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Monthly Mailbag - May 2021

I've been meaning to start a blog like this for awhile now. Just a monthly recap of the cards I've added to my collection over the past month. Well, today is the day I finally get it done. This month has been an incredible journey for the collection. I've added some cards that I've never seen before as well as several more common cards that I just needed.

I don't anticipate ever having another month like this past month. Over the past 31 days I have been able to cross off some of the biggest cards on my checklist. Some of these cards are so big, they had obtained mythical status among collectors that I have networked with during the search for them. Without further adieu, here are the cards I have recently added to The Rolen Collection:

1997 Bowman's Best Atomic Refractor autograph #194. This is THE card that I had wanted for as long as I can remember. Having never seen this card, I had started to wonder if it was ever even produced. I held onto hope though, checking for the card routinely on several different websites. I also had the help of fellow collectors who said they would keep their eyes open for me.

1997 Score - Reserve Collection HR474. I picked this card up recently from another collector, Eric, who was splitting up a set he was working on. I've seen this card come up for sale a few times, but it always sold for more than I was willing to pay at the time. Since I'm wanting to fill all the gaps in my Rolen collection during his days in Philly, I decided to finally grab this one. Thanks again, Eric!

1998 Donruss Crusade - Red #88, SN/25. I believe everyone who is around my age knows about the Donruss Crusade cards from 1998. Another card that rarely comes up for sale. I missed the sale of this card when it was originally listed on eBay, but luckily the guy who picked it up relisted it. I sent him a message and we were able to work out a deal to get this card into my collection. Thanks again, Joe!

1998 Upper Deck UD3 - Die Cuts #15 SN/100. This card just oozes 90s insert. It has holographic foil, it is die cut, and it is serial numbered to just 100 copies. This isn't a big money card by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a card I needed to finish the run of the 1998 Upper Deck UD3 cards of Rolen.

1998 Donruss Preferred - Great X-Pectations Samples #22. These sample cards seem like they should be easier to come by but I haven't seen this particular one come up for sale in quite some time. I'm guessing there are many copies sitting in commons boxes throughout the country. Aside from the bold "SAMPLE" running through Rolen's picture, I like this card.

1998 Pacific Omega Red #165. These reds were a retail only offering which is why I think they are far tougher to come by than their stated odds of 1:4 packs would have you believe. I imagine a large number of them were tossed into shoe boxes and eventually thrown out by moms all over the country when their kids became adults and moved out.

1999 UD Choice - Starquest red SQ19. A fairly common card that I had passed up multiple times. I grabbed this one for a really good price. Now I just need the gold to finish out this run.

2000 Pacific Vangard - Gold #87, SN/99. This is another card that can be appreciated more when you're looking at it in-hand. The gold on the card really shines bright!

2001 Upper Deck - Exclusives Silver #234, SN/100. There isn't anything stellar about this card. Typical Upper Deck photography, no borders, a little splash of foil, and serial numbered to 100.

2001 Fleer Tradition - Turn Back The Clock. By 2001, the game used schtick had become pretty commonplace. This dual game used card features Pat Burrell, which I've come to realize, a lot of people confuse for Scott Rolen - especially on baseball cards.

2001 Fleer Authority - Diamond Cuts, PR240. I already had two copies of this card, but when I saw the white piece of game used hat, I had to pick this one up. From my totally scientific research, of the 240 copies of this card, the red piece of hat is the most common, the blue piece of hat is less common, and the white piece of hat is the most rare. The white piece most likely came from the sweat band inside the hat.

2002 Topps Pristine - Refractor #73, SN/149. Topps uncirculated is a great idea...if the case is given some protection. This one has seen better days, but I got it for a steal, so I decided to pick this one up to go with the Gold Refractor version already in my collection.

2002 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia - Tools of the Trade Materials TT-69, SN/200. Holy crap! These cards are thick thick. I'm not a big fan of horizontal cards and the small sampling of jersey and bat here leave a lot to be desired. But I needed this one for the collection and this one wasn't expensive at all.

2005 UD Ultimate Signature Edition - ROY Dual Autograph w/Nomar Garciaparra ROY-GR, SN/200. I've owned this card before but sold it during a liquidation years ago. This one popped up for less than I sold my copy for so it was a no-brainer that now was the right time to snag it again. Solid bold autographs from the 1997 AL and NL Rookies of the Year.

2005 Playoff Prestige - Stars of the MLB MLB-14, SN/100. This card suffered at the hands of the USPS and inadequate shipping methods of the seller. It has a huge crease at the corners of the game used bat window. I'll eventually replace the card, but I'm not in a big hurry. There were nearly 1,400 Rolen cards produced in 2005'll take me awhile to get one of every card made from that year.

2006 Topps Co-Signers - Changing Faces HyperSilver Bronze 69c, SN/75. With 60 different cards in this set, it will take me awhile to complete it. I have to have my checklist handy whenever I'm looking at these cards because they are so confusing that I've bought the same card too many times to count. I'm starting to think I'll finish the 98 Topps Tek set before this one.

2006 Topps St. Louis Cardinals STL3. Not a huge pick up but just one that I hadn't been able to find in any of the large lots of Rolen cards I've bought throughout the years.

2012 Choice Louiville Bats #22. As a player collector, cards like this excite me more than some of the other new offerings by some of these companies. I'm not sure what the print run was on these cards, but it's probably only around 10,000. This was during one of Rolen's rehab games with Louisville Bats - the AAA Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.

2012 Topps #255, IP Auto. I don't make a habit of buying cards that were autographed in person. Mostly because there are just too many forgeries out there. Having collected Rolen cards for as long as I have though, I've become somewhat of a self-proclaimed expert in his autograph. This one looks 100% spot on and it was a fraction of the price of any certified autograph out there.

2021 Topps Tier One - Tier One Talent Autograph T1TA-SRO, SN/300. Here lately, there haven't been a lot of Rolen cards in new products. Topps seems to be on board with Scott knocking on the door of the Hall of Fame though, and they've been adding multiple autographs of his as well as varying parallels (in true Topps fashion.) I like the design of these Tier One cards, so I'm sure you'll see more in the coming months!

2021 Topps Tier One - Tier One Talent Autograph Bronze Ink T1TA-SRO, SN/25. This card just snuck in here at the end of the month. I'm hoping the marker used for this autograph holds up better than some paint pens used on autographs in the past (looking at you, 1997 Bowman Gold Ink auto). Since these cards are so new, there are several of them being made available on the secondary market, so I figured I'd strike now while the iron is hot!

*Side note* - On the 2021 Topps Tier One - Tier One Talent Autograph Bronze Ink card, I believe Scott used the wrong marker to sign these cards. The card, as the name indicates, was supposed to be signed in bronze ink, but it is clearly signed with the gold ink marker that was intended to be used for the Gold Ink autograph which is numbered 1/1.

So there you have it. The cards above were the ones I was able to pick up for the month of May. Overall it was by far my best month ever for new acquisitions for the collection. I was able to cross off a couple of really big cards from my checklist that I'll likely not see offered again for a really, really long time (if ever!) The first three cards on this list are some of the most sought after by player collectors who collect guys from the 90s, and for good reason. These cards are absolutely gorgeous!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back next month for another installation of Monthly Mailbag. I don't have anything major in the works just yet, but I'm always on the hunt for new cards for my collection.


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