What Constitutes a Complete Trading Card Rainbow?

One type of “set” that many collectors like to put together is what’s called a “rainbow.”  A “rainbow” in the trading card world is where you have one copy of the base card and each colored parallel of that card.

For example, let’s say you are collecting the rainbow for Jedd Gyorko and his 2013 Topps card (which I have done minus the Platinum #d 1/1).  Here are the cards you would need to collect (one copy of each) to complete the rainbow including the base:

  • Red (exclusive to Target packs)
  • Blue (exclusive to Wal-Mart packs)
  • Purple (exclusive to Toys-R-Us packs)
  • Emerald Foil
  • Gold (serial-numbered to 2013 copies)
  • Desert Camouflage (serial-numbered to 99 copies)
  • Black (serial-numbered to 62 copies, Hobby and HTA only)
  • Pink (serial-numbered to 50 copies)
  • Platinum (one-of-one)
  • Printing Plates (set of four for each card, Hobby and HTA only)

Collecting a rainbow can be a daunting, yet extremely fun, task.  However, my question is, what constitutes a complete rainbow?  As you can see above, I highlighted the printing plates as these are normally not included in a rainbow but it’s also up to you to define your “complete rainbow.” In my quest to complete the 2013 Topps Jedd Gyorko rainbow, I have not included the printing plates.  In my opinion, they’re not cards, they’re plates.

Here’s part two of my question and “what constitutes a complete rainbow?”  Earlier this year, Topps released an online exclusive Oversized Red set where the cards are red-bordered variations of the flagship set, serial numbered to 10 copies per card, and 5×7 instead of the normal 2.5 x 3.5 size.  With these cards being over-sized, would you consider these part of the rainbow for the 2015 Topps set?  Oddly enough, I would say yes since they are considered cards even though they are over-sized.  But, then again, this is my opinion and your entitled to yours.

2015-10-21 06.24.19

I’d love to hear what you think about this topic.   Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter @jasondeanmartin or @beansballcardblog.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I purchased the Gyorko Oversized Red card pictured here just in case I decide to complete the 2015 rainbow as well.

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