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Monthly Mailbag - December 2023

This has been an absolutely incredible year for The Rolen Collection! I will write a separate year in review post recapping the cards I've been able to add to the collection this year, but for this post, lets focus on what I was able to add this month. Check them out below...


2023 Panini Chronicles - Revolution Impact #43. This card just does it for me! If you're a 90s collector like myself, you'll completely understand why this card just hits different than most cards produced in the "ultra modern" era. This scan is not a good representation of the card. To hold it in-hand, is to step into a time machine and be immediately transported back to 1999 Pacific Revolution! Or even a year earlier; 1998 Pinnacle Epix. The starburst pattern that can kind of be seen on the card moves when you're holding the card. The light bounces around inside the card and makes it dance. Panini even did a great job on the back of these Revolution cards with the blurb they wrote about Rolen. They touch on his basketball prowess, his accolades as a professional baseball player, and his induction into the Hall of Fame. These Revolution cards could very well be my favorite cards of Rolen from 2023!


1998 Pinnacle Inside - Stand Up Guys Samples #8AB. This is actually the second time I've purchased this card. The first time, the card was "lost in transit" and never arrived. There has been a copy of this card on ebay for years, but the asking price was just too high for me. Patience, once again, has paid off and I was able to finally land this card this month! These sample cards were originally given to hobby dealers with their order forms and they came in packs of two cards that slid together via the slit in the card. This card would have originally been packaged with card #8CD (which I got with this card, but already had a copy of that one.)


2023 Panini Chronicles - America's Pastime America's Best Autographs Red #AB-SR, SN10. I added the "base" version of this card serial numbered to 50 copies last month. This Red parallel is serial numbered to just 10 copies, but I think the hobby is responding well to the mass parallel hysteria and this card ended up costing about the same as the base version. Which is great considering that the only thing different (aside from the serial numbering) is the color of the foil used on the front of the cards. Overall though, I'm still a fan of these cards. The nice on-card auto is the piece that tips the scale in favor of me desiring these cards for my collection.


2023 Panini Chronicles - Titan #22

Last month I was able to add six of these Titan cards to The Rolen Collection. If you'll recall, I mentioned that there are two 1/1s in this lineup. Well, I was able to grab the Gold Vinyl 1/1 this month! Even though these cards are lacking MLB logos, I am beyond excited to add these cards to the collection this month. The other cards I was able to pick up are the Blue Velocity (SN99), Hyper (SN75), the Navy Blue Ice parallel (SN25), and the Pink Velocity (SN17). This Navy Blue Ice screams late 90s insert with the classic "cracked ice" refractor pattern. I think the only way I could like these cards more is if Rolen was pictured in a Cardinals jersey (and of course, if they had the team logos on them). Now I just need the Green (SN5) and the Black Finite (SN1) to complete this rainbow!



2023 Topps Museum Collection - Single-Player Signature Swatches Triple Relic Autographs #SWTRA-SR, SN199. I really want to like this card. But it has several things that some may consider "nit-picky". First, the elephant in the room - the sticker autograph. The card was designed for an autograph, it should be signed on the actual card. Then there is the "triple relic" design. Which isn't much of a design, it just has three windows that have solid red swatches from a jersey that may or may not have been used by Rolen. Which leads me to my last point, one I've mentioned in previous posts, the fact that the photo they used of Rolen features him wearing a white jersey, but the swatches of jersey they used are red. Could they not have found a picture of him in a red jersey? I know they can, because they've used a picture of him in a red jersey for their Tier One set this year. Anyway, I don't want to sound ungrateful, because I do appreciate the fact that Rolen is included in this year's Museum Collection. And the fact remains, I purchased the card and added it to my collection.


1999 SP Signature Edition - Autographs Redemption #SR. This card excites me more than most modern card releases. They are so difficult to track down! I think the reason is multifaceted. I believe most people look at these and think that they are just trash because they are well beyond their expiration date for redemption. But to player collectors like me, they are some incredibly sought after cards! This card is well past it's prime, and the sticker on the front is severely faded. But through some photoshop magic, I was able to bring the wording back to life. Here is what it says: Dear Collector, Congratulations! You have received a "Redemption" card for an authentic autographed trading card from the 1999 MLB SP Signature Edition set. To receive your card, simply send this card along with your name, address, (no PO Boxes) and telephone number to: The Upper Deck Company Attn. Redemption Manager, 1999 MLB SP Signature Edition Offer, 5900 Sea Otter Place, Carlsbad, CA 92008. For insured delivery, please enclose a check or money order for $4.00 (US funds). Upper Deck nor any of its agencies are responsible for lost, late, damaged, misdirected, incomplete, illegible, or postage due mail. This redemption card will not be returned. Your redemption card must be postmarked by 5/12/00 and received by 5/19/00. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. There are several more expired redemption cards that I'd love to add to the collection, but for now, I will enjoy this one!


2023 Topps Tier One - Tier One Relics Dual Patch #T1R-SR, SN25. Remember a couple cards ago where I was talking about the color of the jersey swatches matching the jersey Rolen is wearing in the image that Topps used for the card? Well, this right here is a great example of that. Red jersey swatches and Rolen is pictured in a red jersey! That small detail elevates the overall appeal of this card for me. I also think it's fairly safe to assume that the jersey Topps used for this card was game used (by someone). You can see that the bottom jersey swatch appears to be a little dirtier than the top jersey swatch.


2023 Topps Rip - Mini Autographs #TRA-SR, SN50. Topps Rip was released to the public on November 22nd. The cost: $99.99 for a box containing just four cards. Each of those four cards were serial numbered to 99 or less, which leads to these cards possibly never seeing the light of day! These mini autographed cards were inserted 1:4. This is the fourth year of Topps Rip, but just the second year that Rolen was included in the checklist. It's an interesting concept because in order to obtain this specific card, you would first have to rip open a standard sized baseball card. Overall, I really like the design of these. We've got Rolen pictured here in his Cardinals jersey (which is always a plus in my book!) And the autograph is once again, on-card. Hopefully the parallels of this card surface rather soon so I can get those into the collection as well!


2023 Topps Archives - Fan Favorites Autograph #72FF-SR. It looks like this month the collectors finally got their fill of this card. I was able to add this card to the collection this month for less than half of what it was selling for last month. For me, as a collector, that is a great thing! Others may disagree and say that the "value" of the card is going down. Well, I don't care too much about the monetary value of these cards since they will likely stay in my personal collection for the rest of my life. I'm just happy to have this great looking 1972 design inspired card in my collection! If I was going to have one complaint about this card, it would be the placement of the foil stamp on the front. I think it would have looked better in the bottom right hand corner of the card.


1999 Pacific Prism - Holographic Blue #109, SN80. I recently had a fellow collector and hobby friend, Zach, reach out to me on Instagram. He shared a picture of some Rolen cards with me and asked if I needed them. In that picture was this last missing piece of my 1999 Pacific Prism run! The Holographic Blue parallel that is limited and serial numbered to just 80 copies. I've seen this card for sale before, but I always balked at the asking price. Mostly due to all of them being afflicted by the "black plague". On nearly every copy of this card that I've seen, the blue foil is chipping somewhere on the card and it leaves black marks. Regardless, I'm pretty excited to add this missing piece to my collection this month!


2000 Pacific Revolution - Red #112, SN63. This is another card that I was able to get from Zach. This 2000 Pacific Revolution Red parallel is limited and serial numbered to just 63 copies! This card is sneaky tough to track down! Not only are they limited to 63 copies, but they were a retail only parallel. Which is where the next level of rarity enters the fold. Since these were released as a retail only parallel who knows how many of them survived? Generally speaking, retail cards from back in 2000 were not handled well. I surmise that many of them ended up in cardboard boxes (best case scenario) and got pretty beat up. Then, when the collector moved out of their parent's house, the cards ended up in the landfill somewhere! But this one is a survivor and is now in my permanent collection forever!


Assorted IP (in-person) autographs

I was able to add these four in-person autographs to the collection this month via a single seller on ebay. Pictured here are: 1994 Classic Best Gold #120, 1995 Reading Phillies Eastern League Champs Team Issue #NNO, 1995 Reading Phillies Eastern League Champs Nabisco #NNO, and 1996 Best Reading Phillies - Fairgrounds Square #21. What I absolutely love about these cards is that each of them are "period correct" signatures. They were signed soon after the cards were issued as you can tell that by Rolen's early signature on each of the cards. I tend to think that I'm enough of an expert with regard to Rolen's signature over the years that I felt comfortable picking these up without any third party authentication. While I don't count these cards in my "unique card total" count, I still love them just the same because they were signed early on in Rolen's career.



1998 Zenith - Epix Moment Emerald #E11, PR30. This is a card that I've missed out on twice. Two other times is all I've ever seen this card move on the secondary market. And for really good reason. This gorgeous card was limited to just 30 copies! Not only were these limited to 30 copies, but to find one, you would have to first liberate it from the 5x7 jumbo card that it was embedded in. The Epix Moment cards were inserted at a rate of 1:11 packs of 1998 Zenith. And with the emeralds only making up 10% of the cards, you can see just how lucky you'd have to be to pull THIS card. I found this card listed on ebay early one morning with a "buy it now" option. Without looking at any of the details listed for the card, I smashed the button. I was not letting this card slip through my fingers again! After waiting for what seemed like forever (it was actually only one week), this card arrived in the mail in a screw down holder. A holder that, in the late 90s, any collector would have used to protect their most precious cards! Luckily, that holder was recessed so the card wasn't damaged by being squished between two chunks of plastic for the past quarter of a century! I am completely elated to be able to add this card to The Rolen Collection this month!


2003 Fleer Tradition Update - Glossy #U271 IL, SN100. This typically wouldn't really be a card that I would consider "special". But like a lot of cards in collections, this one comes with a story. Back in April of this year I got a lead on a 1997 SPx Grand Finale from a fellow collector on Instagram. Eric is the collector who had that card. After talking to Eric, I found out that he was helping liquidate his late father-in-law, Ralph's, collection. During that deal in April, I wasn't able to get the Grand Finale, but I was able to add a monster card to The Rolen Collection: 1998 Stadium Club - Co-Signers #CS-4. That card happens to feature Scott with another Hall of Famer; Derek Jeter! Fast forward to the end of November. Eric messaged me again with a couple of pictures of some more Rolen cards. I was at work when I got his message, and work has been incredibly busy here lately, so I read the message and forgot to respond (sorry Eric)! Being the great guy he is, he messaged me again this month with another picture of a couple other Rolen cards he found. I messaged him back about those and I also inquired about this 2003 Fleer Tradition card. Eric offered to mail it to me for FREE! So, while this isn't a card that is highly revered in the hobby, and it's not a high dollar card, I will still cherish it just as much as those cards in my collection. It comes from the collection of Ralph. A man I never met but clearly had good taste in cardboard. This card will stay locked up in my collection for as long as I'm around. Thanks again, Eric!


2023 Panini Chronicles - Revolution Cosmic #43, SN99. Another Revolution card?! Yes, please! Just like the Impact parallel above, I love everything about this card. Luckily, this parallel is serial numbered to 99, and it's the only parallel that is serial numbered to 99. That helps immensely with identification of which parallel it is. There are 10 different foil patterns for these cards with just four of them receiving serial numbers. That leaves me with six different ones to attempt to identify; which is very reminiscent of the 2000 Pacific Prism cards. Like a lot of other shiny cards, this card looks far better in-hand than it does in this flat scan. If you're a fan of the 90s era of cards, you really need to get one of these cards for your collection!


2023 Topps 206 High Series - Uzit #NNO. Just as I feared, these seem to be slowing down on the secondary market. I mean, they're old news now in the baseball card game; being released this past October. I was happy to be able to add this one to the collection this month. The UZIT backs were inserted at a rate of 1:6 packs. So, while not terribly rare, they just aren't surfacing like they were last month. Hopefully some of the backs I'm missing show up for sale soon so I can add those to the collection too!


2023 Topps Rip - Mini Autographs Orange #TRA-SR, SN25. I didn't have to wait long after getting the "base" version of this card to add this striking orange parallel! So far, I haven't seen any of the other colors pop up for sale. But I'm certainly happy to grab this one this month; especially since orange is my favorite color! It's kind of disappointing that the red parallel of this card is a 1/1 since I'm sure that card looks great being a team color match and all. But for now, I will sit back and enjoy this orange version!


2023 Topps Archives - Fan Favorites Autograph Red #72FF-SR, SN10. This card looks great in-hand! The foil that Topps used for these really shines when the light hits it just right. It isn't represented very well in this scan here, but trust me, this is a great looking card! The team color match and the fact that this card is serial numbered to just 10 copies makes it a definite winner in my book! Not to mention the on-card autograph (far superior than the sticker autos that Topps likes to pump out in their other offerings sometimes. This card is right at home here in The Rolen Collection!


From the collection of Hans

We've talked about it before, but it deserves repeating: connections make this hobby what it is! Fellow Rolen collector, Hans, and I connected on Instagram a while ago. We've had many discussions about baseball cards - several specifically about Scott Rolen baseball cards. We were recently talking about my goal to try to get to 3,500 unique Rolen cards in my collection and he identified these three cards missing from my collection: 1999 Pacific Omega - Gold #182, SN299, 2002 Donruss Classics - Timeless Tributes #48, SN100, and 2002 Fleer Authentix - Second Row #86, SN250. He sent these to me on a Tuesday, and by that Friday, they were added to my collection! Stand-up move by a great guy! Thanks again, Hans...these will stay in my collection forever!


That's it for another great month in the hobby. A great year for The Rolen Collection! And a nice way to close out the year. I fell just 10 cards short of my unofficial goal of 3,500 unique Rolen cards in the collection this month - finishing this year with 3,490 unique cards. But overall, I'm quite happy with the cards I added to the collection this year! I will write about my "year in review" recap in a separate post, so be sure to check back soon for that!


2 Comments


The Essential Credentials
The Essential Credentials
Jan 03

That Revolution Red is SUPER tough. Great pickups to end 2023 John!

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John
Jan 10
Replying to

The rarity of some of these Pacific cards was just completely lost on me as a young collector. I have a love/hate relationship with trying to play catch-up all these years later. I love the chase, but I hate the prices of some of these cards. That said, patience is still a virtue and good deals can be found on some of these sneaky tough cards...when they surface.

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