top of page

Monthly Mailbag - February 2023

Coming off of an amazing month in January, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to top those acquisitions! But I'll certainly see what I can do. I was able to add 26 more unique cards to The Rolen Collection this month and here they are:

2004 Leaf Certified Materials - Mirror White #172, SN100. In 2004, Scott had nearly 900 different cards produced. I am actively pursuing just 655 of those. This is one of those 655. I was able to add this card to the collection this month via a trade with my collecting friend, Hans. I traded him a 1998 Pinnacle Mint Collection - Gold for this one. The Golds fell 1:47 Hobby packs or 1:71 Retail packs. I'm not sure of the insertion ratio for these Mirror White cards, but these are serial numbered to 100 copies. Overall, I feel it was a solid trade for both parties. And it helped me knock off another card from the checklist for one of the biggest years for Rolen cards! Thanks again, Hans!

2004 Donruss Elite - Passing the Torch Gold #PT-24, SN50. Another card from 2004 crossed off the list! I thoroughly enjoy the foil treatment on this card. Not only was it applied to the front of the card, but also the back as well. This card was released during the beginning of the parallel craze and as such, is one of the many different colors offered for the Passing the Torch insert set. Rolen is featured in this set solo, and he's also paired up with another Cardinals great; Ozzie Smith.

1998 Topps Tek - Pattern 80 #88. Another Tek this month! This pattern comes to my collection by way of trade. A fellow collector on Instagram saw my post about missing several of these and he reached out to me and said he had this pattern available. I sent him one of the duplicate 1998 Tek Rolen cards that I had here in return. I'm beginning to get cautiously optimistic about being able to actually complete this run this year!

1998 Topps Gold Label - Class 2 Red #53, SN50. These cards just scream "Premium"! The look, the feel, everything about these cards is of top quality! These were serial numbered to just 50 copies and inserted into packs at a rate of 1:198. The red foil on the front of these is the dead giveaway that you've got a special card in your hand. I've got a few more of these to track down before I can officially say I've completed the run; but the thrill of the hunt is half the fun!

2002 Donruss Elite - Aspirations #21, SN17. I was shockingly surprised when I won this card on ebay for less than a gallon of gas. I'm not quite sure how this one flew under the radar of other Rolen collectors, but this card just speaks to me! It's die cut, has a shiny foil treatment on the front with even shinier letters and serial numbering, and it's serial numbered to just 17 copies! A solid addition to the collection this month!

2022 Bowman - Buyback Autographs - 1998 Bowman #2, SN14. Another buyback added! These things are nearly impossible to track down, and for good reason. There were 17 different players included in the buyback checklist. It is unknown exactly how many cards each player signed, but the odds of pulling any of the buybacks were long. The best odds were out of Jumbo packs at a rate of 1:1,311. And retail odds, they were definitely against you at a rate of 1:10,068. So far, this is the 9th different Rolen card I've seen surface for sale. Seven of those have been serial numbered to five or less. This one has had the most copies available being serial numbered to 14.

2010 Topps Update - Manufactured Bat Barrel #MBB-100, SN99. I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of these cards. There's just something about manufactured "relic" cards that doesn't sit well with me as a collector. This card could have been way better if they had used Rolen's signature from the correct era, but they did not. These manufactured bat barrel cards fell one per Jumbo box, so they aren't particularly rare, but it's a new Rolen card that I didn't have in the collection before, so I'm happy to add it for the price I paid. This particular copy took a little extra time to get to me as it came from a collector in Canada.

1998 Topps Tek - Pattern 10 #88. Watch out, I must be on a hot streak! Another Topps Tek need came in this month! With the addition of this one, my total climbs to 75 of the 90 different patterns needed to complete this run. I'm really hoping that the final 15 don't take me another 10 years to track down and acquire, but if that's what it takes to finish this set, consider me all in! Once I get them all I plan on displaying them in a custom display in my man cave.

2021 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition - 2010 Topps #481, SN47. I was finally able to find one of the missing pieces for the monstrous Archives set! Of the non-1/1s, I only need one more from this set (that I know of) to have all the cards numbered to something greater than 1. As much as I don't want to like this set, because I think Topps went overboard with it, they're actually kind of growing on me after all this time.

1999 Upper Deck MVP - All-Star FanFest #AS22. This card is relatively easy to track down, but it seems like most people are asking quite a bit of money for them. Which kind of makes sense given their relative scarcity. These were passed out at the 1999 All-Star Game FanFest event in Boston. They came in three card packs and there were only 15,000 packs produced. Of the 30 card set, 10 of them were short-printed (Rolen wasn't a short print). After some math, one can safely assume that there are roughly 1,500 - 2,000 of each of these cards in existence. I have passed on this card multiple times over the years because of the asking price. When this one popped up at auction, I won it for the low opening bid! Happy to finally have this one in the collection!

2000 Pacific Omega - Gold #109, SN120. Like a lot of Pacific parallels, these aren't exactly easy to come by. These were released in November of 2000 and the Gold parallels were exclusive to retail. They were inserted at a rate of 1:37 packs. Only the first 150 cards in the 255 card set received these Gold parallels and they are each serial numbered to 120 copies. The serial numbering on these is a little different looking than what we were used to from Pacific. Instead of the dot matrix style serial numbering, they elected to do a foil stamped number instead.

2010 Bowman Chrome - Orange Refractors #59, SN25. This card looks amazing in-hand! Orange is my favorite color outside of baseball. Would this card look better in red? Perhaps. But this orange just pops! I've passed on picking this one up a few times in the recent past, mostly due to the asking price for the card. It is serial numbered to just 25 copies, but it isn't a 90s card, so that manufactured scarcity just doesn't appeal to me with these. It's in the collection now!

2023 Topps Now Off-Season #OS-60, PR968. I knew it wouldn't take Topps long to get Rolen on a Topps Now card after his election into the Hall of Fame. I was on the Topps website constantly after the election results to see when this card would pop up. As soon as it became available, I placed my order for some of them. Once the window to order these was complete, they released the official print run, which came in at just 968 copies!

2023 Topps Now Off-Season - Blue #OS-60, SN49. As I was opening my Topps package, I noticed that it looked a little thicker than just the cards I ordered. Low and behold, this Blue parallel was hiding in the back of the container! In true Topps fashion, there are several parallels: Blue/49, Purple/25, Red/10, Orange/5, and Gold/1. I'm hoping I can track at least a few more of these parallels down this year. Otherwise it might take me several years to add them all to the collection.

2001 Donruss Signature - Hawaii Trade Conference #48, SN25. These cards were released at the 2002 Hawaii Trade Conference "Meet the Industry" event. Each attendee could get a special box of Donruss Signature Series that contained a selection of base cards that were serial numbered. The cards numbered 1-110 were serial numbered to 25 while the Rookie cards were numbered to 10. Needless to say, these don't show up very often so I was excited to finally grab this one!

2002 Bowman Chrome - X-Fractors #96, SN250. While not incredibly hard to find, inserted at a rate of 1:10 packs, this card has escaped me for several years. I think it is mostly due to the fact that every time I saw it listed for auction, I assumed I already had it and didn't check my list. Well, the other day this one surfaced and I just so happened to have my list pulled up and noticed that this one was missing from my I added it!

2022 Topps Five Star - Golden Graphs Gold #GG-SR, SN10. A gold colored card, with a gold on-card autograph, of a perennial Gold Glove Award winner. It was a no brainer that I finally picked one of these up. They were pretty pricey upon initial release, but despite Rolen's recent vote into the Hall of Fame, this is one of the cards that actually came down in price. Enough, in fact, that I was able to snag this one at a great price! The gold marker used on these looks to be holding up better than the silver marker Topps used for last year's Five Star autographs. This one isn't streaky or flaking off the card. Now I just need to track down the other color parallels for this set!

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter - Relics #AGR-SR. I've always been a fan of the Allen & Ginter lineup. These Framed Relics cards were fairly easy to find, being inserted at a rate of 1:10 Hobby packs, 1:27 Retail packs, and 1:14 Retail Rack packs. There were 153 cards in the set though, making it a little more difficult to track down a copy of Rolen specifically. I was able to pick this card up this month at a really affordable price.

1998 Topps Tek - Pattern 20 #88. With the addition of this pattern, I am now at 76 different patterns from this set! I now only have 14 more patterns to track down and add to the collection. These cards are already kind of tough to find, but now, more times than not, when I see one pop up for sale, I already have that pattern. I'm guessing as time goes on it will become even harder to find the patterns I'm missing. But I'm certainly having fun looking for them. It would be a lofty dream to want to finish this set this year, but if I can remain on this trajectory, it might just be possible!

2000 Topps Gold Label - Class 1 Gold #9, SN100. These cards are tough to find! They were originally released as I was graduating high school - back in June of 2000. The Gold parallels are serial numbered to just 100 copies for each card and they were inserted at a rate of 1:68 packs. While those don't sound like very long odds, you have to keep in mind that each of the 100 players in the set had three cards; Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. And each of those have a Gold parallel!

1998 Bowman's Best - Refractors #18, SN400. I can't believe that I am just now adding this card to my collection this month. I thought that I already had it in my collection, but as it turns out, the copy I have was missing the serial numbering on the back of the card. Everything else about it is identical to this card though. So when I realized that I needed a serial numbered copy, I quickly added this one to the collection.

1998 Select Selected #9 (Bankruptcy). I want to start out by saying that I love everything about this card! For the uninitiated, this card should not exist. These were slated to be released in September of 1998, however, Pinnacle filed for bankruptcy just a couple of months before that. These cards were supposed to be destroyed, but someone slid some of these cards out the back door - and I'm glad they did! While these look nearly identical to the sample cards that were widely available via two-card packs passed out to hobby shops across the country, they do not have the big "SAMPLE" stamped diagonally across the back of them. This card looks far better in-hand than it does in this scan. The shine on them is incredible. While it's not known exactly how many of these survived the bankruptcy, collectors largely agree that you could count all of them on one hand.

2000 SkyBox - Star Rubies #27SR. Back in 2000, you could buy a pack of these cards for $2.99. Your odds of pulling one of the 250 different Star Rubies; 1:12 packs. For some reason I was able to pick up the Star Rubies Extreme (limited to just 50 serial numbered copies) way before I was able to track one of these down. I'm sure these weren't held in very high regard compared to their Extreme counterparts and ultimately sit in commons boxes across the country. The main difference with these cards, aside from the card number, is the obvious red foil that Skybox used on the fronts of these.

2022 Topps Archives - Blue Foil #161, SN25. With the addition of this Blue Foil parallel this month, this run is considered "complete" for The Rolen Collection. The only two cards missing from my collection are both 1/1s. The blank back as well as the FoilFractor parallel. Neither of which I've seen surface for sale. My only nitpick with this card is I wish Topps would have gone with a deeper blue color for this foil. In-hand and in scans, these look very similar to the Rainbow Foil parallel. The obvious difference between the two is the serial numbering stamped on the back of the card. The Rainbow Foil is numbered to 199 and the Blue Foil is numbered to just 25 copies.

2002 Donruss Super Estrellas #71. This was part of a 150 card set released in June 2002. The entire set is printed in Spanish and was distributed mostly in Latin America and areas of the U.S. with a large Hispanic population. While they aren't terribly difficult to find, it has taken me a while to add one to my collection for the price I was willing to pay for one. I think a lot of them got tossed into commons boxes over the years as they just don't come up for sale very often. Regardless, I'm happy to add this one to the collection this month. If for nothing else, the picture of Rolen on the front alone is pretty awesome! A mid-swing action shot with that look of focus and determination on his face!

2017 Bowman 70th Anniversary Buyback 2008 Silver #43. Back in 2017, Rolen wasn't getting much hobby love at all. In fact, no new cards were produced of him. Instead, we got several buybacks and re-releases from Topps/Bowman. This particular one is stamped with the Bowman 70th Anniversary logo in silver foil. I've heard that there were different colors of foil used for these, but I've only ever seen this particular one with the silver foil. I believe the other colors released may have been bronze, gold, blue, and red.

That wraps up another successful month! Nearly one card per day! I'm hoping to be able to keep this momentum going in March. My birthday is at the end of March, so perhaps I will treat myself to something extra nice for the collection! Check back next month to see what I've been able to add.


bottom of page