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Monthly Mailbag - October 2023

Coming off of a tremendous September, I didn't really have high hopes for October initially. Mostly because every time I checked the regular spots to purchase cards, I was severely underwhelmed with the offerings I saw. But, as it turns out, October wasn't a terrible month after all. Here's what I was able to add this month:

1998 Topps Tek - Diffractors. Patterns: 8, 27, 83, and 90.

I was able to add these four unique patterns to my collection this month by way of a collector who I connected with on FreedomCardBoard. FCB is a message board that was created back in 2008 by several collectors who left the old Beckett message boards. That's an entirely different story for another time. Anyway, there is a huge 243 page thread dedicated to just 1998 Topps Tek cards on there where I posted asking for help with the base set of Rolen cards (because I'm down to just needing nine more!) He replied in the thread and then we began emailing and texting about a deal for five Rolen Diffractors that he had. After several messages were exchanged, a deal was made, and these four unique patters (along with a duplicate of pattern 79) were on their way to me! Just finding one of these Diffractors is rare, but to score five of them in one transaction - that's nearly unheard of!

2023 Topps Allen & Ginter

I'm a sucker for Topps Allen & Ginter! I absolutely love the nod to the original picture cards of the 1800s. And this year's product did not disappoint. The picture they used of Rolen this year features him in his Cardinals jersey (big plus!) It's not an action shot, but it's not a posed portrait either. It is a more candid shot of the Hall of Famer; which I appreciate. They used an older photo of Rolen on his mini relic card; a posed shot of him in his Phillies jersey. This is an image we've seen on previous releases and I wasn't crazy about this card, but it's a Rolen card, so I had to grab it when I saw it for sale for less than the price of lunch. Aside from the printing plates, the Glossy 1/1, the Mini Glossy 1/1 and the Mini Wood 1/1, I'm only missing the Mini Brooklyn Back (SN25) for this run. So far, I've only seen one of those surface for sale, and I didn't see that until I saw it in the "sold" listings.

This month I was able to add the following:

  • Base SP (1:2 Hobby packs)

  • Foil Filigree (1:93 packs)

  • Silver Portrait Hot Box

  • Base Mini SP (1:13 packs)

  • Mini A&G Back (1:65 packs)

  • Mini No Number, PR50 (1:190 packs)

  • Mini Black Bordered (1:130 packs)

  • Mini Gold Bordered (retail only)

  • Mini Framed Relic (1:63 Hobby packs)

2023 Topps Allen & Ginter X

As if the regular Allen & Ginter set release wasn't enough, I present to you: Topps Allen & Ginter X. These cards were released on October 20, 2023 exclusively online via the Topps website (along with multiple other secondary market locations.) I'm not a big box buying kind of collector, so as soon as I saw these hit ebay, I snapped them up. They are everything I love about the regular A&G release, but black. You'll notice that the background behind Rolen is black on the regular sized card as well as the Mini. There is a faint green splotch behind his head that is also present on the regular issue. The black background, especially on the Mini, is the key differentiator between Allen & Ginter X and the Allen & Ginter Mini Black Bordered card. These Mini X cards (for the SPs) were inserted at a rate of 1:11 packs, whereas the Mini Black Bordered cards from the regular release are much tougher to pull at a rate of 1:130 packs!

1999 Topps Tek Gold. Patterns: 20 and 29 of card #22B.

Having just completed the run on the base 1999 Topps Tek last month, and since I picked up a couple of these from Ron's collection, I decided to make a concerted effort to look for, and acquire these as I see them offered for sale. It did not take long for these two cards to find me. Near the end of last month these two beauties were posted in a Facebook group dedicated to Topps Tek. I was at work when they were posted, so I wasn't on Facebook to see them immediately. Luckily, fellow Tek enthusiast and hobby friend, Eric, saw them posted and tagged me in the post. Once I got the notification, I looked to see what it was and I couldn't reply fast enough! Big shout out to Eric for tagging me in the post and to Cassey for offering these to me and shipping them out so quickly!

2023 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition

Would this even be a good month of card collecting if I didn't pick up at least a few of these Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition cards? Pictured here are the 2001 Topps #478, SN24, 2009 Topps Heritage #575, SN30 and 2011 Topps #228, SN9. So far, as of the publishing of this blog post, I have identified only 48 different cards included in this year's release of this product. I'm not sure if that's because Topps released fewer Rolen cards this time around, or if the product just wasn't as popular as previous years. Regardless, that equals a LOT of Rolen autographs out there in circulation. And I will continue picking them up and adding them to my collection as long as the price makes sense.

2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary - Gold Prism Refractors #545. This card has been nearly impossible to track down! I've been actively searching for it ever since this product was released in June of 2022. The odds to pull this card don't seem that tough on the surface at 1:300 packs. But when you figure in the fact that this set contains 700 cards, those odds shoot up to a staggering 1:210,000 packs to pull a Rolen! It is widely thought by the hobby community that the print run on these Gold Prism Refractors is limited to just FIVE copies! I firmly believe that is an accurate account, given the fact that it has taken me so long to find this copy, and it is the only copy that I have ever seen offered for sale on the secondary market anywhere! I'm beyond excited to add it to my collection this month.

2004 Fleer InScribed - Gold #66, SN199. This card is just an overall great looking card in my opinion. It is elegance on cardboard. Everything about this card just works; from the photograph they used, to the black border with the gold foil. It looks like a classy baseball card. While 199 copies of any card in 2004 isn't exactly "rare", these cards don't come up for sale very often. So when this one surfaced, I knew I needed to add it to the collection this month. Now I just need to find the red #/5!

2007 Topps Moments & Milestones - Black #122-18, SN29. This card comes from a set that kind of infuriates me as a collector. Not only are there 34 of these black parallel cards, there are also 34 of the base version, and 34 red cards serial numbered to just 1. The only difference among the cards is the little number on the front of the cards in the baseball diamond shape that denotes how many home runs that Rolen hit in his 2004 season. Some may argue that this is no different than the 90 different versions of the 1998 Topps Tek, but I beg to differ. Having said all of that, I will still pick these up to add to my collection as they become available for the right price. I'm not ever going to pay more for these simply because they're serial numbered to just 29 copies each. But I would like to add them all to my collection in the spirit of 'completion'.

2006 Topps Co-Signers - Changing Faces Silver Red #13c, SN100. Finally! This is the third time I've purchased this card in the past couple of years. Each time before this one, the card arrived to me damaged. The problem is, it's a pretty thick card and the sellers shipped it to me in a PWE (plain white envelope). This time though, it arrived safely! There are multiple different configurations for these Changing Faces cards, with several different parallels of them. I've been slowly working on the set for the past several years and I still have a long way to go. Check out my progress here: 2006 Topps Co-Signers Changing Faces.

2022 Topps Chrome Black - Autographs Gold Mini-Diamond Refractors #CBA-SR, SN50. This is an amazing looking card in person. Topps really knows how to bring a card to life with their refractor technology. The only problem with this particular copy - the previous owner did not take very good care of it. The case the card came in is completely scratched up; which is unfortunate because I prefer to keep these cards in the original cases they came in out of the box. Luckily for me, the price I paid for this card reflected that previous negligence, so I'll upgrade this one at some point.

2023 Topps Pristine - Around the Diamond #ADR-SR. For some reason I wasn't quite as excited about this year's release of Pristine like I was last year. I think that lead to me being more patient with picking this card up and I'm happy about that because I was able to get this card at a mere fraction of the price compared to what it was going for immediately following the release. I do like that these are on-card autographs again this year, so I'll probably try to add all of the parallels of this one soon. I still haven't seen the 1/1 Superfractor surface yet, so there may be hope of completing my second Pristine rainbow!

2011 Topps Update - Target Red Border #US310. Who doesn't love a good team color match parallel? I'm not sure what the overall print run was on these Target Red Border sets, but I'm sure it was a ton (like most cards these days.) The only problem is, they don't show up for sale too often and when they do, they're typically overpriced for my taste. That's why when I saw this one listed recently at a really good price, I jumped all over it. Who knows when I'll see another one come up? And Rolen doesn't have a lot of cards to chase from 2011, so it was nice to add another one this month.

2022 Topps Triple Threads - Autograph Relic Amber #TTAR-SR2, SN18. Patience, as they say, is a virtue. That seems to be especially true with certain baseball cards. Sometimes, you have to jump on the card you want because it may be the last time you see it for over a decade. But other times, like in this instance, patience allowed me to save a boat-load of money for this card. Orange is my favorite color and I had seen one of these cards listed for sale shortly after the product dropped. But at that time, the card was priced in the triple digits. I assume it was mostly due to the newness of the card, coupled with the fact that it is limited to just 18 copies (for this color parallel). I have lost interest in quickly buying up these "manufactured scarcity" type cards and tend to focus my efforts and money on more of the 90s cards I'm missing from my collection. I'm excited to add this card to the collection this month. Even though the autograph is on a sticker, it's a nice clean, bold example of his signature. And the card commemorates his amazing 2004 season with the Cardinals!

2008 SPx #87. With Rolen being traded from the Cardinals to the Blue Jays in January of 2008, I guess Upper Deck didn't have a chance to get a photo of him to use on this 2008 SPx card. So while the overall appeal of the card just isn't there for me with the Blue Jays logo and Rolen in his Cardinals uniform, I'm happy to pick this card up. Rolen only has 288 cards released in 2008, so any time I can grab one for next to nothing, I'll get it.

That wraps up another great month of collecting! It's always fun to add cards I'm missing from the 90s and still be able to pick up new release stuff as soon as it hits the market. Now if I could just find those last nine 1998 Topps Tek base cards I need...

2 comentarios

The Essential Credentials
The Essential Credentials
31 oct 2023

I love how thoroughly you detail each card that comes in. I absolutely love this and it motivated me to think of doing the same thing on my website!

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01 nov 2023
Contestando a

Thank you! I try to write a little something about each card (or group of cards) as I get them in the mail. I used to try to do a wrap-up at the end of the month, but that got entirely too hectic sometimes. So now I keep up on it as I get the cards scanned in and added to the site.

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