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Monthly Mailbag - March 2024

Things haven't really slowed down this month as far as new acquisitions for the collection. I'm still chasing cards that I'm missing from years ago while also picking up some of the new release stuff as it hits the market. Here's what I was able to add this month:

1998 Leaf Rookies & Stars - True Blue #42, PR500. These were released in December of 1998 and the True Blue parallels could be found at a rate of 1:8 packs. For some reason I thought I already had this card in my collection, so I've passed up several over the years. It wasn't until this month when I was looking through my early Rolen cards that I noticed that I was missing this one. I actually had two of card #184; the team lineup card. Either way, I was able to cross this one off of the checklist this month!

1999 Bowman Chrome - International Refractors #260, SN100. For a card serial numbered to 100 copies, this card does not come up for sale very often. That's why when I saw this one surface with a "buy it now" option, I jumped all over it! Like with most refractor cards, to appreciate this one fully, one must hold it in-hand. The shine on these is incredible. And, since Scott is from Indiana, this card features an Indiana landmark - Monument Circle in Indianapolis.

2000 Upper Deck Gold Reserve - Game Ball #BSR. This card is sneaky rare! First, they were a retail only release. Next, there were 20 cards in this set. Finally, they were inserted at a rate of 1:480 packs. Quick math on this makes this a 1:9,600 pack card! They're not serial numbered, so I think that's one reason these fly under the radar like they do. I know I've talked about my dislike of landscape oriented cards, but this one kind of works for me. I like the background picture they used of Scott. And the main photo is one of him throwing a ball which ties in well to the game used ball aspect. My only nitpick with this one is the placement of the game used ball cutting into the main picture slightly.

2001 Fleer Focus - ROY Collection Memorabilia Autograph #15 (Error - missing auto wrong back). This card probably should not even exist. I'm guessing this card was salvaged from the garbage can on the production floor at Fleer back in 2001. First thing that's instantly noticed by me is the front. There is an area that is muted that is supposed to be autographed. Clearly this card lacks the autograph. Second, lets take a look at the back of the card. The "certification" claims that you have received a game-used base card. On the front, this is clearly a piece of a baseball bat. Another thing that sticks out on the back is the Dodgers logo in the lower right corner. Scott never played for the Dodgers. Some quick research regarding the back of this card lead me to the only possible answer: this back was meant to be placed on the Mike Piazza memorabilia card. He was the only one in the checklist that featured a game-used base.

2001 Topps Gold Label - MLB Award Ceremony Relics #GLR-SR. This is another fairly tough card to pull from a pack. These were released in May 2001 and the jersey relics were the hardest to pull; inserted at a rate of 1:143 Hobby packs. The bat relics were inserted at a rate of 1:54 packs. I've passed this card up multiple times over the years mostly because of the asking price. When I found this one for less than the price of lunch, I figured now would be the perfect time to add it to the collection.

2002 Donruss Best of Fan Club - Spotlight #38, SN100. This card has been overlooked so many times over the years. It is really similar to the base card with the only differences are the word "spotlight" on the front and the serial numbering on the back. Same photo, same foil, same everything else. This one came up for sale for next to nothing, so I figured I'd go ahead and pick it up this month. The foil on these is really tough to scan.

2002 Donruss Classics - The National Stamp #48. I don't really know much about this card. I can only surmise that it was opened from a pack at The National back in 2002 and then subsequently stamped at the Donruss booth there. You can't really see it in the scan, but on the lower left corner of the card there is an embossed stamp that says, "The National 2002". These embossed stamp cards are really starting to grow on me for one reason - there can't be that many of them out there. I mean, really, how many collectors got their Scott Rolen Donruss Classics cards stamped at The National?

2002 Donruss Elite - Back to the Future Threads #1, SN50. You don't see this card pop up for sale very often. It has a really nice refractory foil on the front and back that makes it shine in-hand. Game-used cards are grossly overdone at this point, and there's nothing overwhelming about these small napkin swatches, but it's a pretty cool card that I was able to add to the collection for a very fair price this month.

2003 Donruss Timeless Treasures - Silver #83, SN50. These cards were obscenely expensive when they were released (in my opinion.) They were released in July of 2003 in tin "packs" that only contained four cards. The price for a four card tin: $100! I wasn't buying much in the way of packs in 2003, but this is a card that I would have certainly bought as a single. I've never really been one to chase specific cards by buying packs or boxes looking for them. I guess that speaks more to my not being a gambler, but also a little to how cheap I am. Anyway, this is a great looking card! The foil treatment on the front of these really shines.

2004 Donruss Leather & Lumber - Silver #137, SN100. Here we have a card from the crazy era where everything seemed to have a parallel (or 10). There's nothing over-the-top crazy about this card. It actually looks a lot like the base version of the card with the exception of the foil used for the logo on the front of the card. And of course the serial numbering on the back of the card.

2004 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia - Signature Spectrum Silver #178, SN100. As you know, I am not a huge fan of sticker autographs. I got this card for a steal of a deal though so I pretty much had to pick it up this month. The foil they used on these is next level. This flat scan does not show the full rainbow effect of this Spectrum that you experience in person. And the autograph, it's nice and bold and just so happens to be from my favorite era of Rolen signatures.

2005 Donruss Throwback Threads - Polo Grounds 35 HIT Short Fly #PG-16, SN35. This set is annoyingly addictive for me. There are 45 "different" ones in this run (thanks a lot, 2005). The difference is the wording on the front and the serial numbering. The serial numbering ranges from 5 all the way up to 85. For me, this set is my new 1998 Topps Tek now that I've completed the Tek run. I might have to buckle down and actually search for these specifically instead of just picking them up randomly.

2007 Upper Deck Future Stars - Gold #87, SN99. I'm a big fan of the picture Upper Deck used for this card. The perennial gold glover, firing a ball over to fist base like he had done countless times. Adding this card to my collection this month finished the run of these cards for me. It's only the base (green), red (199), and this gold one numbered to 99. 2007 was also Scott's last year with the Cardinals.

2008 Upper Deck Timeline - Memorabilia #TM-SC. These cards were found exclusively in blaster boxes of the product. Scott has two cards in the set; one in a Blue Jays jersey with a piece of bat, and this one with him in a Cardinals jersey with a piece of jersey. Both are considered "Blue Jays" cards though because at this time he was in Toronto. I'm a huge fan of the pictures they used on this one. On the front, you've got Scott launching a home run and on the back, he's hanging out at third base smiling like he's thoroughly enjoying his time at the ballpark.

2023 Panini Flawless - Signature Prime Materials Gold #SPM-SR, SN10. We've seen this picture over and over again with Panini products. And the patch swatch clearly comes from a white Cardinals jersey. But there are a couple things that I really like about this card. One, it's portrait oriented. And the second thing is that the autograph is right there on the card - no sticker here! The back also has a nice blurb about Rolen's contribution to the Cardinals 2006 World Series victory while highlighting his game 1 home run when the Cardinals defeated the Tigers.

2023 Panini National Treasures - Die-Cut Material Signatures Holo Gold #DMS-SR, SN25. I've talked about the two other parallels of this card that I've acquired this year. This one, numbered to 25, is likely the last one I'll pick up. The only one I'm missing is the Platinum #/1. I really like the photo they used of Rolen on these cards and how it mostly hides the fact that Panini can't use MLB team logos. While it is a sticker auto, I'll accept that because it's a nicely done sticker auto that features a beautiful bold swooping signature. And check out that patch piece!

2001 Donruss - 1999 Retro Diamond Kings #1 - Cleveland National Stamp, SN2500. I don't know much about this card. What I do know is that when a hobby friend, Kevin, reached out to me saying he had it available, I had to have it! First of all, I'm a big fan of the Diamond King style cards. This one features Scott in the 1999 season, apparently having fun while taking BP. The second, and most important, thing that drew me to this card is the foil stamp on the back of the card. It comes from The National in Cleveland back in 2001. I've never seen another one and I can imagine this wasn't a highly sought after card to get stamped at The National; especially on the back of the card.

2023 Topps Five Star - Autographed Jumbo Prime Gold #FSJP-SR, SN10. Topps really knocked it out of the park with Five Star this year. I love the fact that this on-card autographed, game used memorabilia card is portrait oriented! What you can't really tell here in this scan though, is the gold foil they used on the front of the card. It has a gorgeous rainbow shine to it in-hand. It's like Topps finally brought to life one of their Digital Bunt cards. There is one nitpick I have with this card though. And if you've been following along at all, you already know what I'm going to say about it. Topps chose a picture of Rolen in a red jersey, while the patch swatch is clearly from a gray jersey. I can certainly overlook this oversight on their part though because of the sheer beauty of this card!

2023 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition - 2006 Bowman Heritage #67, SN21. Of course I needed to pick up one of these Archives cards this month! I've said it countless times, but to pick up an on-card autograph of my favorite Hall of Fame third baseman for less than the cost of lunch, it's a no-brainer! The serial numbering on this card really doesn't matter considering the fact that these cards were just pumped out year after year after year. But look at that bold blue autograph!

2001 Donruss Elite - Passing the Torch #PT-19, SN500. This card just shines! I don't even mind that Rolen is technically on the back of this card because the front is graced by another great Hall of Famer - Mike Schmidt. A guy who Rolen was compared to quite a bit in his early days as the Phillies third sacker. The foil Donruss used on these is far more stunning than this scan would indicate. I'm not really sure why it's taken me this long to add this card to my collection, but I'm glad I finally decided to pick this one up!

1998 Donruss Elite - Master Craftsmen Executive Proof #11, SNXXX

Card number 3,600 in The Rolen Collection!

I don't really know a whole lot about these "Executive Proof" cards other than the fact that they don't really show up for sale very often. When this one surfaced on ebay this month, I put it on my watch list. I wasn't sure how much it would sell for because I can't recall ever seeing another one; at least not in recent memory. I tried doing a little bit of research on these cards as this one sat on my watch list so I kind of had some sort of idea on value. But, as it turns out, the "value" was literally all over the place. As the end of the auction grew closer and closer, dwindling down to the final seconds, I placed my bid and won! I had a few other cards coming in the mail around the same time as this one, so I wasn't exactly sure which one would end up being the 3,600th unique card in my collection. But I'm glad it was this one! This card may have opened up Pandora's Box for me with regard to "Executive Proof," "salesman samples," or other "proof" type cards. The mystique about them is quite intriguing.

1998 Leaf - Fractal Diamond Axis Executive Proof #134 & #199, SNXX

See what I mean about Pandora's Box? More Executive Proofs this month. Both of these come to my collection by way of a hobby friend, Eric. He reached out to me on Facebook one evening and said that he had both of these available and wanted to know if I wanted them before he listed them on ebay. Of course I wanted them! We quickly came to an agreement on the price and a deal was made. Eric is a huge asset to the hobby and he knows how to get cards into the hands of collectors. These cards are nearly identical to their pack issued counterparts. They have the same beautiful textured blue foil on the front and the same die cut. The difference is on the back. These have printed "XX/50" instead of the foil stamped serial numbering. I don't know exactly how rare these are, but I can assure you, there have to be less than the pack pulled versions.

2000 Pacific Paramount - Green #181. I feel like I should have had this card in my collection a long time ago. The green foil cards were only available in 7-Eleven packs. I'm not sure what the overall print run was for these green foil parallels, but we do know that they were inserted at a rate of one per pack. There were also 250 cards in this set, so tracking down a green of any individual player could prove to be fairly tough. Now I need to track down one of the more elusive 7-Eleven exclusives; the Holo Green parallel that is serial numbered to 99. I figured this one was fitting to add this month for the St. Patrick's Day connection.

2003 Topps Heritage - Chrome Refractors #THC38, SN554. Playing off of the 1954 design, this card is simple. And that is certainly something I can appreciate about a more modern card. These refractors were inserted at a rate of about 1:28 packs and there were only 100 of the cards that received the Chrome treatment. What you can't see in this scan is the refractory goodness bouncing off of the incredible etching this card features. I really miss etched refractors!

2005 Donruss Zenith - Epix Red Season #E-7, SN100 and 2005 Playoff Prestige - Xtra Bases Black #27, SN25.

Both of these cards from 2005 come to my collection this month by way of a hobby connection. Fellow collector, John, reached out to me on Facebook saying that he had a couple of cards that I needed for my collection. After confirming that I did need them, we quickly struck a deal and these cards were in the mail headed my way. There are so many 2005 cards of Rolen out there that, chances are, if the card is serial numbered, I probably need it. I love it when I can pick up cards like this via a friend keeping their eyes open for me!

2000 Pacific Prism - Woodgrain Silver #112, PR331. This card was far tougher to track down than some of the numbered parallels from the same set! I've attempted to purchase this card in the past, but every time I received the card that was touted as the Woodgrain Silver, I quickly found out upon receiving the card, that it was not the Woodgrain pattern. Fast forward to this month and the same Eric from the Diamond Axis Executive Proofs from above reached out to me once again saying that he found this card. He told me about a seller on Sportlots, DelBacon (Jeremy), who had this card listed. I quickly logged into Sportlots and found the card and immediately added it to my cart to buy. This completes my rainbow of the 2000 Pacific Prism! Thanks for the heads-up on this one, Eric!

2000 Fleer Showcase - Sweet Sigs #5SS. I'm incredibly happy to add this card to my collection this month! First, they were a tough pull. They were inserted at a rate of 1:250 packs with 10 cards in the checklist. Second, check out that bold blue autograph! I've seen a few of these for sell over the years that I've passed on because the quality of the autograph just didn't look nice. They were either smeared, faded, or there were too many skips in the ink while Rolen was signing the baseball. It is believed that these cards were produced as a result of Fleer having leftover baseballs from their 1998 Diamond Ink program.

Happy birthday to me! March 28th was my birthday so I also picked these cards up from the same guy on Sportlots while I was on there shopping!

That's it for this month. Check back next month to see what else I've been able to pick up!


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