Review: 2012 Panini Contenders Football

Panini Contenders is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this season, which means you can find some special surprises in this year’s rendition of the product. As always, you can find your top rookie autographs of the season along with some of the most popular short printed cards in any product or in any sport. Contenders continues to make their mark on the hobby this season with one of the best rookie classes in quite some time. Want to see what you can pull from a box? Check this out.

Design:4 stars blue

Unlike many others out there, I’m not huge on the design. It does pay homage to the past of the product which is cool, but I’m not big on one thing. Vertical signatures. When you have a trading card oriented a certain direction, and then put on an autograph in the other direction, it sort of throws off the card. Luckily, some players didn’t heed the warnings and signed the cards “correctly” so it makes it look better. But the white spot on the right with the players name really faded into the background looks off. But you know what it makes me think of? How cool an acetate based Contenders product would be with that kind of design. Sort of reminds me of the old school Fleer E-X design if they did that. I can’t see Contenders breaking tradition to do it, but I think it would be cool to explore.

Checklist:4 and half stars blue

Contenders always has, and always will be a rookie centric product. With that in mind, you have one of the best NFL draft classes in a long time when it comes to skill players, especially quarterbacks. That makes this season even better when it comes to the rookie checklists. Of course you will find your no name rookies in the product, but one of the best parts about Contenders is that some of those rookies are VERY short printed and will get high secondary prices just because of that. Lower tier names aren’t worth as much, but short print them in a set that people always want to collect the entire set of, and you’ll have some positive pulls even if it’s just a DE.

Value:4 and half stars blue

Contenders holds its value better than any other product out there by Panini. If you don’t like Panini products, it is still the one product you want to buy year after year. I’ve seen even the biggest Panini haters get boxes of this product, so you don’t have to just quote me on that. There is proof. It is one of the most highly collected products of the season and at 5-6 autographs per box at $143 at DA Card World, it is a winner. The additions of the Cracked Ice anniversary parallels? Awesome. Adding that to the great rookie class and this is a product that will continue to sell well until supplies have disappeared.

Overall:4 and half stars blue

Overall, Contenders continues to be a winner for Panini year after year. The design this year is above average, but there are still little things that seem a little off to me. But no one buys this product for the design anyway (although I do love the ticket themes). They buy it for the rookies and this year has a ton of the rookies everyone loves this year. At the current price for a chance at some superb autographs that will hold their value, Contenders is one of the best.

Thanks to Panini for providing this box to review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

You can find the full checklist over on Cardboard Connection.

Want to watch our break video? Subscribe to us on YouTube.

Wanna see what we pulled right now in photo form? I’m having issues with uploading, but at least I got the hits up! Look below:

 

Preview: 2012 Panini Contenders Football

One of the more popular sets is back once again, Panini Contenders Football.

panini-america-2012-contenders-football-luck-main

Panini keeps it simple with Contenders Football, the cards that drive the market for this product is the rookie autograph cards which will be the highlight once again this year. Look for 100 different rookie autographs this year. There will also be autograph Playoff Ticket parallel’s that are numbered to 99 or less.

The Legendary Contenders autograph set will be returning as well, it features popular legends such as John Elway, Jerry Rice and others.

Another Autograph set that is sure to be a hit is the Rookie Ink cards. They are signed on-card and feature 30 of the top rookies from 2012.

panini-america-2012-contenders-football-rg-iii

Each box contains 24 packs with 5 cards per pack. In each box, it will contain 5 autograph cards, including at least 2 being on-card autographs!

You can find the product at DA Card World when it releases February 6, 2012.

You can also find the checklist on Cardboard Connection and more information on the official Panini America blog.

First Ever BGS Mail Day

If you remember a few weeks back I spoke about the benefits and negatives of grading your cards. Well I went ahead and graded a few of my cards for the first time and thought I would share the results.

My reason behind grading these cards were mainly for selling purposes. As you can see, a couple of hot rookie autographs graded 9+ will add a little bit of value to the card compared to selling it “raw”.

The other is for display purposes. Owning a card from 1909 is interesting. I tell people about it and they ask if it’s worth anything. Well, as you can see, a 1.5 for a grade isn’t going to help it any. However, it will make a great display piece and conversational piece for my collection. The labels that show the date and the name of the player add a nice dimension to the display and the card is forever protected in that condition inside the holder.

Grading cards definitely has it’s benefits in this situation.

Review: 2011-12 Panini Contenders Hockey

Contenders is back with a bang for it’s sophomore season. The previews of the product looked like a much needed upgrade to a product that crossed similar lines as its counterpart in football. Last season, I thought this product could contend with SP Authentic as the top product for rookie autographs. Little did I know, the product would include upgrades that made it almost identical to that product in terms of content.

2011-12 Panini Contenders hockey is now set up to be a winner in the hockey card arena. While Panini continues to establish it’s name amongst hockey collectors, this product is a great example of the things they can do to compete in that marketplace. All of these good things written and you haven’t seen the review yet…right. Let’s check that out.

Design:

Panini said they were going to work on their designs and they are truly doing that. I’ll start with the negative on why I wouldn’t give this 5 stars. The white boxes for the rookie autographs are a bit out of place. It’s not as bad as other products, but it could still be a little better. And also, what happened to the ticket design? I love the ticket design…is that going to remain football only while Panini carves out the landscape? But all of that doesn’t matter when you see how clean these cards look. They’re just pretty to look at. Like that really cute girl you might see walking around. Not that really hot one you have no chance with, but the really cute one you might buy a couple drinks for at the bar. Comparing cards to girls…I should start doing that more often.

Checklist:

Contenders is known for the rookie autographs.  Obviously, there are a ton of rookie autographs in this product. So you’ll be able to find a ton of great rookie autographs from all around the league. The one issue that I’ve seen the most complaints about is the checklist for NHL Ink. There are a lot of no name type players on that checklist people are having a hard time swallowing. As for me, I like the addition of players who aren’t rookies and the veterans in the patch autograph realm which is usually reserved for rookies. At least the non-rookies you know can play in the league and probably won’t wash out. It really just depends what you collect and what you expect in a product like this.

Value:

From what I’ve seen, for $100 this is very hit or miss. Again, kind of like SP Authentic which is a natural comparison. The rookie class is kind of a weak one, so it makes it hard to want to spend this type of cash on a product that has very little to perk you up. Another reason Panini did a good job adding what it added this year. The rookie class is providing lower than usual value, so add in some great chase cards. I was lucky, however, and pulled a redemption for a card that’s worth about the same amount as the box. You may hit a really nice patch autograph, a sweet veteran autograph, or something nice and low numbered. Again, it’s just hit or miss. I have to also mention the less inserts this year, which I kind of miss as well. I miss the acetate cards and the Leather Larceny from last year. But the inserts this year kind of fall well in line with the rest of the theme, so I can’t complain too much. Plus less inserts is sometimes better.

Overall:

Overall, this is still a fantastic second year product from Panini. The design is very pleasing to the eye and very clean all around. When people say you have a clean looking card, you know you did a very good job according to their eye. The checklist has all the rookies you could want, but leaves a little bit to be desired as far as the non-rookie autographs go. Colin Greening was my non-rookie hit…not a terrible player at all but others haven’t been so fortunate. But my real value came with my redemption card. With the rookie class being weak, Panini did a solid job adding value to what seemed like something you may not get much out of. Patch autographs in the product really add to the value, but I wasn’t lucky enough to pull one of those beautiful cards. It’ll be hit or miss mostly because of the rookies this year, but that’s not Panini’s fault.

I’d like to thank Panini America for providing this box for review. You can find them on their official site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and everywhere else online. Let them know what you think of this product.

Not shown: Redemption for NHL Ink Dual Autograph Gabriel Landeskog/Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Has Contenders Matched SP Authentic For Best Hockey Rookies?

While I am still working on my review for 2011-12 Panini Contenders hockey, one thing was made abundantly clear during the preview of this product. Panini is in it for the long haul in hockey and are doing everything they can to woo collectors.

Upper Deck’s SP Authentic brand has long been known as some of the best rookie autographs and rookie autograph patches of the season, besides their The Cup cards. Collectors have loved them and haven’t strayed from anything Panini put out last season.

Last season, Panini debuted Contenders hockey. One of my remarks about the product was that it could possibly match Upper Deck’s SP Authentic…eventually. Well collectors weren’t too keen on the product last year with some of the issues in collation and without patch autographs. But Panini listened and has totally upgraded this product. Again, my review isn’t out yet, but even from just looking at the preview you can see the changes Panini made to better compete with the opposition.

With NHL Ink being similar to Sign of the Times, Calder Contenders being similar to Future Watch, and the Calder Contenders rookie patch autographs being similar to Upper Deck’s rookie patch autographs, do we have a new fight for supremacy on our hands for hockey collectors?

Check out my review of 2011-12 Panini Contenders tomorrow to see what Panini has in store this year.