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Monthly Mailbag - February 2024

Coming off an incredible January, I didn't have very big expectations for this month. Not only did I add some incredible cards to my collection last month that would be tough to beat this month, this month is also shorter than others. But, I was still able to pick these up this month:

2004 Flair - Diamond Cuts Game Used Green #DC-SR. I bought this card without looking at my checklist to see if I need it for one simple reason: the jersey swatch. I am still perplexed as to where it is from. To my knowledge, the Cardinals have not worn pinstriped uniforms. I've poured over images of the Cardinals from the 2002-2004 seasons and can't find an image of them wearing pinstripes. After I received the card, I looked at the checklist and realized that I didn't have this Green parallel, so I was able to cross one off the list with my desire to have this oddball card in the collection.

2005 Playoff Prestige - Stars of MLB Holo-Foil #14, SN25. One of the many cards from 2005 that was missing from my collection was this holo-foil parallel. I'm finding that the cards I'm missing, especially from 2005, are serial numbered cards. On top of that, the sheer quantity of cards that were produced back then is just staggering. I might go on a hunt soon just for cards from 2005 that I'm missing. According to my math, I only have a little over 43% of Rolen's cards from that year. That, of course, excludes a lot of 1/1s.

2023 Panini National Treasures - Die-Cut Material Signatures #DMS-SR, SN99. I added the gorgeous patch version of this card last month. So when I saw this one on ebay, I knew I wanted to make a move for it. I was able to add it to the collection this month for just a fraction of the price it was selling for closer to when it was first released. The power of patience pays off once again! I want to like this card more than I actually do though. It's the sticker auto that I just can't seem to get behind. Even though the overall design of the card makes it to where it's not that noticeable, I still know it's a sticker. I do appreciate the cutout in front of the jersey swatch that says, "The Hot Corner". Nice touch, Panini. Nice touch.

2023 Panini National Treasures - Definitive Ink #DI-SR, SN25. I'm torn about this card. I love the on-card autograph. I love the uniform Rolen is wearing (it's one of my favorite Cardinals uniforms). The lack of logo on his hat is kind of bothersome to me though. It's incredibly apparent that it's missing. Photography on my cards is one of the most enjoyable parts of them for me. I do appreciate the photo of him throwing a baseball; flashing that gold glove of his. And the price of this card was certainly easy enough for me to justify adding it to the collection this month. It should be a crime for a Hall of Fame player's autograph to sell for as little as this card did.

2009 Topps Unique - Bronze #104, SN99. This is one of those cards that just continued to fly under the radar for me. Then, one night while perusing ebay, I saw this card listed and decided to check my checklist to see if I had it. As it turned out, I didn't have this one yet, so I bought it. One thing about these Unique cards that you can't see in the scan, on the left side of the front of the card, Rolen's last name is printed in a clear glossy ink against the matte bronze background. Definitely a unique touch to the card that you can only appreciate when you see it in-hand.

2023 Panini Chronicles - Essentials Autographs #19, SN15. This card would have been at least 1,000% cooler if the autograph was actually on the card as opposed to a sticker. There were only 15 of these autographs produced and I passed on several of them over the course of the past couple of months. Well, I'm here to tell you, once again, that patience has paid off. Patience and timing allowed me to add this card to my collection this month for $5. Yes, you read that correctly, five bucks for the autograph of a Hall of Fame third baseman! Absolutely bonkers. I know, I know, it's a sticker auto, but I'd add sticker autos to my collection all day, every day (twice on Sundays) for that price!

2001 Donruss - Baseball's Best Bronze #50, PR999. These were originally only supposed to be available through a redemption program. There were coupon cards inserted at a rate of 1:720 packs that allowed collectors to be able to purchase a limited full factory set. Donruss made more than the original 1,000 sets though and ended up making 1,597 sets. They also created a Silver (499 sets) and a Gold (99 sets) version of these that were sold to dealers. All Baseball's Best cards are identical to their base set counterparts, with the addition of either a gold, silver, or bronze "Baseball's Best" stamp on each card's front. These cards were also printed on a plastic card stock as opposed to cardboard. I found this one on ebay in a mixed lot of Rolen cards.

2005 Donruss Signature - Stars Autograph Material Jersey #SS-2. This is the second copy of this card that I've purchased over the years. The first one I bought was poorly shipped, so the area around the jersey cutout got creased. This one arrived safely this month and I'm certainly happy to have it in the collection. Even though the jersey swatch is tiny, and the autograph is technically a sticker auto, the card was put together nicely and the overall design of the card compliments the sticker auto. It's far better than some of the slap-on band-aid stickers we see produced.

2022 Topps MLB Rookie of the Year 75th Anniversary Sapphire #30, SN25. Patience played a big role in me finally adding this card to my collection this month. Upon initial release, these Sapphire parallels were listed on ebay for about 25x what I ended up paying for this copy! Just because it's serial numbered to only 25, and the card is blue, does not make me want a card badly enough to pay insane money for it. Especially when it's a no-thrills kind of card that is literally just a different color than the base card. Having said all of that, I am glad I was able to pick this one up this month. It looks great next to all the other color parallels I have of the card.

2023 Panini Chronicles - America's Pastime America's Best Autographs Pink #AB-SR, SN7. I love a good on-card autograph! I already had a few of the other parallels from this release, so I didn't absolutely have to have this card. But when I saw it pop up with a "best offer" feature, I submitted an offer that I thought was fair and the seller quickly accepted it. I've covered these cards previously, but I will mention the overall "high end" feel of this card due to the incredibly thick card stock that Panini used for these. And I think it's worth repeating, the on-card auto here definitely bodes well with me.

2023 Topps Pristine - Around the Diamond Orange #ADR-SR, SN25. I haven't really gone that hard for the parallels of the 2023 Pristine cards like I did with the 2022 release. That's partly because I've not seen the 1/1 of this one surface for sale and partly because these still go for more than I'd really like to pay for these cards. That said, the seller of this card must have been sitting on it for too long and accepted my low "best offer". I didn't even realize they accepted my offer until I was looking through my purchases (thanks ebay auto pay)! One thing I noticed about this Orange parallel is that it is quite a bit thicker than the base and the Pristine Refractor copies I have. Those two fit into 100pt cases whereas this one had to be bumped up to a 130pt case. I'm not sure why they needed to do that as the sliver of bat that they used isn't any thicker in this one.

1997 SkyBox E-X2000 - Emerald Autograph Redemptions. This is the kind of card that really gets me excited! Sure, I love the shiny stuff and some of the newer releases that try to mimic what we all love from the 90s. But this card, this one is special. Released in the summer of 1997, I spent quite a bit of money opening packs of these cards. Back then you got two cards per $5 pack. I never pulled one of these myself. These autograph redemption cards fell at a rate of 1:500 packs and there were six players on the checklist which made these the toughest card to pull in the set! What makes this particular card even more rare is the fact that many of these were actually redeemed for the autographed copy of the card.

2004 Fleer Legacy - Gold #43, SN50. I picked this card up this month for next to nothing which is a big win for the collection considering these were limited and serial numbered to just 50 copies. These Legacy cards differ from the base in that the front features gold foil and the backs have gold where the base has kind of a pink color on them. These Gold parallels were available in Hobby only and that would set you back a staggering $240 for eight cards and one autographed baseball. Insertion ratios weren't published for these, but considering they were only released in Hobby boxes, at that price, you could see how a collector could spend a small fortune chasing any specific player's Gold parallel.

2002 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia - Spectrum #112, SN100. The holofoil used on the front of this card looks stunning in-hand. Even the scan looks drastically different when compared to the base card. A card serial numbered to 100 in 2002 is still relatively rare, and Playoff didn't overdo the parallels with Spectrum being the only parallel this year. I am definitely happy to add this card to the collection this month.

2003 Donruss - Gamers Prime #G-28, SN25. Back when game worn actually meant game worn! There was an overabundance of memorabilia cards produced during this era, but at least they did it right (we assume.) I was able to get this card into the collection this month via a Facebook claim sale. I'd love to pick up more cards that way for my collection as it seems to be a little better for everyone involved in the transaction. I've had multiple really good experiences buying off of Facebook and in doing so, I've met some really cool people in the hobby who keep me in mind when they come across other Rolen cards.

2022 Topps Triple Threads - Autograph Relic #TTAR-SR1, SN27. I really wish Topps would have paid a little more attention to quality when making these cards. Most of the "game used" bats on these is too small for the "Leather & Lumber" cutout on the front. Having said that, and the fact that the autograph is on a sticker, I still really like this card. Serial numbered to just 27 copies, these were selling for quite a bit upon initial release. Time (and new products being released) has worked out well for me being able to pick this card up for next to nothing this month.

2023 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition - 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter #223, SN25. A card we've seen before. Multiple times. But what kind of collector would I be if I didn't add a Topps Archives Signature Series card to my collection this month? I've been a big fan of Allen & Ginter cards ever since they re-released them. And these buybacks are a great way to add an on-card autograph of my favorite player to my collection for less money than it costs to buy lunch. As I've said multiple times in the past, I'll continue buying these for my collection as long as they aren't ridiculously priced.

2023 Topps Luminaries - Hit Kings #HK-SR, SN15. I love these cards! A great design, on-card auto, encased card with a really good photograph...what's not to love about this one? I'm not one to buy new boxes of cards, but I love adding these as singles bought off of ebay. This one highlights Rolen's career-high batting average of .314 back in 2004; which was arguably the best season of his career.

2003 Fleer Authentix - Club Box #26, SN100. These cards look so much like the base cards, they're sometimes tough to tell apart. The key difference, aside from the serial number stamped on the back, is the banner behind the "Club Box" text. On the base cards, the banner is black whereas this one is a copper color. There are three parallels of this card: Balcony (SN250), Club Box (SN100), and Standing Room Only (SN25). With the addition of this card, I only need to track down the Standing Room Only to complete this run.

Burbank Haul. I have decided that it's high time I finally do something about cards I'm missing from 2005. I am convinced that the team over at Burbank has at least 90% of the cards I'm missing from this year. I was able to pick up seven different cards that I needed (along with another card from 2006). I believe most, if not all, of the cards I'm missing from 2005 is serial numbered. I'll continue adding as many of these as I can afford over the course of the year to see if I can make some strong progress. I still need 561 different cards. If I can get 61 more 2005 cards, that will put me just over 50% completion!

Overall, it was a really solid month. With only 29 days in the month, I think averaging adding one card per day is a nice pace. With some of the newer release stuff coming out right now, it's going to be tough to continue this pace, so I might be forced to slow down a little and refocus on adding some of the sweet 90s stuff I'm missing. Check back soon to see what I've added!


The Essential Credentials
The Essential Credentials
Mar 02

Finding a copy of that autograph redemption is super tough! Overall a fantastic month for you as usual!

Mar 17
Replying to

You're not kidding! I think I've seen at least 100 copies of the autographed redeemed card for every one of the actual redemption cards.

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