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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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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: