Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen, who became the hobby’s most widely known personality as a brash, cash-wielding dealer in the 1980s, died Thursday morning. Believed to be in his early 70s, he had been battling illness for several years.
Rosen sold copy machines and antiques until 1982 when a visit to a card show spurred him to focus exclusively on baseball cards. Within a few years, he was taking out large, full-page ads in hobby publications, many of which showed him flashing large wads of cash in a briefcase or in photos with people who had sold him large collections.
His aggressive style led to publicity—for himself and for the hobby as a whole. He appeared on network TV morning shows and a 1988 Sports Illustrated feature story catapulted his recognition among sports fans.
Rosen’s visibility led some major finds in the 1980s and 90s. Among them was a stash of 500 unopened 1950s baseball card boxes in rural Tennessee and approximately 6,000 uncirculated 1952 Topps high numbers in a buy that included 65 Mickey Mantle cards, most of which still among the finest cards from the iconic issue.
A telephone call from a seller with a potentially valuable collection often led to a quick flight from his New Jersey home where he tried to close the deal before his competitors could respond with an offer. He often chronicled those events in his weekly ads.
As telephone auctions began to become a major platform, Rosen conducted those as well.
“I’m loud, I’m a braggart and I’m brash,” he told the LA Times, which chronicled one of those sales in a 1990 feature story. “But I’m the best. Last year I did $5.8 million in business, declared $740,000 in income and paid $180,000 in taxes.”
Rosen was a fixture at major hobby shows across the country for parts of four decades, where he bought and often quickly sold cards from purchases he would make at his booth. He typically carried copies of the two baseball card books he had authored at the height of his fame.
You can discuss his life on our Facebook page.