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Monthly Mailbag - April 2024

This month started off relatively slow, but with some patience, I was able to add some really nice pieces to the collection this month. Check them out below...

2000 UD Ionix - Reciprocal #R38 (Error - Preston Wilson front). I probably overpaid for this card, but it's unique enough to get me to bite for just a few dollars. Error cards have been a thing since the hobby started, and printing errors seem pop up quite a bit during the "junk wax era". This card features a mismatched front/back. I'm not sure how many of these made it into circulation, but it can't be anywhere near as many as the correct version of the card. These oddball type cards are more than welcomed into my collection any time I can grab them for cheap enough.

2023 Topps Diamond Icons - Jumbo Autographed Patches Purple #AJP-ROL, SN10. I'm not sure what is so "purple" about this card. Perhaps I can figure it out once I add a couple of the other parallels to my collection. For now, I'll just appreciate the beauty of this card. Sure, the jersey swatch doesn't match the photo that Topps used for the card. And yes, it's a landscape oriented card. But it is an on-card auto! I'm hoping Topps runs out of these red jersey swatches with the white stripe soon though, they seem to be in everything right now.

2023 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition - 2005 Bowman Heritage #10, SN29. You guessed it: another month, another Topps Archives Signature card! At this point, there isn't really much to say about these cards that I haven't already said. But I'll continue adding these on-card autographed cards of my favorite player to ever play the game. Especially if I'm able to pick them up for next to nothing because they are really kind of overdone at this point. That said, I still only want to grab copies where Scott's autograph is easily able to be seen.

2003 Playoff Prestige - Connections Materials #C-59, SN400. Thanks, in large part, to Rolen sharing this card with Albert Pujols, this card typically sells for more than I have been willing to pay for the card. This one came up recently for a really fair price so I decided now would be a great time to add it to the collection. Rolen was traded to the Cardinals in 2002, and in 2002, Pujols played a little bit of everywhere. He did play 21 games at first base though, so there is a chance the base contained in this card could have been used in a game where these guys were playing the corners at the same time. Now that I have this copy in my collection, it's time to add the "base" version without the memorabilia.

2023 Panini Flawless - Flawless Signatures Gold #FS-SR, SN10. Panini has been really good about selecting pictures for their cards where team logos are obscured enough to make it not too noticeable. This isn't one of those photos. But, even though the team logos are clearly missing from the picture, overall, I really like this card. Of course, the on-card autograph really helps the card. The fact that it's serial numbered to just 10 copies is just another case of manufactured rarity though. I do, however, really like the holographic gold foil they used for this gold parallel!

2023 Topps Five Star - Autographed Jumbo Prime Green #FSJP-SR, SN15. Patience really paid off on picking this card up! Sometimes that's a gamble that I'm just willing to take. You have to time things just right to be able to still acquire the card while still getting it for a good price. Buy them too early, and you're almost guaranteed to overpay. But if you wait too long, you'll be searching for the card for several years because they get locked up in collections. I hit this one in the sweet spot though. The product is still being opened, and cards are still being listed. But companies are actively releasing even newer products so these tend to take a back seat to those.

2023 Topps Now #610 Scott Rolen, PR744. I missed the window to order these directly from Topps while they were available on their website. Then I had to wait just a little bit longer because I refused to pay the overinflated secondary market price. The parallels and the autographed copies of this card are still selling (or being listed) for more than I want to pay for the cards. But when this one came up at auction, I knew it was my time to strike. I was able to add this card to my collection this month for less than the cost of what they were going for on the Topps website!

2011 Topps Update - All-Star Stitches Diamond Anniversary #AS-59, SN60. I absolutely love the look of these Diamond Anniversary parallels! In-hand, they almost have a 3-D appearance because of the foil that was used on them. I missed out on one of these last month - it sold at auction for far more than I thought it would go for. When this one surfaced with a "buy it now - or best offer" option, I quickly sent an offer for it. The seller countered and I gladly accepted. As I'm sure you're well aware, I got this card for less than the one that sold at auction. A hobby win for sure! The jersey swatch is what drew me to this particular copy. As you can see, it's a light tan color which came from the smallest portion of the jersey Rolen is wearing in the photo on the front of the card. That said, I would love to pick up another copy that has a black swatch embedded in the card.

2000 Pacific Prism - Embossed Chicago Sportsfest #112. This card comes to my collection by way of a hobby friend, Dave. He reached out to me on instagram after I posted the full rainbow of these cards. He said he had this card that was embossed at the Chicago Sportsfest back in 2000. Of course, I wanted the card for my collection! He offered to sent it to me for free, but the card was in his COMC account. After he listed it for sale, I ran over to COMC and put the card in my cart (along with some others I'll post below). A few short days later and the card arrived! Thanks again, Dave! I appreciate you making this card available to me!

2004 Playoff Prestige - Changing Stripes Holo-Foil #CS-5, SN50. This card is ridiculously shiny in person! It was listed on ebay recently and I was the only person to bid on the card. I love it when I can win cards with the opening bid. While that may not necessarily be a good thing for the hobby or for Rolen cards specifically it's good for my budget. If I can add cards to my collection for this cheap, I'll do it all day every day and twice on Sundays!

2008 Topps Co-Signers - Printing Plates Cyan #49, SN1. I don't normally pick up printing plates to add to my collection. But this one had been for sale for quite some time on ebay. The seller was clearly motivated to move it because he accepted my "best offer" on the card. Some printing plates are pretty lackluster and leave a lot to be desired. What I like about this one is the production of it. Topps decided to dress it up a bit with some cardboard/graphics on the front and the same back that they used for the actual card. I also like the little triangular sticker on the back of the card that has some sort of number on it along with the "1/1".

2022 Topps Triple Threads - Autograph Relic Gold #TTAR-SR2, SN9. Hobby friend, John C. sent me a message on Facebook one afternoon that included a screenshot of this card being offered for sale in a Facebook group. I reached out to the seller of the card to see what he was looking to get for it. After some quick negotiations, a deal was made and this card was on it's way to my collection. I must say, these Triple Threads cards are far less expensive now as opposed to when they were first released in 2022. For that, I am happy. Perhaps now I'll be able to add some more of the different parallels to my collection.

2023 Panini Chronicles - Revolution Astro #43. I'm still looking for a few more of these parallels to complete the rainbow. But I'm guessing the product isn't being opened much anymore since there have been multiple other products released. I still think these Revolution cards this year are some of the most nostalgia inducing cards produced. I absolutely love all the different foils that were used on these parallels. And this one is no different. The little stars dance in the background as you look at this card in-hand.

2023 Panini Flawless - Flawless Autographs Ruby #FA-SR, SN20. This card is surprisingly thick! I'm sure that it's probably "standard" for a product like Flawless. But I've never opened any of that stuff myself (too expensive for me). The design of this card is pretty clean overall. Some nice foil usage on the front to help differentiate all of the parallels. And of course, the on-card autograph is always a big win in my book!

2023 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition - 2010 Bowman - Gold #42, SN1. What? A second Archives Signature card added to the collection this month? Absolutely! And it's one of the numerous 1/1s. This isn't an overly important card to have signed by Rolen. But for the price I paid for this one, I couldn't not pick it up. I'll always pick up on-card autos of my favorite Hall of Fame player when they cost less than a signing fee. And the sooner I can get these into my collection and protected with Superior Fit sleeves, the better chance I have of adding them to my collection without the cases being all scratched up.

2023 Topps Dynasty #DAP-SR2, SN10. This is Rolen's third year in the Dynasty release and I absolutely love it! I'm not a buyer of some of the insane patch cards that were put into this set as some of them sell for more than $800! But I think I got this one for a steal, mostly because of the auction ending time. I'd love to add the others from this set as well as all the previous years that I'm missing. I'm sure that they'll end up in my collection with the level of patience I have for adding cards.

2023 Topps Five Star - Autographed Jumbo Prime Gold #FSJP-SR, SN10. If you've been following along at all with my collecting journey, you'll remember that I bought this card last month. Well, not this exact card, but another Gold parallel numbered to 10. My other copy has a jersey patch that was cut from a gray Reds jersey. And as I've commented about numerous times in the past, I prefer it when companies match the photo they use with the color of the jersey in the card. Well, that's where this card comes in. It was listed on ebay, so I threw a bid down. As it turns out, I was able to grab this card for less than what I paid for my other copy.

2005 Upper Deck Artifacts - Rainbow Blue #89, SN100. This is one of the seemingly endless number of parallels produced in 2005. It was listed on ebay recently for a great price, so I decided that now would be the perfect time to add it to the collection. What you can't see in this scan, is the beautiful holofoil that Upper Deck used on the front of the card. Everything behind Rolen got the foil treatment, but the little semi-circles on the left and right of the card really pop when the light hits it just right.

2023 Panini Chronicles - Clearly Donruss Purple #7, SN25. Similar to the Gold parallel that I picked up a while ago, this Purple parallel utilizes some acetate that has a rainbow effect built into it. The centering isn't the greatest on this particular copy, but it hasn't been the greatest on either of the other copies I've seen offered up for sale since the product released. The purple foil in the Donruss logo as well as the little pattern on the lower left of the card is what differentiates this as the Purple parallel, and it's a pretty nice touch.

2022 Topps Diamond Icons - Silver Ink Autographs #SI-SR, SN25. I really like how the silver signature pops on this card! It's a little wonky because of the construction of the card creating a small diamond area for Rolen to sign in, but it's a great looking signature on-card. The construction of this card is pretty cool too. The black background for the autograph as well as the "border" of the card is actually behind the cardboard/foil area where Rolen's picture is. Those two mediums, combined, make this card fairly thick; fitting in a 100pt magnetic.

2023 Panini Immaculate - Hall of Fame Materials Holo Gold #HOF-SR, SN10. I really only picked this card up this month because of how inexpensive it was. I'm not a huge fan of the image Panini used for this one as you can really notice the lack of team logo on Rolen's chest. I also wish they would have featured him in a Cardinals uniform for this series of cards due to him going into the Hall of Fame as a St. Louis Cardinal. The little piece of jersey on this card also leaves a lot to be desired. One of the good things this card has going for it though is the holo gold foil! I'm guessing there are a lot of collectors out there who feel similar to me about this card and that was one of the leading factors in how cheap this card sold for. I'll eventually pick up the other parallels for this one, assuming they all go for similar prices.


1998 Upper Deck Retro - Quantum Leap #Q18, SN50

This card screams 90s! It's got foil, holo-foil, die-cut, and dot matrix style serial numbering. I've wanted this card for so long! I had an opportunity to pick one up a while ago, but the price just wasn't right for me at that point in time. I was beginning to think that I might not see another one for quite some time given the fact that these are serial numbered to just 50 copies and they're locked up in collections (or still hiding in unopened product.) But patience has paid off once again, and another copy surfaced this month. I pounced on this one pretty quickly because, while I like to be patient, I also don't want to tempt fate and miss out again. This is a perfect example of a card that just doesn't exhibit that "wow" factor in scans. Not even a photo can capture the true beauty of this little piece of cardboard. Now that I have this one in hand, it makes me appreciate it even more!

COMC order. Since I was picking a card up off of COMC, I decided to go ahead and add these to my order. They were missing from my collection, and they were listed for really good prices:

There you have it. A really solid month of additions to The Rolen Collection. Going forward, at least for the next few months, I don't anticipate too many more mail days. I do have a few cards that are still in transit that I will share next month. That just might give me some time to go back through my collection and write more on some specific cards and take some photos that properly show them off!


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