Parallels are a funny thing. Back in '92 the only parallel that was available was Topps Gold, and that was just a silly foil stamped name. Now, as you can see below, you can get many MANY parallels of pretty much every card. Including inserts. I find this to be rather excessive and tedious to compulsive collectors (like myself), that feel they need to collect everything out there for a particular year. Topps has made it easy on us by practically eliminating the competition, so we can focus on collecting only so much. On the flip side, they have made it pretty much impossible due to all the parallels they offer in their products. Chicle had 4 different backs, the flagship set has 5 different variations. Bowman has 15732 different variations (seemingly). There comes a point when too much is too much. Not to mention the sheer impossibility to collect such a set. 2010 Topps Gold is achievable, hell, I'd even say that the black set is possible. But what about platinum? No single person would ever be able to collect the entire thing due to rarity. What a collector has to do is find a player (or team) they like and just go for that very few. Who knows how many from series 1 are still lurking in packs. I've checked eBay for them and it seems if someone bought all the platinums that have been up for sale so far they would have about 1/317th of the set (if that). Its very exciting to get 1/1s (and REAL 1/1s, don't get me started on printing plates, even though I do enjoy them too), but it all just seems excessive. So on top of gold, black and platinum there are the Wally-Mart blacks, and the Target retro backs. How many sets do we need? I mean, I completed 5 base series 1 sets (anyone need a series 1 set?), but I admittedly bought way too much, and have scaled back what I buy for series 2. But thats just base cards, cards I can go to a show and buy for ten whole cents. Thats why I have 5 sets, lots of doubles, may as well make a set. I'm not going to go out of my way to complete a Target or black set, I'll collect who I like (like Mr. Wells below) and leave it at that. While it may be excessive, I guess it is nice of Topps to give us variety. On a different note, silk cards are sweet, I won't soon tire of those.
top row: base, gold, black
middle row: Target, silk, Wally
bottom: Opening Day, OD blue, Jays team set