After a short break as last year wound to a close, the hobby will see the arrival of a few new products this Wednesday, including two from Panini. 2015 Contenders NFL will arrive on the same day as the company’s latest NBA trading card product, 2015-16 Totally Certified NBA. A complete checklist for Contenders is available for download below.
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. That’s the philosophy Panini has apparently adopted for Contenders Football. It’s one of the most popular annual NFL trading card releases and this season’s version marks its 23rd year on the market. Last spring Panini debuted a Draft Picks version of Contenders.
Autographs — rookie autographs — are what drive Contenders NFL.
A hobby box will have 24 packs, with five cards to a pack. More importantly for autograph hounds, there will be five auto cards per hobby box, and Panini is promising that at least two of those will be on-card signatures from players who attended the 2015 NFLPA Rookie Premiere.
Panini released a Draft Picks version of Contenders last spring after winning the battle for collegiate licensing.
As usual, the most anticipated cards in the set will likely be the Autographed Rookie Tickets. Parallels in the set will include Playoff, Cracked Ice and Super Bowl tickets, plus 1/1 printing plates. The vertical design of the Autographed Rookie Tickets is a plus. In the 17 years that Rookie Tickets have appeared, vertical designs have been used 13 times. The exceptions have been 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2011, when horizontal layouts were prevalent.
Another autograph version will be a college variation, in which the rookie will be displayed in his college uniform.
Round Numbers Dual Autographs will be numbered to 25 or less. These cards will feature a pair of autographs from players selected in the 2015 NFL draft. Silver Tickets numbered to 2 along with 1/1 Gold Tickets will feature top NFL legends, veterans and rookies.
MVP Contenders Autographs will feature 10 of the NFL’s best veterans, with these cards numbered to 25 or less. Legendary Contenders Autographs also will be numbered to 25 or less, but will feature retired NFL players.
Another insert that will deliver first-year signature cards is Rookie Ink. As the name implies, it will feature autos of this year’s top rookies. Gold parallels will be numbered to 25, and the Holo Gold parallel will be a 1/1 card.
With several rookies generating attention this NFL season, 2015 Panini Contenders Football aims to offer enough of an autograph lure to attract those collectors who enjoy rookies, autographs — or both.
Boxes are generally priced $125-135 online and you can see them here.