Over the last few years, Panini has put rookie variations into Contenders as a way add content to the product. In 2008 and 2009, prior to losing the ability to use NCAA uniforms, there were college uniform variations. Since 2010, there have been photo variations for many of the photo shoot rookies. This year, there are variations for just about every single rookie ticket – some of which are ridiculously short printed.
Here are the most expensive ones so far:
Considering that these cards are not part of the normal base set, from traditional definitions, Im surprised they are going for this much. I guess there are enough master set collectors out there that want to get them early before they disappear.
Retail Contenders is coming to shelves over the next few weeks, and it should present the opportunity to get some of these variations as well as some tickets that were once believed to be SSP. Since Panini has released the information of print runs on their website, we are starting to see that the variations of lower tier are likely going to be the most rare pulls of the set.
The most short printed card in the base set is Michael Brockers, who only has 38 copies. So far, NONE of the Brockers base tickets have shown up. The Championship ticket has been pulled and is currently listed as an auction. Crazy thing is that it wont sell for but a fraction of what the base ticket goes for.
There have been a few parallels that collectors are scooping up with the expectation that the base ones will be too expensive to get, or that these parallels are actually the SPs that Panini is talking about. Retail might be the answer, and I can only imagine what is going to happen if/when the first base Brockers ticket is ever posted. Dont’a Hightower, one of the other SSPs with 47 copies, is already selling for hundreds, and I am wondering how long it will take before we get another Aaron Kelly from 2009 on our hands.
Contenders rookie ticket autos of guys like Justin Tucker and Blair Walsh have yet to show up – despite having 275 copies, which signals that they should be everywhere in these retail packs that will be available soon. The question is, will enough people open retail Contenders to get the cards? They might actually end up being pretty rare, if not only because its tougher to gauge how successful the retail program for Contenders will be.
Be very careful in buying these cards to complete your sets, as it is likely you will fight with a bunch of collectors who are looking to be the first to complete their own set.
UPDATE: The first Blair Walsh and other retail exclusive tickets have been posted with RIDICULOUS price tags: