. The set from this year is 140 cards deep and I have 106 of them to date. I am hoping that Upper Deck includes other national team jersey patches next year like they did with Team Canada this time around. I think it would be really nice to see some of the jersey patch pieces from other countries in this set.

This has been a lovely ride going through all these parallel sets and reflecting back on how I got to be where I am today. This has brought back so many memories of all the sets I have tried to complete. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed reflecting back on how these cards have changed and evolved.