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Monthly Mailbag - May 2022

May has been a really good month for the collection. I've been able to cross several cards off the checklist and some of them are really tough to find! In the pursuit of 3,000 unique cards in the collection, I have been able to get even closer this month. Card number 2,900 was added this month, bringing me to within 100 of that milestone! Lets take a look at the beautiful additions I have been able to pick up this month:

2001 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection - Magic Numbers Game Jersey Silver #MNSR, SN20 (Jersey). An early jersey card limited to just 20 copies? Yes please! While I'm not typically a fan of landscape oriented cards, they generally make for better game-used cards. This one is a little lacking in the photography department in my opinion, but it's still nice to cross off a card that is this limited.

2002 Fleer Genuine - Touch Em All Game Base #24, SN350 (Base). I love game-used cards. Especially when they aren't the same old boring white jersey swatches. This card features a piece of game-used base from a game Rolen played in. What's nice about these older cards is that they included a picture of the memorabilia right on the back of the card. I also like that Fleer used a picture of Rolen running the bases instead of a batting picture.

2005 Finest - Refractors Gold #128, SN49. In 2005, Scott had nearly 1,400 cards produced. I'm certain that has something to do with him coming off a career season in 2004. Nevertheless, I don't know that I'll ever collect every card of his from 2005.

That doesn't stop me from buying them...especially when they're this gorgeous! The Finest cards have always screamed high end to me. And this one is no different. Seeded at 1:5 packs, these gold refractors weren't exactly tough to come by, but the Rolen ones don't surface very often.

2005 Topps - On Deck Circle Relics #ODR-SR, PR275 (On Deck Circle Relic). Another game-used piece of memorabilia that isn't a jersey. This piece of on deck circle comes from the 2004 All-Star Game; Scott's third appearance at the Midsummer Classic. These cards were inserted into Series 2 and were limited, but not serial numbered, to just 275 copies. They were a relatively tough pull too, being inserted into just 1:1,493 packs!

2008 Upper Deck Sweet Spot - Signatures Bat Barrel Blue Ink #SR, SN25. Scott doesn't have a lot of cards from his days in Toronto. Many casual baseball fans might not even realize he played for the Blue Jays. This Sweet Spot Signatures card is a survivor. It has remained nice and crisp for the past 14 years. A fate that is far better than some of the baseballs that were signed - many of which faded quite drastically over the years. This marker on a chunk of wood that Upper Deck is calling a "bat" has stayed nice and bold. And this particular copy was the last one made!

1998 Topps Tek - Pattern 67 #88. Adding these '98 Teks has been a really, really slow process. Prior to the addition of this one, I had been sitting at 61 of the 90 total different patterns. I always get excited when I see one listed on ebay, but that's typically short lived when I see it is a pattern that I already have. That all changed this month though when I added this pattern to the collection. This isn't the nicest copy ever though. It suffers the Tek scourge. It is full of little black spots and isn't the most beautiful copy ever. But it is mine now and it'll do until I can find a cleaner copy of this pattern.

1998 Topps Tek - Pattern 74 #88. What is this? Another '98 Tek?! Yes! Yes, it is! It was in the same lot as pattern 67 right above this one. When I saw the listing on ebay, I immediately shot the seller an offer for the entire lot based on these two cards alone (I already had all the other cards). The seller accepted my offer and these arrived shortly thereafter. With the addition of this card, my official count of '98 Teks is now 63/90. If you have, or see, any of the patterns I'm still missing - or any of the elusive diffractors - please shoot me a message!

2000 Upper Deck - Game Jersey Patch #PSR, SER2 (Jersey Patch). MONSTER ALERT!!! This card is incredibly tough to track down...and for good reason. Scott's card was released in Series 2 and these patch cards were inserted at a rate of 1:7,500 packs. With 17 players having a patch card in Series 2, you can see that the math takes us to 1:127,500 packs to potentially find one of these beauties.

This card isn't a gem mint by typical grading standards - as the black border has taken on some chipping over the past 22 years. But it's one of the earliest, if not the earliest patch cards of Rolen's. You would be very hard pressed to find a gem mint copy of any card from this set. Oftentimes they came out of the packs with chipped edges.

2002 Bowman Chrome - Gold Refractors #96, SN50. These cards almost never show up for sale. Inserted at a rate of 1:56 packs, the Gold Refractors may not seem like a tough pull. That is until you multiply that by the 385 cards in the set that has a Gold Refractor. That makes the odds of pulling this card an insane 1:21,560 packs!

So when this one popped up, I was really excited to win it. That is until I got it in the mail. Unfortunately, this card has a couple of severe creases on the back of the card that cannot be seen in the scans. It'll serve as a good placeholder for me in my collection until I can find a nicer copy though.

2004 SkyBox Autographics - Royal Insignia #3, SN25. At first glance, there isn't anything overly impressive about this one. But when you look at the back of the card, you'll realize why I was drawn to this particular card. First, we should look at the timing of this card coming to my collection. I purchased it early in the month, but it arrived in the mail on Friday the 13th. Now, looking at the back of the card, you'll quickly see that this card is serial number 13 out of 25. Then when you look closer at the blurb you will note Scott's 13th career two-home run game. Which aided in the Cardinals' victory over the Brewers by...13 runs!

2005 Playoff Prestige - Stars of MLB Material Jersey #14, SN100 (Jersey). Ugh...another 2005 card. And another card with a tiny, plain jersey swatch. But, alas, as a completest, I must have them all. This card pushes me to having 37% of all the 2005 cards. It will take me a lifetime to find all of the cards released in 2005 since there are just so many different brands, parallels, variations, etc.

2021 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition - 2012 Topps Heritage #203, SN46. I've always been a fan of the Heritage releases and this one is no different. A classic pose of Scott in his final year with the Reds - his final year in baseball. A nice bold blue signature that is actually on the card and not some ugly sticker. And it's "limited" to just 46 copies. I say "limited" because Archives is notorious for having a seemingly unlimited number of different cards for every player. I have catalogued nearly 90 different cards that Scott signed for this release.

2001 Topps Chrome - Retrofractors #339

2004 Finest - Uncirculated Gold X-Fractors #12, SN139

These two cards mark a big milestone for me! They were both sent to me from a great collector, Bryan. Check out Red Beard Sports Cards on Instagram: redbeardsportscards.

Since they were both received in the same package, it is tough to say which is which, but one of them is card #2,899 and the other is card #2,900 in The Rolen Collection! That officially puts me at just 100 cards away from my goal of 3,000 unique Rolen cards in the collection!

Big time thanks to Bryan for adding these gorgeous cards to the collection!

1999 Flair Showcase Legacy Collection Row 3 #17L, SN99. This was the last Legacy card I needed to complete the 1999 run of Legacies, so it was a no-brainer to buy it when it surfaced. I'm a big fan of 90s Flair cards - probably because a lot of my lunch money went to buying packs of these cards when I was a kid. And c'mon, who doesn't love shiny cards with that gorgeous blue foil that they put on these cards?

2022 Bowman - Buyback Autographs - 1999 Bowman #260, SN4. Similar to the Topps Archives cards, there is no known checklist for this release. I knew Scott was on the checklist for this year's Bowman buybacks, but there is no indication of just how many cards were signed or even which cards were signed by him for this release. So far, this is the only one I've seen from this year's Bowman!

Luck was on my side with this one though. A fellow collector posted this hit on his Twitter account and I'm not active on Twitter. Another collector friend of mine, Andrew (IG: schmidtcollector) is active on Twitter and saw this card and immediately thought of me. He reached out to me and got me in touch with the guy who pulled the card. A little conversation back and forth and we agreed on a price that worked for both of us and this card is now part of The Rolen Collection! If you're on Twitter, and feel so inclined, the collector who originally pulled this card is @Az_dawgs.

2005 Donruss Throwback Threads - Polo Grounds 35 BALL Short Fly #PG-16, SN35. I'll probably be chasing these for the rest of my life. Each player in this 100 card set had 45 different parallels, each serial numbered to 85 or less. They were inserted at a rate of 1:3 packs. I'll pick these up when the prices are good on them. I just cannot bring myself to pay too much for a card with a low serial number just because it has a low serial number. Especially when there isn't anything overly exciting about the cards themselves.

2005 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia - Absolutely Ink Swatch Double #AI-79, SN10 (Jersey/Bat). This card originally surfaced on ebay earlier this month. It sold to another collector for far more than I thought it would. It definitely sold for more than I was willing to pay due to my self-imposed spending limit for cards that feature a sticker autograph.

But, thanks to social media, this card still found its way into my collection this month! The collector who purchased the card earlier this month is a fellow Rolen collector, Devin (IG: sjaxcollector39). He reached out to me about the card and offered to help me make it part of my collection. Huge shout out to him! Thanks again, Devin!

2012 Topps - Black #255, SN61. Who doesn't love the timelessness of Topps Black cards? They have been a staple of collections since their introduction back in 2003. There's nothing overly flashy about these cards, but they are serial numbered, and they are inserted at only 1:150 packs. I was able to add this one to the collection for a steal of a deal too. Now I just need to track down all of the others that I'm missing from my collection.

That's everything for this month. I'm hoping to be able to pick up the momentum next month!


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