Saturday, January 28, 2017

RIP Alan Rosen aka 'Mr. Mint'

I learned the other day that Alan "Mr. Mint" Rosen died this week at the age of 70. Rosen was probably undeniably the most well known dealer/buyer/investor in the history of the hobby. He made a name for himself with huge ads in all the hobby publications. Pictures of him waving his wads of $100 bills were all over the place. He claimed to be the 'best known face' in the hobby and I have no doubt about that. 

Back in the halcyon days of this hobby you couldn't walk into a major show without seeing Rosen and his huge 'BUYING" signs front and center. His persona and 'shtick' rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way but there is no denying that he would be deserving of a spot on the hobby's Mt. Rushmore. If you have any doubts check out his website, in particular the "major finds" page.

I had one encounter with Rosen. Back in the mid 80's I was sitting on a stash of Cal Ripken rookies I'd picked up for probably a dime each. I used to buy 400 count boxes of Orioles 'commons' when the hobby was exploding with cards and companies. At the time I had no clue what my motivation was (and I still don't). But when Ripken rookie mania struck I was happy that I had done so. I had dozens of his Fleer and Donruss '82 rookies to say noting of the 50 card plastic 'cube' nearly filled with his true Topps rookie and many of the Update set 'rookie'.

About that time I had decided (with a wife, three little kids and a house note) to quit my company which provided services to the airlines and go back to school to get my teaching/coaching certificate. I was looking at three semesters of a reduced income and paying tuition costs. Those Ripkens looked like a way to make my transition back to being a college student again much less harrowing financially.

I took them to a big card show at the AstroArena next to the Dome one Friday and went straight to Rosen's table. He went through the cards and made me an offer. I can't remember what he quoted me but both he and the offer made me dizzy. I told him I'd think it over. I went back the next day and talked to the show promoter who was a dealer I knew well. He sent me to another table and I ended up selling most of the Ripkens to that second dealer. I can't remember exactly what I got in that deal but it was over three grand. I remember calling my wife and she told me to take the money straight to the bank before I lost it. LOL I really think she was afraid I'd spend it on other cards.

I found the following story online some time back and had been saving it for a future post. Now's the time. I've never heard of the movie mentioned but I may have to check to see if it's available on Netflix. The details pretty much sum up Rosen and his outrageous style.

New film has hobby's 'Mr. Mint' steaming mad 

July 09, 2008
Baseball card collecting is one of the dominant themes in the new motion picture, "Diminished Capacity," but not everyone associated with the hobby is thrilled by how card dealers are portrayed in the film.
In the movie, a Chicago journalist suffering from memory loss (played by Matthew Broderick) takes leave from his job and returns to his rural hometown, where he bonds with his Alzheimer's-impaired uncle Rollie (played by Alan Alda) and his old flame (Virginia Madsen). The trio heads to a card show in the city, where Rollie hopes to sell a rare baseball card that has gained the attention of some collectors intent on scheming the old man out of a potential fortune.
The notion of dealers trying to pay as little as possible for valuable cards has been used before in the movies (as in the 1999 film "Blast From The Past"), but in this film, the primary no-good dealer character goes by the name "The Mint-Mint Man," a parody of well-known vintage card dealer Alan "Mr Mint" Rosen. The Mint-Mint Man's show display features a photo of him fanning out a wad of cash, similar to images Rosen has used for years to promote himself at shows.
Director Terry Kinney told the New York Daily News that The Mint-Mint Man's sign and nickname were inspired by a research trip to a card show, where he saw Rosen's "Mr. Mint" booth and his trademark wads-of-dough portrait. Rosen told the Daily News that he wasn't happy with the suggestion that he operates in the same way as the character in the movie.
"They ripped off my persona, my character," Rosen told the paper. "I have a corny act, like a pro wrestling character, that I spent many years and millions of dollars establishing, and they stole it from me." Rosen said he contacted an attorney to see if there was a legal avenue to pursue, but his attorneys told him he didn't have a case. "They portray the character as dishonest and that bothers me," Rosen says. "I am 100 percent honest. I don't take advantage of old men like the guy in the movie. I'm a huckster, but I'm also an honest guy."
EDIT: Here is the IMDB page for Diminished Capacity. Looks to be available thru Amazon Video for those so inclined.

And here's a pic of "the Mint-Mint Man' character played by Bobby Cannevale. It comes from another story I found about the movie on SCD's website.


All you really need to know and Alan Rosen is that he had his own bobblehead and beanie baby!