In my opinion, the 1997 Pinnacle Certified set was the best of the bunch. There are other issues of this set and there are similar sets, but I have always has an affinity for this one above all the others. In all honesty, the Pinnacle Certified Rainbow was also a little simpler to collect to collect and had a better overall appearance and design then many of the rainbows sets of today.
The rainbow in the Pinnacle Certified set started with the base cards. Sorry, no autographs or relics. The design of the Pinnacle Certified set was very typical of 90s Pinnacle sets. They added a clear protective sheet over the top of the cards which takes away a little bit from it's appeal, but looking around at other late 90s card releases, you can find several other examples of this being done.
1997 Pinnacle Certified Ray Lankford
In addition to the base set, Pinnacle issued three different colored parallel cards with a Mirror and Platinum version, or serial numbered and non-serial numbered issue. The three colored parallels were Red, Blue, and Gold with red being the easiest to find and gold being the most difficult. The non-serial numbered parallel of the base cards have the same picture as the base card and are labeled as a "Mirror" card on the back. The Gold Version was limited to 30 copies.
1997 Pinnacle Certified Red Ray Lankford
1997 Pinnacle Certified Blue Ray Lankford
1997 Pinnacle Certified Gold Ray Lankford
The serial numbered versions of the cards varied by the color. The Red Platinum was the most common at a print run of /3999. The Blue Platinum print run was /1999. Both are pretty common by today's standards, but in 1997 it was somewhat challenging. Also notice that to the picture has changed and the card has the appearance of texture commonly found on Pinnacle issues.
1997 Pinnacle Certified Red Platinum Ray Lankford
1997 Pinnacle Certified Blue Platinum Ray Lankford
If you are into the Topps Finest or Bowman rainbows a venture into the 1997 Pinnacle Certified set is well worth your time. The Blue, Red, Blue Platinum, and Red Platinum cards are not a difficult find and can be yours for often a few dollars. Even the Gold Cards aren't difficult to find. Currently, Ebay has more than 300 for sale with the price ranging from $7.99 for a Ray Montgomery or Jay Buhner card to $999.99 for a Jeter Graded at a 9 or a Bernie Williams graded at a 10. Really fun set to collect.
Like the 1997 Pinnacle Certified Set? Not in my Top 50 is the 1999 Fleer Brilliants set. Similar to the Pinnacle Certified in style and appearance, the Fleer Brilliants set was a simple, no autographs or relics, set that offered collectors a chance to put together a set of colored parallel cards for each player. Here's a non-Lankford look at the parallels. The base first:
1999 Fleer Brilliants Johnny Damon
The base set in the Fleer Brilliants set had three parallels. One of the parallels, Blue, was not serial numbered. The other two Gold and 24K Gold were both serial numbered, but were far harder to find then the parallels in the Pinnacle Certified set. The Gold is numbered to 99 and the 24K Gold is numbered to 24. Both are pretty challenging to find. Here's a glimpse at the parallels:
1999 Fleer Brilliants Blue Pat Burrell
1999 Fleer Brilliants Gold Rusty Greer
1999 Fleer Brilliants 24K Gold Roberto Alomar