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With the recent $12.6 million sale of the record-setting SGC 9.5 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card, Alan “Mr.Mint” Rosen's name was back at the forefront of the hobby again.

The card was part of his 1985 Massachusetts find of many beautiful, well-conditioned 1952 Topps Baseball cards. There were a reported 42 Mantles in the lot and the aforementioned card was the finest example proclaimed by Rosen himself.

Rosen was what we would call a “serial entrepreneur.” He started with jewelry, but his businesses included stints with apparel, insurance and antiques. But it was a trip to a card show that led him to give up his copy machine business and enter the hobby as a full-time dealer.

The hobby needed a front man and Rosen knew he could fill that void. He was braggadocious and backed it up with full-page ads flashing wads of cash, including in this publication. 

Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen was a fixture at sports collectibles shows across the country buying memorabilia with $100 bills.

Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen was a fixture at sports collectibles shows across the country buying memorabilia with $100 bills. 

Newman: My hobby journey and people who inspired me 

That cash was no prop or funny money. He was willing to buy and he was willing to travel. In a time when many dealers had 9-to-5 jobs, this was Rosen's job and he had the time and means to make deals happen. He claimed to have purchased and sold examples of the iconic T206 Honus Wagner card on nine separate occasions, an impressive stat when you realize only around 50 copies are known to exist.

He was on “Good Morning America,“ featured in “Sports Illustrated“ and “Sport” magazines. He was even featured as a caricature of a Beanie Baby, and he loved every minute of it. He made an estimated $200 million during his hobby career with his best earning year netting him a reported $8-$9 million.

During the Beanie Baby craze, Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen created a beanie of himself to be used as a promotional item.

During the Beanie Baby craze, Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen created a beanie of himself to be used as a promotional item.

Also See: Meet the man who sold the record Rosen Mantle card 

He would go on to write two books — “Mr. Mint's Insider's Guide to Investing in Baseball Cards and Collectibles” and “True Mint: Mr. Mint's Price and Investment Guide to True Mint Baseball Cards.”

Some may not have enjoyed his self-promotion and crowning himself “King of the Hobby,” but as a reader of both of those books, many of his mantras ring true even in today's hobby.

Hutzpah only goes so far. So, what truly made Rosen “Mr. Mint?”

First, he was willing to spend money others couldn't or wouldn't. He used cash as visual motivation to get a deal done. As he said, "cash is king." He would travel all over the country, right to someone's office or living room to close a deal. No one else was doing that as most deals were done at shows or in close proximity to where the two parties lived. It’s hard to say no when a guy shows up with a briefcase of cash you can literally smell.

Rosen had his mantras, and while they were just words, he believed in them and lived them. One that immediately comes to mind was, “Don't get attached to the cards.” Many who knew him will tell you, while he enjoyed sports cards, he LOVED the adrenaline of the deal itself and simply viewed the cards as a means to an end. They were just dollar signs to him.

To many in the hobby that was sacrilegious, but Rosen would sternly tell you he could care less what others thought about him. He was on a mission to make deals and make money. It was that tunnel vision and drive that netted him $200 million in two and a half decades.

I mentioned earlier him acquiring and selling T206 Wagners nine times. He'd brag that he never owned the card for longer than half a day at most.

Being from New York City, I'd see him at shows occasionally, but I only had one direct interaction with him. In 1985, as a 13-year old, I approached his table noticing he had a 1952 Topps Baseball pack on his table. I asked nervously, “How much is that?” He responded quickly and dismissively: “More than you have, kid.”

While he was indeed correct, it taught me a lesson as a future dealer (just two years later actually): I would never assume anything and treat everyone at my table with respect. I still do that today 37 years later.

John Newman is a collector, dealer and the host of the Sports Card Nation Podcast. Catch his Hobby Quick Hits on Monday and his guest interviews on Friday on your favorite podcast plat­form. You can reach him at sportscard­nationpc@gmail.com or on Twitter at @ sportscardnati1

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