Every year, Contenders is released, and for a few weeks there are people in the hobby who go into detective mode. Not because they are trying to crack any sort of code, but because they are trying to speculate which of the Contenders auto tickets are not showing up on eBay. They are either contenders auto set builders, or flippers, but they both want to get in before the prices get high. The speculation can result in a windfall of cash if the results are correct. If not, it could be hundreds of dollars down the drain. It is the only time in the hobby where a player with no production on the field, can be worth TONS off the field.
The reason this is so important, is that there can be a ridiculous price tag put on a full auto set with the SSPs:
Here are some examples from previous years – note the price tag:
Since the beginning of Panini’s blog, they have slow played the release of the SSP list to maximize hits on their site, but also to keep people buying and searching. Earlier this week, they released the first batch of numbers. Now that retail Contenders also has autos, it can drastically affect perceptions on the way the cards seem to be pulled. Therefore, I think the best idea is to hold off until retail starts hitting shelves. This way, we get the lowest print runs first.
Here are some of the prices for the already released SSPs:
The reason to wait for retail is simple – there are a lot of autos in retail, mostly lower tier guys, that dont show up until weeks after hobby. In 2010, Carlos Dunlap, a DL who plays for the Bengals, was being pulled at a drastically low rate. His auto tickets were selling for hundreds. Then retail hit, and all of a sudden, his auto was everywhere. The tickets dropped like a rock, which meant a lot of lost dough for the people that thought he was an SSP.
I really like the Contenders set this year, and from the looks of it, this year’s product might end up being one of the best it has ever been. Its hard not to get caught up in the hype, as its obvious that Contenders is one of the more anticipated sets of the year. The SSP program, now more likely contrived by Panini instead of forced by the athletes, has been embraced by most. That says something about how people view the long term value potential of player’s cards who will never end up being superstars on the field.
Here is the full list: