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Monthly Mailbag - April 2023

This month I tried to focus on closing the gaps in my collection. I targeted older cards that I have just passed up for one reason or another. I wasn't able to remain completely focused, but I was able to add several more from 2004 and 2005 which are two of the biggest years for Rolen cards. I was also able to add a few of the newer released cards as well. Here are all of the 54 additions for April:

2000 Pacific Paramount - Holographic Gold #181, SN199. It's always a good day when I can add a Pacific parallel. These things have gained, what seems to be, a cult following and as such, the prices seem to keep climbing on these otherwise 'sleeper' cards. These were originally released in the summer of 2000. That's a time in my life when baseball cards weren't really a focus at all. These Holographic Gold parallels were randomly inserted only in Retail packs. And like most collectors assume, the majority of these ended up either in the trash, or stashed away somewhere in a box or binder, tucked away in a closet somewhere. That just makes the thrill of the hunt that much more enjoyable for me!

2002 Upper Deck Ovation - Gold #54, SN31. While this card is obviously limited - as it is serial numbered to just 31 copies; they seem tougher to find than one would imagine. I've only ever seen a couple of these offered for sale, so when I saw this one pop up I knew I had to grab it! The serial numbering on these Gold parallels varies per player. For hitters, the serial number indicates the player's single-season career high in home runs. I really enjoy this card. There are only 31 copies produced, the image that Upper Deck used of Scott crushing a ball, the gold coloring, and the embossed Phillies team logo behind Scott just makes this a great looking card!

2000 Bowman Chrome - Retro/Future #120. These were released in July of 2000, back when I wasn't really collecting baseball cards much due to recently graduating from High School. The Retro/Future cards were a quasi-parallel of the base set. All 440 base cards were available in this fashion. Basically, they took the photograph used on the base card and placed it in a television set - a nod to the 1955 Bowman set. These were inserted at a rate of 1:6 packs, but like I said earlier, all 440 cards were done in this style which makes the odds of pulling a specific player approximately 1:2,640. It had been awhile since I've seen a Rolen come up for sale, so when this one surfaced, I jumped on it! Now if I could just track down the refractor version.

2011 Thompson Plumbing Cincinnati Reds #NNO. This is a card that I thoroughly enjoy. It's not a red hot 90s insert, it's not serial numbered or die-cut, but it is a card that can be tough to track down. This card was part of a Cincinnati Reds team set that was handed out at the Reds vs Pirates game on Sunday April 17, 2011. The first 30,000 fans to enter the gates were given a team set that contained one of these Rolen cards. These cards are incredibly condition sensitive. Not only are they extremely thin cards, but players who won the Rawlings Gold Glove award had a gold foil in the background that is prone to surface scratches and chipping along the edges. I'm happy to have finally tracked this one down and add it to the collection this month!

2001 Donruss Class of 2001 - Samples #38. These sample cards were distributed inside the February 2002 issue of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly. The sample cards parallel each of the first 100 cards from the base set and has "SAMPLE" stamped on the back in silver foil. Also, one in every 10 Beckett magazines contained one of the sample cards with the word "SAMPLE" stamped in gold foil. I enjoy chasing sample and promotional cards to add to the collection and sometimes they can be tough to track down. Especially when the cards are nearly identical to the card that was released in packs and when only discernible difference is a small foil stamp on the back of the card. Now if I could just track down the gold foil version.

2004 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia - Spectrum Silver #178, SN100. I love how shiny these cards are! They are similar to the Hobby release (which are serial numbered to 1349) with the main differences being the holofoil "SPECTRUM" on the front and the Playoff logo using the same holofoil. These were limited, and serial numbered, to just 100 copies. Any day I can add a card from 2004 to the collection is a great day!

1995 Reading Phillies Eastern League Champs Team Issue #NNO. I thought that I already had this card. But as it turns out, the copy I had was the Nabisco version. This team issue version has a blank white space underneath the Season Notes area. I always find it fun and interesting to discover cards like this after collecting Rolen cards for as long as I have. I think things like this excite me even more than the shiny inserts and parallels of the 90s! Everything else about this card is the same as the Nabisco version, but little differences like that is one of the joys of being a player collector.

2012 Sega Card-Gen #237. These cards are nearly impossible to track down. So when a fellow collector posted about a bunch of them being listed for sale on ebay, I couldn't open my app quick enough. This card comes from a fairly large set that included 408 different cards produced for the Japanese market. It is believed that they were prizes in pachinko machines. All I really know is that this copy here is the first one I've even seen. I'm still missing the Rolen cards from the 2010 and 2011 sets. I would love to be able to track those down sometime this year!

2022 Topps Black & White - Camera Film Design #42, SN25. I was finally able to pick one of these up for a price that was realistic! I was able to add the autographed version of this card to the collection last month and I refused to pay more for this unsigned copy than I did for the signed version. Patience paid off, and once the FOMO dissipated, this card surfaced. I'm a big fan of this simple design and the camera film look adds just enough to this card to push it over the top for me personally. It certainly helps that it is limited, and serial numbered, to just 25 copies as well!

2003 Playoff Portraits - FanFest Green #122. These are tough cards to track down! They were only available at the 2003 All-Star Game Fan-Fest held in Chicago, IL in July 2003. I can't recall ever seeing one before a recent consignment listing on ebay where the seller posted several different players for sale. These aren't serial numbered like the other parallels in the set, but rest assured they are incredibly limited (as far as 2003 cards go). Now if I could just track down the red parallel that was released at the National!

1998 Stadium Club - Co-Signers #CS-4. This is a card that I've been wanting to add to my collection for quite some time now. I've always passed on it in the past though. Either I didn't have the funds for the card, the card was in bad condition, or the autographs were faded (or worse - counterfeit!) But this one landed on my radar at the perfect time. A fellow collector on Instagram messaged me one night and said he knew a guy who had another card that I was interested in. I got the guy's contact information and inquired about the other card. After some back and forth, we were just too far apart to make a deal for that one, but he mentioned having some other Rolen cards. This was one of the other cards he had. Several messages later and we had come to an agreement for this card and one other one. This card will stay in my collection forever! It's an outstanding copy of an early Rolen signature and there is another guy on the card that is in the Hall of Fame.

2004 Topps Heritage - Chrome Refractors #THC106, SN555. This is the other card from the deal made with the Rolen/Jeter above. As I've said countless times in the past; these look better in-hand than they do in scans. The depth of these refractor cards reminds me a lot of the refractors from the mid to late 90s. I actually purchased a copy of this card awhile ago, but thanks to the seller's inability to adequately protect a trading card and the USPS manhandling packages, I received that one quite mangled. Luckily this card (and the one above) came packaged perfectly and now these cards have a very loving home in my collection!

2006 Topps 1952 Edition - Debut Flashbacks Chrome Gold Refractors #DFC7, SN52. It isn't like me to go after landscape oriented cards unless there is a nice looking patch and/or autograph on the card. But this card here, it just reminds me of the cards I love from the 90s. Much like a card from the 90s, these cards look far better in-hand than they do in scans. Even with the Epson V600 scanner, you cannot see the depth this card has to offer. In person, the etching really makes the light refract over this entire card! Not only is it absolutely stunning in person, but it's also limited and serial numbered to just 52 copies making it pretty tough to come by.

This was a pretty big month for acquisitions for The Rolen Collection. For the sake of brevity, I have added these cards to the collection without writing anything about them above. Included below are 14 different cards from 2004 and 14 different cards from 2005 along with several others that I picked up for next to nothing:

I love adding cards to The Rolen Collection, but this was a lot of work. I had to scan each card front, each card back, and then combine them into one image per card for the website. Luckily I was able to get them all scanned and added to the website while watching some baseball on TV to help pass the time. I'm not sure when I'll be able to add this many more unique cards to the collection in a single month again, but I'll certainly try!


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