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Monthly Mailbag - September 2022

Edging closer and closer to that 3,000 unique card mark this month! The goal is in sight and my eye is on the prize! It seems like the closer the Hall of Fame voting comes around, the more and more Rolen cards I'm able to uncover! Not only that, Topps is making more Rolen cards and including him in more of their checklists, so there are constantly new cards to chase! I've been able to add 19 more cards to the collection this month, and here they are:

2022 Topps Tier One - Prime Performers Autographs Bronze Ink #PPA-SR, SN25. This has to be one of the nicest copies of this card in existence! These typically have ink that looks like the marker was running out of ink, but this copy has a nice, bold bronze signature on-card. I really like the way the ink pops off of the black background they provided for Scott to sign on this one. And Tier One cards are always, well, Tier One! I'd love to be able to add a nice bold silver ink version to the collection soon. Maybe even land the gold ink 1/1 if it ever surfaces.

1998 Panini Venezuelan Stickers #303 AW. These cards are down right impossible to find. Scott was featured in this checklist three times on three separate cards and this was the final one I needed to complete the run. I added one to the collection several months ago, and another one just last month. I was able to get this one from the same seller as the last one I picked up. Not a whole lot is known about these cards, but what I do know is that they don't come up for sale very often. I'm guessing they are pretty rare though because they are said to have only been released in Venezuela. Not only that, but they are incredibly thin stickers that were meant to be peeled from their backing and placed into a collector's book. I'm definitely glad to finally have this one in my collection!

1998 Metal Universe - All-Galactic Team #18. This is one of those cards that just flat out looks better in-hand than it'll ever look in a scan or even a photo. I was able to finally get this one into the collection by way of the Moler collection. These All-Galactic Team cards were inserted at a rate of 1:192 packs, so they weren't very easy pulls back in 1998. Obviously they weren't as tough to pull as the PMGs, but they don't come up for sale very often. I personally think they could have used a better photo of Rolen on the front of this one, but it does kind of go well with the space themed background.

1998 Ultra - Platinum Medallion #219 SC, SN100. These cards just have a timeless beauty to them. The Platinum Medallion cards are tough to come by, but, in my opinion, are a staple to any player collection. There were only 10 players featured in the Season Crown subset - with Rolen being included for winning the 1997 NL ROY award. I really like the baseballs in the background and the photo that Fleer decided to use of Rolen on the front of this one with him launching a missile over to first base for the sure out. The bit of shiny foil used on the front for his name is a nice touch and looks awesome in person. Oh yeah, and these are limited, and serial numbered to 100 copies. And we all know what that means for a card issued in 1998!

2022 Topps Clearly Authentic - 1987 Topps Baseball Autographs #87TBA-SR. I want to like these. I really do. It's a cool concept, but I think it's lacking in overall execution. Anything paying homage to the classic 1987 wood grain design is a welcomed addition to my collection. But I think Topps fell just short on these. The autograph, while it has a spot on the front of these cards, just doesn't pop. It's so faint that you almost miss it altogether. I think if they would have gone with a bolder marker choice, they would have crushed this set. So lets quickly recap: Scott Rolen - check, acetate - check, wood grain border - check, autograph - fail. I do like the fact that Topps is keeping with the on-card autographs, so I'll give them a thumbs up for that.

2022 Topps Clearly Authentic - 1987 Topps Baseball Autographs Blue #87TBA-SR, SN25. Since I grabbed the base, I had to go ahead and pick up this Blue parallel. There are multiple other color parallels in this set, but I was able to quickly add this one at a great price. The parallels offer the same on-card autograph as the base version, but instead of the blue ink, they feature red ink. Again, I question whoever it was at Topps who was in charge of such decisions. The red ink isn't the easiest to see on these cards. But I'm definitely happy to add this one to the collection as quickly as I did for the price I paid!

2010 Topps - Copper #481, SN399. These Copper parallel cards were exclusive to Series 2 cards back in 2010 and they were only available via "Value Boxes" sold exclusively at Walmart. The Value Boxes came with six packs of Series 2 Topps and one pack of 2010 Allen & Ginter. The Copper cards were inserted at a rate of 1:10 packs, so you weren't guaranteed a Copper in every Value Box. They are limited, and serial numbered to just 399 copies and because of the way they were distributed, you just don't see them surface very often.

2001 Fleer Genuine - Material Issue #NNO. There are certain cards that I have just found myself drawn to for some reason - and this is one of them. This is my 5th copy of this card and each one of them have a different piece of patch featured on the front. I still have not obtained a copy with just a plain piece of jersey despite the fact that I know they exist. These cards were made during a time in the hobby that manufacturers hadn't quite capitalized on the "prime" piece of game used memorabilia yet. I will continue adding cards like this to my collection because each one of them is unique because of the patches used to create them. However, I do not count each one of them separately when taking into account how many total unique cards I have in the collection.

1999 Pacific Crown Collection - Team Checklists #22. These Team Checklist cards were considered an insert back in 1999. They fell at a rate of 1:37 packs and since there were 30 teams featured, you could potentially open over 1,100 packs before seeing this card pulled. That's probably why I haven't added it to my collection until now; they just don't show up very often. Not to mention the fact that there isn't anything overly flashy about them. The Pacific logo, the lines across the front, and the team logo are a nice shiny holofoil. But other than that, these could be pretty forgettable cards.

2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Autographs - Platinum Wave 70th Anniversary Mini-Diamond Refractors #PA-SR, SN70. The name of this card is a mouthful! I was happy when this card surfaced for sale at an incredibly reasonable price. The others I've seen sell went for ridiculous amounts of money for an autographed Scott Rolen card numbered to 70. These cards are absolutely gorgeous in hand with the 70th Anniversary logo sort of subdued in the Wave Mini-Diamond pattern. I'm still several away from completing the rainbow for these autographed versions of the card. But slow progress is still progress!

2022 Topps Clearly Authentic - 1987 Topps Baseball Autographs Red #87TBA-SR, SN50. I grabbed the base and the Blue version of this and quickly added the Red when I saw it come up for sale. I think the market for signed Rolen cards is saturated right now with all of his new release stuff being signed. So I was able to add this card for a very reasonable price. It would have been nice to see Topps be more consistent with their numbering; as Red parallels are typically numbered to five copies. But they reserved that for the Orange parallel of this card.

2022 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition - 2010 Bowman #42, SN42. The vast majority of Rolen cards issued in Archives this year were stamped "1/1". This is just one of a few that I've been able to track down that has more than one copy packed out. This is easily and quickly becoming one of my least favorite sets that Topps puts out annually. That said, I'll continue to add them to my collection as they come to market at a reasonable price because of one thing - on-card autographs. That and the one touch magnetics they come in are worth at least a couple bucks each.

2002 Bowman Chrome - Gold Refractors #96, SN50. This recent addition was not a new one to the collection, but it was a condition upgrade. The early Bowman Gold Refractors are far superior to the newer ones in just about every way. While they are similarly serial numbered to just 50 copies, the eye appeal on these is off the charts with that shiny gold surface on the front. Really, the only thing I would have liked to see on these that isn't present is a refractor finish on the backs of the cards like they did with chrome cards of the 90s.

2004 Bowman Chrome - Gold Refractors #11, SN50. Yes, another Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor was added this month. Thanks once again goes to Mr. Moler for relinquishing these from his collection so that I could add them to mine! The run of Bowman Chrome Gold Refractors from 2001 through 2004 will likely never be topped. They are all simply stunning to look at. So much so, that even in scans they look remarkable. The newer Gold Refractors will never hold a candle to these "first gen" Gold Refractors in my opinion. Not unless someone at Topps will actually care enough to speak up for us collectors.

2022 Topps Clearly Authentic - 1987 Topps Baseball Autographs Green #87TBA-SR, SN99. I've shown you the base, Blue, and Red versions of this, so why not go ahead and pick up the Green, right? With parallels released like this, I like to strike while the iron is hot. But not too hot. If you wait a week or so after release, the prices on these generally fall quite a bit. And on a card numbered out of 99, I didn't see any reason to jump on this on release day. I'm glad I waited too, because for less than the cost of lunch, I was able to add this one to the collection! These cards really are the opposite of the shiny goodness that the 90s offered us. These cards look better in scans than they do in-hand. Mostly because of the see-through nature of the acetate cards with the on-card autographs. You almost need something behind the card to fully appreciate the autos.

2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary - Gold/Rose Gold 70th Anniversary Wave Refractors #545, SN50. It has been awhile since I've been able to add to the non-autographed version of this rainbow. I got a pretty good jump on these back in July, but I was only able to add one last month. They're coming up for sale less often and when they do show up, sellers are still expecting a huge premium for them. I'm not sure if that is just me trying to be a cheapskate, or if the hobby really is moving in this upward trajectory with regards to Scott Rolen cards. Either way, I'm certainly happy to add this beautiful card to the collection!

2002 Upper Deck MVP - Game Souvenirs Bat Jersey Combos #CSR. There isn't really anything overly exciting about this card. It was one of the tougher pulls from the release though, falling at a rate of 1:144 packs with 28 total players in the checklist. But, it was a relatively inexpensive product. Coming in around $1.50 per pack you couldn't really expect a whole lot. I kind of wish Upper Deck would have at least used a color photo for these, as the black and white image they used just looks really flat. Especially since the only color on this outside of the black and white is the small little chip of bat they used.

2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary - Orange/Yellow 70th Anniversary Refractors #545, SN25. Yes! Another one of these gorgeous cards has landed in my collection this month! This marks my 13th card for this rainbow which means I only need four more for the complete rainbow. Of course I don't include any card numbered 5 or less in my checklist, so if I can find two of the ones I'm missing, I will consider this rainbow complete enough. That is, unless I can score the 1/1 and one of the x/5 for a good price!

2022 Topps Tier One - Autographed Prodigious Patches #PPA-SR, SN10. Just look at this beautiful card! I missed out on a couple copies of this that had previously surfaced so when I saw this one come up for sale, I pounced on it! Rolen isn't featured in a Blue Jays uniform much since his playing days in Toronto were limited. Many casual collectors may not even know that Rolen played north of the border from 2008 until he was traded to the Reds in 2009. This card features a generously sized swatch of game used patch as well as a solid on-card autograph! My only nit-pick with this, like a lot of memorabilia cards, I wish Topps could have found a picture of him wearing a black Blue Jays jersey since the piece of jersey is clearly from a black one. Other than that though, Topps really knocked it out of the park with these Tier One cards. And I really hope they continue producing these nice patch autos of Rolen. Perhaps some of him in a Cardinals jersey? That would be awesome!

Overall, I would say that September has been a really good month with acquisitions. I'm quite pleased with the variety of cards that continue to surface on the secondary market. Everything from the brand new release stuff all the way back to Rolen's early playing days. I've got some really big news coming up, but I'll save that for another post. Check back soon to see what I've been working on!


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