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Monthly Mailbag - August 2022

Coming off of a strong July, I was hoping that August would be at least as fruitful...and it did not disappoint! A little bit of new stuff, a smattering of older stuff. And I love it all the same! This month I was able to check off 23 cards that helped me move even closer to the goal of 3,000 unique Rolen cards in The Rolen Collection.

Here's what was added this month:

2022 Topps Tier One - Prime Performers Autographs #PPA-SR, SN299. Topps included Rolen once again in their Tier 1 release. I'm a big fan of the Tier 1 lineup and this one certainly does not disappoint. Rolen is represented here in his Cardinals uniform in that classic Rolen batting stance. A nice bold blue on-card autograph graces the front of this one. And the "base" version here is numbered to just 299 copies. Of course Topps had to release some parallels of these cards so once again we have Bronze (SN25), Silver (SN10), and Gold (SN1) versions that need to be added to the collection at some point once the prices come down on them.

2000 SkyBox Dominion - Double Play Warp Tek #3 DP WT. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: these cards look far better in-hand than they do in scans. Chipper Jones graces the front of this card and that is the side with the special 'Warp Tek' treatment. To fully appreciate the beauty of this card you definitely need to see it in person, or at least a video of the card while moving side-to-side. These weren't exactly easy to pull either. They were inserted into packs at a rate of 1:900 (that's only one per 25 boxes!) With 10 cards in the set, it could potentially take you quite some time to pull this card of your guy.

1999 Stadium Club - Triumvirate Illuminator #T12c. This card is the epitome of 1999 baseball cards! It is die-cut, acetate, and a refractor! I absolutely love everything about this card. They were incredibly tough pulls from '99 Stadium Club too. They were available in three different pack types: Hobby (1:288), Retail (1:384), and Jumbo (1:144). Multiply those numbers by 24 (total number of cards in the set), and you can see just how tough it would have been to pull your guy! I've seen a handful of these sell over the years, but I finally pulled the trigger on this one when it surfaced.

1998 Donruss Elite - Status #81, SN100. This die-cut beauty comes to my collection by way of Instagram. It's always a great day when I receive an early Rolen card that I need for the collection and this one is no exception. I'm a sucker for a shiny 90s card and this one shines! These are limited, and serial numbered, to just 100 copies. I imagine there are a lot of them either locked up in collections or sitting in some random old packs, not seeing the light of day anytime soon. They rarely come up for sale on the secondary market, and when they do, sellers typically ask far too much for them. I mean, I get it, demand certainly exceeds supply, and they aren't making any more of these, but in no realm is this a $1,000+ card.

2005 Topps Turkey Red - Gold #85, SN50. Another great looking gold card of this perennial Gold Glover. There are just 50 copies of this Turkey Red card, but lets be honest, it is still a card from the massively overproduced run that is 2005 cards. Nevertheless, I'm happy to add this one to the collection. Especially since these were inserted at a rate of 1:59 packs. And while that doesn't sound too terribly difficult to pull, there were 330 cards in the base set!

2022 Topps - 1987 Topps All-Star Baseball Autographs Gold #87ASA-SR, SN25. It is still 2022, so we are still going to see this classic 1987 design floating around for the 35th Anniversary. This time, in Series 2, Topps put Rolen on an All-Star card and had him sign these right there on the card. I thoroughly enjoy the fact that Rolen is pictured here in his Cardinals uniform. The auto on the front of this card is nice and bold too!

1998 Flair Showcase Row 0 #20, SN250. Just look at this beautiful card! If you're a fan of 90s cards, you already know all about these. For me, this one serial numbered to 250 was tougher to obtain than the Legacy version which is serial numbered to 100. With the addition of this card to my collection, I can now call the 1998 Flair Showcase run, 'complete'. I am only missing a couple of them, which I doubt I'll ever see: the Masterpiece 1/1 and the Perfect 10. Getting this card for the price I did was a huge win for me this month!

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter - Relics #AGR-SR. If you look hard enough, you can see a small piece of Rolen's jersey embedded into this card. I promise, it's there. You might have to squint to see it, but it's there! This wasn't an overly tough pull out of Allen & Ginter back in 2009. Topps inserted them at a rate of 1:39 packs. Though the checklist is quite extensive and they had four different groups of these cards. I surmise that it had something to do with what the overall size of the relic was that they were cutting up to put into these cards. Regardless, I'm happy to have this one in the collection. Rolen didn't have a lot of hobby love in 2009 and as such, he only has 100 cards total produced that year.

2004 Topps - Black #582, SN53. There's just something about Topps Black cards that I love. Maybe it's the fact that, in another era of overproduced cards, we know that there are a very limited amount of these out there. Or perhaps it is the black of the card that just makes it feel like a luxury item. Whatever it is, I am happy to add this one to the collection, especially at the price I paid for it. Now if I could just track down all of the other years of Black cards I'm missing, along with the Chrome Black cards, that would be great!

2000 Pacific Prism - Proofs #112, SN10. This is a card that is so rare, I never even bothered to put it on my Top 10 Want List! It's basically a unicorn! That said, I've seen three of them sell fairly recently. I've noticed a trend in rare cards like this lately. Whenever one of them sells on the secondary market, more times than not, that will bring another copy to market. These proof cards don't have that typical 90s - 00s shiny foil that we all know and love from Pacific. Instead, it is all printed on the front of some very flimsy vinyl. So flimsy, in fact, that I was thoroughly surprised about just how flimsy it really is. The back, according to Mike Cramer of Pacific, was intentionally left blank for one simple reason: their printers in the graphics department could only print on one side. I am beyond excited to add this one to my collection this month! With the addition of this card, I am down to just needing the 2000 Pacific Prism - Woodgrain Silver to complete the entire rainbow!

2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary - Red Atomic Refractors #545, SN100. Speaking of rainbows, check out this gorgeous card! It is my most recent acquisition in the myriad of parallels that were released this year out of 2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Edition. The Red Atomic Refractor is, in my opinion, the card to have out of all of the different parallels. First of all, lets state the obvious - it is color matched. That in and of itself lends well to the overall eye appeal of this card. The bright red goes incredibly well with the color scheme of the Cardinals and it really pops against Rolen's white uniform pictured here. The other main reason I think this is the card to own if you're only going to own one from this set is the fact that the cracked ice atomic refractor pattern is hands-down the best refractor pattern ever created for the sports card market! And lastly, the card is limited to just 100 copies which is sure to hold value over many other overproduced modern era cards.

2012 Topps Triple Threads - All-Star Patches #TTASP-57, SN9. This is a card that I didn't know I wanted until I saw it listed for sale. I know that Triple Threads always produces some really great looking cards, but just look at the patch pieces on this one! They are from a jersey that was worn by Rolen during the 2011 All-Star game. I would have much rather been able to buy the jersey whole, but since that wasn't an option, I'm happy to add this card that contains a few pieces of the jersey to my collection. This particular card says that the jersey was worn during the All-Star festivities, which isn't the same as "game worn", but it's far better than some of the manufactured items that are being produced today.

2022 Topps Pristine - Slice of a Star Red Refractor #SSAR-SR, SN5. RAINBOW COMPLETE! This was a huge addition to the collection for a few reasons. First and foremost, it completes the rainbow for me! This card is not easy to come by being serial numbered to just 5 copies. It's a gorgeous card from start to finish. The red color match lends well to the overall eye appeal for this card. And just look at that jersey swatch! A nice piece from what I'm guessing is the sleeve area of the jersey that was used for these cards. And, of course, that bold blue on-card autograph!

Huge shout out to kevscards2021 for putting me in touch with the owner of this card on Instagram! And another big shout out to Jeff, owner of Two Seam Trifecta Cards, for working with me to get this card into my collection! He's a great guy who knows how to package and ship cards securely and quickly!

2007 Topps Moments & Milestones - Red #122-26, SN1. This is a card that I added to the collection recently for one reason: price. Sure, it's a 1/1. But in reality there are 34 of these 1/1 cards. All of them identical except for the number printed in the diamond on the front of the card. Each one representing a home run that Rolen hit in the 2004 season. This one was inexpensive enough though so I figured I would at least grab a copy to have in the collection to show what the reds looked like from this set. Plus, it's got a picture of Rolen on the front in that classic Rolen (from the Cardinals) batting stance. Oh, and check out that hologram sticker on the back. It also says "1/1" and has a certification number on it. That certification number is just for show though, because, as far as I know, there is no database where one could look up that number to see what it corresponds to.

2022 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition - 2012 Bowman #154, SN44. Here we go with these again. Another year of Topps Archives means another year of countless cards of any given player on the checklist. Of course Topps doesn't release a checklist of every card for every player, so once again I find it prudent to track any and all of Rolen that I can find. So far I have documented over 30 different cards released in this set. Of those, all but three have been numbered 1/1. Similar to last year, I plan to add all of the ones I can find that are numbered greater than 1 and I'll even attempt to pick some of those up if they are affordable and have solid eye appeal.

2005 Donruss Diamond Kings - Framed Black #210, SN25. I just might be going insane. Everyone knows by now how much disdain I have for anything produced in 2005. But, and hear me out, I might just try to actively pursue these Diamond Kings cards and all eleventy billion of the parallels (excluding the 1/1s). I'll definitely pursue it if I can pick them up as cheap as I found this one. For less than a couple of bucks, I was able to add this card, that looks like just about ever other one of Rolen's cards in the set, to my collection. But this one has a black frame and black foil on the Diamond Kings logo...and it's serial numbered to just 25 copies. Luckily for me, the seller wasn't trying to finance his next house with the sale of this one.

1998 Panini Venezuelan Stickers #315. These little things are tough to track down! I couldn't find any concrete information on these stickers that were intended to be placed into a collectors album. But I did find a guy selling several of them on ebay from the set. After getting this one in the mail, I purchased the final one I need to complete all three of them from this release for Rolen. The overall scarcity of these, combined with the very little actual information on them, is what intrigues me the most. I would take the simplicity and rarity of this card over anything shiny and mass produced today.

2004 Leaf Certified Materials - Mirror Fabric Emerald AL/NL #172, SN5. This gorgeous patch card comes from the collection of Mr. Moler. It is part of the outrageously huge set of cards released in July of 2004. Packs of 2004 Leaf Certified cost around $10 per pack and yielded just five cards. Exact odds of pulling an Emerald or anyone isn't known, but they are tough! Limited and serial numbered to just five copies, these things almost never show up for sale! I'm happy to add this beauty to The Rolen Collection. Especially since my collection is a little light for the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

1999 Stadium Club - First Day Issue #220, SN200. Another card added via the Moler collection. There isn't anything overly special about this card at first glance. But if you look closer at the front, you'll notice some little foil letters just above the Stadium Club logo that says, "First Day Issue". That means that this card is limited, and serial numbered, to just 200 copies. Pretty rare for it's time. And if you'll look even closer at the serial number on the back of the card, just below the Phillies logo on Rolen's jersey, you'll notice something a little extra special about this one: it is number 017/200...Rolen's jersey number! I don't typically go after jersey numbered cards, but it's a cool little addition for sure!

1999 SkyBox E-X Century - Authen-Kicks #8 MEM, SN205 (Missing SN). These cards are supposed to be serial numbered, by hand, on the front of the card. Clearly this one is missing the serial numbering. What really caught my attention with this particular card is the piece of cleat they used - it has an "R" on it, presumably from the "AIR" referring to the Nike AIR cleats that Rolen used to wear. I'm not exactly sure what the story is on this particular card; was it miss-cut at the factory and set aside to be thrown away? The seller who sold me the card said that he obtained it approximately 15 years ago in an estate sale. Regardless, I wanted to add this little oddity to my collection.

1998 Donruss Elite - Status #146 GEN, SN100. After adding the other Status parallel from this set (as seen above), I saw this card listed for sale. This card looks absolutely incredible! The spots on the front of the card are supposed to be there. I originally thought maybe I got one that had some surface issues, but looking at other players from the Generations part of the checklist, they all have the exact same spots on the front of the card in the exact same locations. It almost looks like Donruss intended for them to look like stars or something. As many collectors of this era are already aware, these sweet 90s cards aren't getting any more plentiful. The days of picking these up in the dollar boxes are almost unheard of anymore. Collectors are finally waking up to just how awesome these cards are. Guys like Griffey and Jeter have been pricey for awhile now. But guys like Rolen are certainly heating up!

1998 Donruss - Gold Press Proofs #400 SG, PR500. I only recently acquired this card because I though I already had a copy. While looking through my cards one night, I realized that I didn't have one, so I quickly took to ebay to rectify that. These Gold Press Proofs are not serial numbered, but they are limited to a print run of just 500. And really, who doesn't love foil and die-cut cards? I believe these just might be one of the sleepers still out there.

2004 Donruss Leather & Lumber - Signatures Gold #137, SN5. Everyone who has been following along for any amount of time knows how I feel about sticker autos - I'm not a huge fan of them. To me, they just look lazy on the part of the manufacturer. But, that aside, I do like adding hard to find cards to my collection. This one was pointed out to me by a fellow collector on Facebook. He posted a link to an auction site that I had never personally heard of. I checked it out, registered to the site, and placed a small bid. After a couple of days, I received an email from the auction site that I had won the card!

That's it for this month. I have a feeling next month will be HUGE for a couple of reasons. No big spoilers, but I am getting very close to that 3,000 unique card mark and there may be something in the works to add some "bangers" (as the kids these days call them) to the collection!


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