This month provided me with several new Rolen cards to chase in my pursuit of obtaining 3,000 unique Rolen cards for the collection. Topps finally released their 2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Edition; which boasts a checklist of 700 cards. Each of those 700 cards have 15 different parallels to chase. Luckily for me, my focus is on Rolen cards. Scott was also included in the autograph checklist, so there are an additional 12 cards to add to the collection there.
Here is what the month of July brought me:
1998 Bowman's Best - Atomic Refractors #18, SN100. TOP 10 MOST WANTED! This card has been very high on my want list for quite some time! These Atomic Refractors were inserted at a rate of 1:82 packs, but don't let that fool you...these cards rarely ever come up for sale. And when they do, you have to pay up for them. They certainly aren't getting any cheaper and that, in my opinion, is simply due to supply and demand. These are serial numbered to just 100 copies and Rolen's demand seems to be increasing daily! This is by far the best looking atomic pattern Topps has used on a card to date. It's been replicated many times over the years in different sets, but the '98 takes the cake for me. A lot of times scans don't do the cards justice, and this time isn't much different. But what you get with this atomic pattern in the scan is hands down better looking than any normal refractor. This card in person just screams awesome! I could look at it for hours! Super pumped to add this one to the collection this month!
2022 Topps x Spotlight Andy Friedman - Rainbow Foil #42, SN5. You can't see it very well in this scan, but on the front of this card is a beautiful rainbow foil. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to add one of these to the collection because they're serial numbered to five and Rolen stuff isn't getting any cheaper. I believe I was able to snag this one for a steal though due to the scan making the card look a lot like the base version. Now I just need to find the Red Back version numbered to 10 to complete this run!
2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Edition
Pictured above are the: Base, Aqua Wave Refractor, Black and White Mini-Diamond Refractor, Blue Mini-Diamond (SN199), Blue Prism Refractor, Green/Yellow 70th Anniversary Refractor (SN99), Prism Refractor, Refractor, Rose Gold Mini-Diamond Refractor (SN75), and the X-Fractor.
Topps definitely knocked one out of the park with this set. A nod to the classic 1952 design, Rolen in a Cardinals uniform, and enough parallels (albeit less than originally planned) to keep player collectors busy for quite some time. About the only thing missing from these, in my opinion, is the etching we all know and love from the 90s era cards. With all these parallels, it is giving me flashbacks to the 2000 Pacific Prism set!
I will consider this run complete enough after getting 13 of the 15 parallels; with the Red/Black 70th Anniversary Mini Diamonds Refractor being limited to just five copies and the Superfractor being a 1/1. That said, I would absolutely love to get them all!
2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Autographs - Aqua Refractors #PA-SR, SN150. This is my first autograph from this release. I've seen several of them listed for sale now, but I'm going to try to hold out in hopes that prices will come down a bit once the newness wears off. What I really like about these is the location of the on-card autograph. The players signed in the marquee box on the front of the cards where their facsimile signatures are on the base versions of the cards.
2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Autographs - Refractors #PA-SR, SN199. I was able to snag this one at a great price, so it was a no-brainer to go ahead and add it to the collection. With this one next to the aqua parallel, you can really tell the difference between the two - even in scans. Without having the aqua one above, I can see where some people could confuse this refractor version for the aqua. Of course there is always the serial number to reference as well assuming a picture of the back accompanies the front.
2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Autographs - Blue Prism Refractors #PA-SR, SN99. I know, I know, this list seems like it's starting to become repetitive. But just look at how rich and blue this card is! The prism refractors from this set are easily some of my favorites because, as we all know around here, I'm a huge fan of shiny cards...and these things really shine! This particular copy doesn't have the best autograph I've ever seen from Rolen necessarily, but I got this one for a great price and couldn't resist adding it to my collection this early.
2017 Bowman 70th Anniversary Buyback 2000 Silver #120. Scott didn't have any newly released cards in 2017, but he did have several buybacks released that year. There has been a lot of speculation on the different colors of foil used for the "70th" logo that was placed on these cards. I don't have a definitive checklist for all the different variations for these, but I can confirm that along with this silver foil card, a gold foil one also exists as I have both of them in my collection now. The different color foil is tough to see in scans, but it is clearly visible in person. I would love to track down other years and foil color combinations for more of these cards. I still need to find a red and blue foil variation as well, which are widely thought to have been produced in lesser quantities.
2000 Upper Deck MVP - All-Star Game #AS20. These cards were released in three-card packs at the All-Star Fan Fest in Atlanta back in July 2000. While not terribly rare, these are tough to track down. Unopened packs of them are sometimes offered for sale on the secondary market for $50+! I was lucky enough to find this single card for much less than that. I would like to find a cleaner copy of this one though. It looks like Upper Deck used the dullest pair of school scissors to cut this one from the sheet. The right edge of the card is fairly rough looking close up.
1998 Topps Tek - Pattern 72 #88. I don't think there is much I can say about this card that I haven't said in the past. This card marks my 64th different pattern of the 90 that are out there. Only 26 more to go to finish one of the most insane sets ever produced. At my acquisition rate of just two or three per year, it will take me another 9-10 years to finish this run. I'm hoping to find someone willing to part with the ones I'm missing all in one sale! Even if it's 5-10 of the ones I'm missing, I would be happy with that too!
2022 Topps Pristine - Slice of a Star #SSAR-SR. They did it! Topps brought back one of my all-time favorite sets...Pristine! I thoroughly enjoy just about everything about this card. For one, it's the only insert set from the Pristine release that Rolen is in, which keeps the collecting simple for me. The other things I appreciate about this card are: the piece of jersey matching the color of the jersey Rolen is wearing in the photo on the card, the photo that Topps chose for this card (looks like Rolen just smashed one out of the park), and the on-card autograph that is big, bold, and blue! I'm not normally a fan of horizontally oriented cards, but when they're done right, they look amazing!
2022 Topps Pristine - Slice of a Star Pristine Refractor #SSAR-SR, SN99. This card is an absolute stunner in-hand. The "Pristine" part of this card is the refractor pattern on the front (which is not fully appreciated in a flat scan). This parallel is easily discernible from the base in a few ways. One, the pattern on the front. Two, the serial numbering; limited to just 99 copies. And finally, the word "Pristine" under the card number on the back of the card.
2022 Topps Pristine - Slice of a Star Gold Refractor #SSAR-SR, SN50. Like with most cards these days, there are several different parallels to the Slice of a Star insert. This one here is the Gold Refractor version. I was lucky enough that the original owner of this card was willing to deal on the price. A lot of new release stuff gets a ton of hype thus increasing the price of the cards for a few months after their initial release. The seller of this one was a down to earth guy who realized that this card would never be a $200 card and was willing to work with me on a price that made sense to both of us.
2022 Topps Pristine - Slice of a Star Orange Refractor #SSAR-SR, SN25. Are you noticing a pattern here? Of course I had to pick up the Orange Refractor when I saw it surface on ebay! Orange is my favorite color and this parallel is numbered to just 25 copies. The more I watch breaks of this stuff, the more I firmly believe the print run of the overall product is only a small fraction of what we've seen from other releases in the past few years.
2022 Topps Pristine - Slice of a Star Superfractor #SSAR-SR, SN1. Here it is...THE one of one Superfractor! As soon as this one surfaced with a best offer option, I was messaging the seller. After a few messages back and forth, this beauty was on its way to my collection. The seller said he had several offers for the card, but since I was a Rolen supercollector, he wanted to see it in my collection. I couldn't possibly be any more excited for this card to be in my hands! It has less of the gold Superfractor "pizzazz" than other Superfractors put out by Topps, but it is an absolute stunner in-hand! And it has a nice three color patch swatch to top it off. Now, if I could only track down and acquire the Red Refractor to finish out the rainbow.
2021 Topps Five Star - Silver Signatures Gold #SS-SR, SN10. As many of you know, I've never really been a fan of landscape oriented cards. A lot of times they just don't have eye appeal. They tend to have tiny pictures of the player and overall the space on the front of the card just isn't utilized well. I'm here to tell you, I'm almost to the point of being a fan of these now. Especially if they keep producing cards that look like this! I found this during a late night ebay search. I noticed that it was being sold via COMC, so I quickly logged in there, certain that I could save some money on the price of the card if I bought it directly from them. And indeed I did. I quickly added it to my cart and paid for it. Shipping didn't take long at all, which is a breath of fresh air coming from COMC (who had been plagued by slow shipping times recently. These Topps Five Star Silver Signature cards are hit or miss with the autographs. A lot of times the signatures are either streaky or the ink is chipping off. When I saw this one with the nice auto, I just had to have it.
2006 Topps - Factory Set Team Bonus #5. These cards don't show up very often on the secondary market. Either that, or I've just always overlooked them. Regardless, when I saw this one listed for sale I couldn't recall seeing this particular photo in my collection. After a quick look over my checklist, I knew I needed this one so I hit the buy it now button. Not overly flashy and probably not limited in the "Junk Wax part deux" era. But it's nice to see another photo of Rolen on a Topps card in my collection.
2009 Upper Deck Signature Stars - Blue #92, SN170. 2009 Upper Deck was released in late January of 2010, which is why we see Rolen in a Reds uniform here on this card. Another fun fact about this release; it was NOT authorized by Major League Baseball and it is even printed on the back of the card near the bottom. These cards were the last we would see produced by Upper Deck for any US baseball product. Which is quite unfortunate.
That's it for this month. Twenty six new cards added to The Rolen Collection this month! Hopefully in the coming days/weeks I'll be able to make some more progress on the 2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Edition rainbow. And Topps also released the 2022 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Players Edition this month. So that'll be fun to compile that checklist like I did for last year's release. I'm also going to revisit my Most Wanted list soon since I was able to cross off one of those this month!