Plusses and Minuses of 2012 Contenders

I have already posted prior that I very much think this year’s Contenders is drastically improved over 2011′s offering. I have also said that there are a number of drawbacks that have been problematic in the overall release of the product. Now that we are getting a more complete picture, I think its a good idea to break down my opinion on these things.

RPS Ticket Design – PLUS

I love the 1998 ticket design, and this design is practically identical. Last year’s was absolutely a visual train wreck, where these look a lot nicer in every way, shape, and form. There was a shift in where the player was going to be pictured, which made the design a little less nice, but it is still one of the better designs I have seen in a while.

2012 Contenders Robert Griffin III Auto Ticket

2012 Contenders Doug Martin Auto Ticket

Big Ticket Pulls – PLUS

Even though there is a greater chance of losing money than ever on Contenders, there are a lot of parallels to give people a big pay day when they hit a big name. This includes cracked ice autos /20, playoff ticket autos /99, and of course the championship ticket out of 1. There are also golden tickets for the third straight year, so those should be starting to pop up soon.

2012 Contenders Andrew Luck Rookie Playoff Ticket Auto /99

2012 Contenders Alfred Morris Auto Ticket /20

2012 Contenders Quad Auto – Manning, Rodgers, Brees, Roethlisberger

RPS Stickers – MINUS

For some reason, Panini is using sticker autos for players at the photo shoot for the first time since 2009. This is a huge drawback, even though a lot of the guys arent really THAT special. I think it is a much more likely situation that the cards wouldnt have gotten completed, so rather than adding to the massive amounts of redemptions, they decided to go with stickers. Im not sure I agree with the decision.

2012 Contenders Joe Adams Auto Ticket

2012 Contenders Ronnie Hillman Auto Ticket

Box Breaks with 1 on card auto – MINUS

I broke three boxes of Contenders today, and only pulled one live on card auto – IN THREE FREAKING BOXES. There were two per box over the last few years, and I wish this were the case again. Even though there are now 6 autos per box, many of them will end up being junk. Considering the price tag can range from 140 per box to 160, that is a big drawback. I didnt do horrible on my boxes, with my best pulls being Cousins, Kuechly and Richardson. However, it should have been a lot better. I got 2 redemptions for Toon and Stephen Hill, which sucks, as I dont even know if they will be stickers or on card.

Design of Non Photo Shoot Rookies – HORRENDOUS MINUS

Man, these cards are a complete wreck, if not only because Panini just slapped the white box at the bottom of the card, instead of extending out the player. It looks like the players’ legs are amputated.

2012 Contenders Kirk Cousins Auto Ticket

2012 Contenders Matt Kalil Auto Ticket

Design of Inserts and Insert Autos – PLUS

I really like a lot of the die cut inserts and insert autos that are available in the product, even though all of them are sticker autos. The photography in the rookie stallions set is tremendous, and I think that Panini really stepped up their game this year. Hopefully as we see more of what is actually going to be the norm, they will go back to this well.

2012 Contenders Robert Griffin III Rookie Stallions

2012 Contenders Peyton Manning MVP Contenders Die Cut

Redemptions on top of Redemptions – MINUS

Its not even possible to put into words how many redemptions are in this product. Considering it was delayed a couple of months as it is, there should not have been this much of a problem. Panini has a horrible track record for the last few sets, and Contenders looks to be the worst. So far, the biggest name redemption on the list is Russell Wilson, but there are plenty of others too.

2012 Contenders Russell Wilson Auto Ticket Redemption

Ridiculous amounts of variations – Jury Out

Every ticket has a variation, and they are photo variations instead of just stupid airbrushing like last year. The issue is that this will create a huge over saturation of autos for each player. There is no saying if there will even be SPs this year because of the situation that every ticket auto seems to have a variation.

2012 Contenders Vick Ballard Photo Variation Ticket Auto

Overall, Contenders has a long way to go, but it is definitely getting better. That is always welcome in my book.

4 thoughts on “Plusses and Minuses of 2012 Contenders

  1. Just wait until all the gimmicky short print versions come to light…

    Ooooh this one is missing foil on the vowels in his name

    this one has no glove on his left hand

    that one has the team logo on backwards///

    6 autos per box is interesting why dont they publicize it during order solicitation…

  2. Attack of the white boxes! Panini can’t help themselves. Do they take pride in their work? They can’t release a product without at least one glaring issue that screams “profit over quality”.

    I despise stickers autographs and will never have one in my collection. But, even if you are determined to use them, why not figure out how to make a card look good while incorporating a sticker. A white box is a copout.

  3. Feedback from customers in my store has been very favorable. People who bust boxes love it. The variations add to the demand on the secondary market. Although everything has room for improvement, everyone loves the design. Much better than last year and maybe the best ever for Contenders.

    Singles buyers love 2012 Contenders but all the variations are confusing. Their questions are: “Which is the Best one? Which is the most rare? If I am buying just one Andrew Luck, which one should I buy?” I hope we get information for Panini soon.

    I have a couple of Contenders Master Set collectors. Both are not sure they will try to collect a Master Set. May be too expensive to complete. They tend to wait and see on the expensive rookies. They may just buy one card of each player, especially if none of the variations are an SP.

    However, player or team collectors like variations, especially if they are not expensive. Big Time Andrew Luck collectors will buy one of each variation, just like they buy parallels. It will be interesting to see results on eBay over the next few weeks.

  4. Pingback: Around the Carding Blogosphere for February 8, 2013 : The Baseball Card Store | Hairline Crease

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