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Monthly Mailbag - October 2022

If you've been following along, you know that I had a HUGE month last month with acquiring my 3,000th unique Rolen card. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to top that, but there are many, many more unique Rolen cards I need for my collection. And this month brought a few monsters to the collection! So, the pursuit continues and that brings us to today. Here for your viewing pleasure are the cards I've been able to add to the collection this month:

2007 Topps Co-Signers - Silver Gold #13a, SN125. While this isn't a Rolen card, per se, it does have a (very subdued) picture of Scott on the front of it as well as his facsimile autograph. Scott doesn't have his own card in this set but he is featured on Jim Edmonds' cards as well as the cards of Albert Pujols. Each of those have 13 different versions. I don't go hard after these cards, but I will pick up the ones I'm missing when they come up for sale at a reasonable price. They are also one of the more difficult cards to get a nice clean scan on. The foil on the front does not play well with the Epson V600 scanner that I use and even in a brand new magnetic, you can still see marks on the case or scanner glass that aren't present on the card itself.

2017 Topps Rediscover Topps Buyback 1999 Silver #125. I want to say something nice about this card, I really do. But Topps definitely struck out swinging with this set in my opinion. They bought back stacks upon stacks of original issue Topps cards and reissued them with some new foil stamping. But, as you can see in this scan, the foil stamping they used on this card covers the foil stamping of Scott's name that they originally put on this card. Big time miss! Oh, and there are parallels of these cards where they changed the color of the foil used. This one is the silver foil version. There are rumors of blue, bronze, gold, and red foils also available.

2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary - Mini-Diamond Platinum 70th Anniversary Refractors #545, SN70. Yes! Another one of these for my rainbow. This one is really great looking in-hand as the 70th Anniversary logo that is subdued behind the mini-diamond pattern around the edges really pops. Patience definitely paid off on this one and I was able to get it at an incredible price compared to what they were selling for right after their release. Now if I could just track down the Black/Gold numbered to 10 and the Gold Prism Refractor versions. The Red/Black numbered to 5 and the Superfractor would just be icing on the Rolen rainbow!

2022 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition - 2000 Topps Chrome - 21st Century #C7, SN1. Another Topps Archives has made its way into my collection this month. This 1/1 comes by way of Instagram. A fellow collector there, whom I've purchased cards from before, reached out to me telling me that he had this one available. I typically shy away from these cards where the autograph is kind of obscured by the background, but the price was right on this one so I had to add it to the collection. It's kind of tough to see the autograph in this scan, but it is much clearer in-person. I think the one thing that would have made this card nicer would be if it was the refractor version. Regardless, I love the colors on this early 2000s card, so it was a no-brainer to add this one to the collection!

1998 Finest - No-Protectors Refractors #142. This is a card that I've looked for for years. I was beginning to think it didn't exist. It's kind of tough to tell in this scan, but this card has a refractor finish on the front and the back. I was growing envious of other collectors having a dual sided refractor of their favorite player because I had never seen a dual sided refractor of Rolen in all my years of collecting. I purchased multiple copies over the years hoping to get lucky and find one; but they were all the same - refractor on the front only. The hunt has finally ended. Mr. Moler was able to not only locate one, but he purchased it and recently sold it to me!

1998 Leaf - Fractal Materials Z2 Axis #199, SN20. This card, in my opinion, is severely underrated! It doesn't have the "over-the-top" shininess a lot of other 90s inserts had. But this thing is die-cut to the max! Not only is it die-cut, it is incredibly limited, and serial numbered, to just 20 copies! What really takes this card over the edge for me is the fact that it is made out of plastic. It's not acetate like the Tek cards, it's not cardboard like we all know and love, it is plastic!

1999 Fleer Tradition - Starting 9 #24S, SN9. To collectors of 90s cards, this card needs no introduction. For the uninitiated, this card is a unicorn! It isn't overly flashy, but it is extremely rare! The Starting 9 parallel set was inserted randomly into Hobby only packs. All 600 cards in the base set have a Starting 9 parallel which makes these even tougher to track down of any specific player. The biggest difference between the base cards and these Starting 9 beauties is the obvious blue foil that Fleer used for these. The Starting 9 logo as well as the serial numbering got the blue foil treatment as well. Again, these aren't overly visually appealing, but that doesn't make them any less desirable for me!

1999 SkyBox Premium - Autographics Blue Ink #44, SN50. The simplicity of this card is what really appeals to me. The card stock they used and the matte finish really makes the autograph pop on these. And if you've been following along, you already know that I'm a sucker for hand serial numbering on baseball cards! I really like the photo they used for this one too and they used the same photo (zoomed in a bit) on the back of the card. They kept it really simple and only included career stats, but that's ok by me on a card like this. The on-card, blue ink autograph is enough and it is perfect!

1999 Upper Deck Encore - FX Gold #155 HO, SN125. Yet another card that looks better in-hand than it does in a scan. The front of this card refracts light beautifully. The serial numbering on this card doesn't sound like it's short printed by today's standard, but a pre-2000 card numbered to just 125 is pretty tough to track down. Upper Deck was really in their stride in 1999. Even the "base" version of this card shines. But this one, with the gold accents, really sets itself apart from the group!

2000 Pacific Crown Collection - Platinum Blue #215, SN67. Who doesn't love a nice looking Pacific card? The Platinum Blue foil used on these cards looks great. And of course the chase for these has never been stronger. Being limited, and serial numbered, to just 67 copies was still really unheard of in the 90s and early 2000s. Yet here we are, 22 years later, and I'm still loving the simplicity of these cards!

2000 Pacific Omega - Premiere Date #109, SN77. Another Pacific product that I have been able to add to the collection this month is this Premiere Date. These were inserted into Hobby only packs at a rate of 1:37. It's virtually identical to the base version with the exception of the serial numbering and the foil stamp "Premiere Date November 22, 2000" on the front. Only 77 copies exist of this one, which is just the way Mike Cramer wanted them back in the early days. I can't speak for every collector out there, but I know this player collector loves cards like this!

2000 SkyBox Dominion - Eye on October Warp Tek #EO13, SN17. TOP 10 MOST WANTED! The Warp Tek technology on this card is absolutely incredible! It is very reminiscent of the linticular technology used on Sportflics cards of the 80s with a bit of a twist. The way the light bounces around the card give it a sense of movement right on the front of the card. Couple that awesomeness with the fact that these cards were serial numbered to the player's jersey number (in Rolen's case, just 17 copies) makes this a very desirable card to have in a collection. I am thankful that Mr. Moler made this one available to me recently!

2000 Upper Deck Ovation - Standing Ovation #41, SN50. Another addition from the collection of Mr. Moler is this great looking card! The main difference between this and the base card is the foil used on the front of the Standing Ovation. It is a holofoil instead of a flat silver foil. The other big difference with this one is the fact that they are limited, and serial numbered, to just 50 copies. And this particular card just so happens to be numbered 17/50 - Rolen's jersey number when he played for the Phillies!

2005 Topps Rookie Cup - Reprints Chrome Refractors #105, SN15. One of my favorite Rolen cards is the 1998 Topps Rookie Cup card. This reprint, released in 2005, takes that card and makes it even better! They added not only the Chromium technology to the card, but they also made it a refractor! Oh, and they limited these to just 15 copies! I could stare at this card for hours! Even though it's from 2005, it has that classic 90s etching that makes the refractor look deep and wet when the light bounces off of the surface.

2022 Topps Clearly Authentic - 1987 Topps Baseball Autographs Black #87TBA-SR, SN75. Last month I was able to add the base, Blue, Red, and Green versions of this card so I figured I'd try to pick up the rest of them as the prices had fallen back down to a reasonable rate. Don't get me wrong, I love Scott Rolen card. But I fear that Topps is severely watering down the market for his autographed stuff. It seems like nearly everything they are releasing of Rolen lately is signed. Not only is that putting more and more autographed cards out there, it is also killing his autograph.

2022 Topps Clearly Authentic - 1987 Topps Baseball Autographs Purple #87TBA-SR, SN10. Here is a great example of manufactured scarcity. 22-25 years ago, this card would have been HUGE. Nowadays though, a card like this, serial numbered to 10, isn't that big of a deal. Is it a great card? I mean, yeah it's nice. But I wouldn't have added it to my collection if I wasn't able to pick it up for lunch money. All I need are the Orange and the Gold for this run and I'll have the entire rainbow. I won't be chasing them hard though, as the Orange is /5 and the Gold is /1.

2022 Topps Archives #161. The simplicity of this card is what I absolutely love about it. This card features the classic 1978 Topps design, front and back, which is clean! I'm also a big fan of the portrait of Scott that they used for this one. It's also really nice to see a card of Scott in a product that isn't autographed! In a world of super duper short print, eleventy billion different colors and foil patters, and autographs everywhere, this card is a breath of fresh air. Having said that, there are eight different parallels of this card. But lets just take in the simplicity of this one for a moment.

2022 Bowman - Buyback Autographs - 2000 Bowman #120, SN5. I'm still on the fence about these buybacks. I used to be a big fan of buyback autographed cards, but I think that's when they were a lot more scarce and not overly done. Even though this particular card is serial numbered to just five copies, there are also several other Bowman cards that were bought back from different years that were signed and inserted into Bowman this year. So far, I have been able to track down eight different cards with varying serial numbers totaling 32 buybacks. And that is just what I've seen come up for sale - I'm sure there are many more that I haven't seen yet. The largest run I've seen so far is /12 with many of these being 1/1s. These don't seem to be as overly done as the Topps Archives Signature Series cards though. And they are all on-card autographs, which is a big win in my opinion.

1998 Donruss Collections Elite - Prized Collections #PC481, PR220. You wouldn't be able to tell from this scan, but these Prized Collections cards have some of the most incredible shine to ever grace the surface of a trading card! These cards may very well be one of the most underrated cards of the 90s in my opinion. I was able to pick this card up for next to nothing and Donruss told collectors that these Elite Prized Collections were limited (but not serial numbered) to just 220 copies. That makes them the second most difficult Prized Collections to find right after the Preferred Prized Collections which are limited to just 55 copies. With the addition of this card to my collection, I am left with just one more Prized Collections card to track down - the Elite Prized Collection card PC546.

1999 Fleer Brilliants - 24-Karat Gold #33TG, SN24. TOP 10 MOST WANTED! This card has been near the very top of my want list for quite some time. I've seen them in pictures. I've seen them in videos. But I had never seen one in person until this month. I can completely understand now the hype behind these cards. The shine on them rivals that of the 1998 Donruss Crusade cards. Then there is the prestige of a card that is limited, and serial numbered, to just 24 copies! I love the photo of a fired up Rolen on the front of the card and the intense stare in his batting stance on the back of the card. I'm beyond elated to finally add this card to the collection!

2005 Donruss Zenith - Artist's Proofs Gold #96, SN50. Another 2005 card added to the collection this month! There are so many cards from 2005 that I still need though. This one is the Artist's Proof card which hearkens back to some of our favorite 90s cards with the Dufex feel to it! The way the light bounces off of the surface of this card is just magical and instantly takes me back to my early days of collecting. The silver version of this card is not serial numbered and they were inserted at a rate of 1:16 packs. This gold version is serial numbered to just 50 copies so I can only imagine the insertion ratio is much greater than 1:16 which is a good reason why you won't see these cards come up for sale very often.

2022 Topps Archives - Red #161, SN75. Here is one of the eight parallels I talked about earlier on in this post. It passes the ocular test and is rather pleasing to the eyes with the team color match border. These red parallels were inserted at a rate of 1:144 packs, and they are serial numbered to just 75 copies. Like most new cards, these are largely overpriced on the secondary market right now in my opinion, so I imagine the building of this rainbow will be slow going.

1998 Pinnacle Plus - Artist's Proofs Gold #AP59, SN100. This card marked the end of an era. Released in August of 1998, Pinnacle Plus would be the last baseball set officially released by Pinnacle before their bankruptcy. What could have been... Anyway, this beauty is tough to track down. The exact odds of insertion weren't released, but these are limited, and serial numbered, to just 100 copies. Anyone who has opened any product from the 90s knows exactly how hard it is to pull anything that limited from those boxes! For me personally, I would put this card at the lower end of the "monster cards" category. I wish they would have picked a different picture of Scott for the front of the card, but I'm certainly glad they chose him for the parallel sets. Just 60 of the 200 cards in the set are featured in the Artist's Proof, Gold Artist's Proof, and Mirror Artist's Proof parallel lineup. Now...if I could just track down and acquire the 1/1 Mirror Artist's Proof!

1998 Topps Gold Label - Class 3 Black #53. I absolutely love Topps Gold Label. These Class 3 Black cards were inserted at a rate of 1:32 packs and were the toughest of the three classes to find. The foil used on the front of these for the Gold Label logo and the player's name is some really nice looking foil in-hand. It has an almost cracked ice look to it, which we all know I'm a sucker for. The feel of these cards just seems very high quality too. They aren't printed on cardboard, it's more of a plastic type material and the foil stamping looks like it's almost melted into the cards. Very nice card indeed!

1999 Topps Tek - Pattern 4 #22B. With the addition of this card to my collection, I am now down to just needing three different patterns to complete the base run of these cards. It's no secret that I'm a fan of acetate cards, and these Tek cards from '99 are no exception. The "B" numbered cards feature the player in their away jerseys whereas the "A" numbered cards feature them in their home jerseys. The other cards I'm missing from this set include patterns: 8A, 14B, and 18A. I also do not have any of the gold parallels from '99 in my collection. Perhaps I'll be able to fix that soon.

2000 Fleer Gamers - Extra #29. These were inserted at a rate of 1:24 packs. Aside from the "EXTRA" stamp on the front of the card, the only other difference between this and the base card is the color of foil used on the front of the card. The base set is a silver color foil and this one is a nice gold foil. It has taken me awhile to find one of these cards to add to my collection at a price I felt was a steal. Many times, for cards like this, I can be incredibly frugal (read: cheap).

2003 Topps Heritage - Chrome #THC38, SN1954. This is one of those cards that I looked over multiple times because I thought I already had it in my collection. While going through cards one night, I realized that I was missing this one, so I found one on ebay for a great price and scooped it up. These chromium cards were inserted at a rate of 1:8 packs, so they weren't terribly hard to pull. They are serial numbered to just 1954 copies due to Topps using the 1954 design for the cards.

2005 Leaf Century - Stamps Material Centennial #S-16, SN39. I know you can't really see it very well, but if you look closely you'll see a tiny piece of game used jersey on the front of this card. I'm not a stamp collector, but this card does feature a genuine 3 cent stamp from the US Postal Service on the front. The stamp commemorates the Centennial of Baseball. A very cool piece of baseball memorabilia that wouldn't otherwise make it's way into my collection.

2002 Donruss Studio - Stars Platinum #SS-4, SN50. These cards were a really cool concept in my opinion. Stylized to look like a credit card, they feature the player's slash line across the front in lieu of an actual credit card number. A facsimile autograph graces the back of the card where one would sign their card. The insertion ratio isn't known, but this card does not come up for sale very often. You can find the base and the gold parallels fairly easily, but this platinum version serial numbered to just 50 copies comes around once every few years it seems.

2022 Topps Archives - Rainbow Foil #161, SN199. I was able to pick up the base and the red parallel early on in the month and this one here just makes the October cut-off. The rainbow foil that Topps used for these cards is incredibly condition sensitive and every one I've seen so far appears to have roller marks on the surface. This particular copy is no different. And there is a weird line that goes from the top of the card all the way down to the bottom of the card that isn't present on any of the other parallels of this card that I've seen. Regardless, it's a nice looking card and I was happy to add it to the collection this month.

That wraps up the October mail days. I was able to add 30 new cards to the collection with many of them being monster additions! Any time I can cross off a Top 10 want, it's a good month. And I was able to do that a couple times this month! Check back next month as there are still a lot of cards I'm chasing for the collection!


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