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Monthly Mailbag - December 2022

With Scott on the Hall of Fame ballot again this year, and the high likelihood that he will be inducted sooner rather than later, I have seen his card prices jump up considerably. That said, since I am a frugal (read: cheap) collector, I imagine my acquisitions will slow down quite a bit over the next couple of months. At least until his card prices come back down to earth. That doesn't mean I'm not buying anything, because there are still some very good deals on cards out there right now. Here's what I've been able to add to The Rolen Collection this month:

2005 Topps Turkey Red - White #46 Diggin' In CL. These white parallels weren't incredibly tough to come by; inserted at a rate of 1:4 packs. But it has taken me quite some time to track this one down! I'm generally a fan of the Turkey Red cards, but this checklist card just doesn't quite do it for me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it is a landscape oriented card. Or perhaps it is the image Topps used for this one - the wide shot kind of takes away from the appeal for me. That and the fact that Scott is in an awkward pose here lead to me not pining after this card. But when it finally surfaced for basically the cost of postage, I just had to add it to the collection.

2022 Topps 206 - Cycle #4, PR25. This little beauty has a stated print run of just 25 copies and I couldn't be more excited to add it to the collection this month. As I said before, I'm a big fan of these tobacco sized cards. There is just a simplicity about them in today's over saturated market of flashy low numbered parallels that is incredibly appealing to my eye. I thoroughly enjoy Topps tapping into the history of baseball cards for this release.

2022 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition - 1998 Topps #25 ASR, SN1. The dreaded Archives cards. With an unknown number of cards on the checklist it is nearly impossible to keep track of all the different options. But this one - I had to have this one! I love the 1998 Topps All Star Rookie Gold Cup card. Topps has used this several times since the initial release in 1998, but this buyback for the 2022 Archives Signature Series release is definitely one of my favorites from the set. The autograph does get a little lost in the darkness of the background, especially in this scan as well as photographs of the card. But in-hand, the auto is clear as crystal. I'm not typically one to go all out for 1/1 cards from this release due to the whole "manufactured scarcity" aspect of them, but this card is a welcomed addition to the collection for sure!

2022 Stadium Club - Autographs #SCBA-SR. I can't speak highly enough about Stadium Club. They are well known for their exceptional photography, and this card is no different. Pair the photography with a clean and simple overall design and you've got yourself a great card. But wait! There's more! This card features a nice, bold, on-card autograph too! This marks the second year in a row that Topps has featured Rolen in their Stadium Club lineup and I couldn't be more excited!

1999 Pacific Prism - Holographic Mirror #109, SN160. This card was surprisingly tough to track down for some reason. I'm not sure if it was just one of those cards that I continuously overlooked thinking I already had it, or if it is because it is that scarce. I mean, it is serial numbered to just 160 copies. Which by today's standards isn't all that rare, but back in1999 a card that was this limited was a rare find. Regardless, I'm happy to add it to the collection this month!

2011 Topps - Black #192 Cincinnati Reds TC, SN60. A card serial numbered to 60 copies, near the end of Rolen's career, and it's a Topps Black card. While not specifically a Rolen card, it does have Rolen right there, front and center, celebrating with his team after a game. I actually didn't know this card even existed until it showed up on ebay recently listed as a Scott Rolen card. Now that I know it exists, there are many other parallels of it that I need for the collection. Not only the parallels, but I also need to track down a base copy of the card.

1999 Topps Gold Label Class 3 Black #74. I'm a big fan of these cards. They just feel like they are high quality cards. These Class 3 Black cards aren't exactly easy to come by either. They were inserted into Hobby packs at a rate of 1:32 and Retail packs at a rate of 1:48 with 100 cards in the set. Baseballcardpedia has these listed as being serial numbered to 299, but I have yet to see a serial numbered version of this card out there.

2001 Topps Gold Label - Class 3 #98. I was able to add this card this month by way of a lot that was purchased which included the above Gold Label card along with a handful of other Gold Label cards that I already own. This Class 3 is NICE! I love how Topps used the image from Class 1 and the image from Class 2 together to form the front of the Class 3 cards. They ditched the backgrounds from those images and gave this one a nice shiny background for us to enjoy. The Class 3 cards were inserted into packs at a rate of 1:12 Hobby packs and 1:20 Retail packs so they were a little easier to pull than the 1999 versions.

2006 Upper Deck Special F/X - Blue #432. While this card is not serial numbered, it is widely accepted that there are as few as 25 copies of each Blue parallel in this monstrous set. The set consists of 1,025 cards and these Blue parallels are said to have been inserted at a rate of 1:4 packs. So once you math it out, you can see where it would be tough to pull a single player like Rolen from the bunch. The information gathered from collectors who opened this product when it was released say that these fell more like one Blue parallel in every two boxes (so 1:36 packs) instead of the stated 1:4 packs.

2021 Topps Five Star - Silver Signatures Green #SS-SR, SN15. I was finally able to land one of these Green parallels of this card. Just as Topps released the 2022 Five Star lineup. I'm not overly impressed with these, mostly because of the marker they used for the autographs. It appears to be a silver paint pen of some sort. And a rather streaky one at that. Not to mention that these cards were stacked on top of one another after they were signed, so there is evidence of marker on the back from the previous card that was signed. And I'm sure this card also had another one stacked on top of it, affecting the autograph to some degree. Regardless, I'm happy to add this one to the collection this month!

2022 Stadium Club - Autographs Red Foil #SCBA-SR, SN50. Like just about everything produced these days, there are a number of parallels to go along with the "base" cards. This gorgeous Red Foil parallel looks stunning with the team matching colors along with everything else these cards have going for them. These are limited, and serial numbered, to just 50 copies. So when I saw this one pop up for sale I had to grab it quickly!

2006 Upper Deck Special F/X - Green #432, SN99. Have you ever not known you wanted a particular card until you had another card? That was the case with this Green parallel of this card. I recently acquired the tougher to obtain Blue parallel, so I figured I would track this one down too. It really is a shame that Upper Deck is no longer around in the baseball world. They used to produce some really nice stuff for the hobby.

2022 Topps Chrome Black - Autographs #CBA-SR. They finally did it! Topps finally came to their senses and added Rolen to their Chrome Black checklist! I've really enjoyed this release the past couple of years and wished many times that Rolen was included. Well, now that wish has come true and I couldn't be any more excited! There is just something about these cards that exudes high class and quality. Maybe it's the luxurious looking black background? Perhaps it is the fact that these autographs come from the box already encased? Either way, I am super pumped to add this beauty to the collection this month. I mean, just look at that on-card autograph!

MLB Showdown

Pictured above are: 2001 MLB Showdown 1st Edition Foil #335, 2002 MLB Showdown Foil #259, 2002 MLB Showdown All-Star Game #42, and the 2005 MLB Showdown - Strategy #S42 (Fake To Third). I recently picked these four cards up from a collector who has a ton of different MLB Showdown cards. The foil cards typically bring more money than I've ever been willing to pay for these cards, but he made me an offer for the lot that I couldn't refuse, so I figured it was as good a time as any to finally add these to the collection.

2005 Donruss Throwback Threads - Material Jersey Prime #66, SN100. Another card from 2005 finally added to the collection! With a seemingly endless supply of cards from 2005 (many of which are parallels or game used cards) I was actually happy to add this card to the collection. It is limited, and serial numbered, to just 100 copies, and this one is #27 - Rolen's jersey number! And look at that sweet patch they used on the front of this card! It is a nice chunk of the Cardinal from the front of the jersey. A white jersey, I might add, which Rolen is pictured wearing on this card (I love when card companies use a picture that depicts the player wearing the same color jersey as the game used piece, even if it may not necessarily be from that exact jersey.)

1997 Pinnacle Inside - Diamond Edition #132. This card wasn't set to arrive until after the new year. I saw it listed on ebay one night and it was listed by COMC. So I went over to their website to purchase it there (to save a few bucks). Once I left ebay and went to their site, the only thing I could think about was, "Is the time it's taking me to save a few bucks actually worth it?" I figured someone else would see the smoking hot deal on ebay and smash the "buy" button there. But I was successful in my purchase! This card has eluded me for years! They were inserted at a rate of 1:63 cans (not packs) and there are 150 cards in the set; each having this Diamond Edition parallel. Quick math tells us that the odds of pulling one of these Rolen cards is roughly 1:9,450 cans. At 24 cans per case, that is one Rolen per every 394 cases. No wonder these cards are so tough to find!

That does it for this month, and this year! Check back soon for a recap of my favorite pickups from 2022. Lets see what 2023 will bring to The Rolen Collection!

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