2012 Contenders Launch Day: First Impressions

February 6th, 2013

Today is the day our beloved “Contenders” brand celebrates its 20th birthday today. Fifteen years ago the brand revolutionized our hobby completely by introducing us to the original “Rookie Autograph Card.” Although most card shops won’t be receiving their shipments until later this afternoon, many people began busting boxes last night and immediately posted their hits on eBay. We don’t have too much information to go on, but here is what we know so far…

  • Confirmed Redemptions
      • Russell Wilson
      • Alshon Jeffrey
      • Bernard Pierce
      • T.Y. Hilton
      • Reuben Randle
      • Robert Turbin
      • Brandon Bolden
      • Nick Toon
      • Nick Foles
      • Bryce Brown
      • Dwayne Allen
      • Devier Posey
      • Daryl Richardson
      • Stephen Hill

2012 Contenders Football RedemptionsConfirmed Redemptions


  • Base Autograph Designs
      • There are two main designs: On-Card and Sticker
      • Apparently they changed the design from what was previewed (more on that below)
      • Sticker auto looks nice
      • On-card auto looks decent but the faded bottom portion detracts from iconic design
      • UPDATE: Cracked Ice autographs look pretty awesome

2012 Contenders Football Base Autos

  • Playoff Ticket Autograph Designs
      • Dark foil looks great
      • Sticker autographs look awesome with foil beneath them
      • Pen seems to work well on the foil board (unlike 2009 Contenders)
      • This is a great addition to the product and a nice throwback to earlier Contenders products

2012 Contenders Playoff Tickets Autographs


  • Changes to Original Autograph Designs
      1. The original design (left) did not “fade” the Rookie Ticket design to white
      2. Original design (left) had player centered on the card
      3. New design (right) moves player to the right so player does not have room to autograph

2012 Contenders Andrew Luck Comparison

Not sure why they changed the design. Seems like they tried to force players to sign on the bottom, but why do this if you already have a perfect design, well suited for a vertical autograph (see original design to the left)? Now Andrew Luck’s autograph is condensed. All of the other players I’ve seen have signed on the bottom, making some of them hard to see. This product is still beautiful and will be a contender (pun intended) for Product of the Year, but if they had maintained the original integrity of the design, as previewed, this would be the hands-down favorite. Still a lot more to see with this product as only a few packs have been busted thus far. Bookmark this page and keep checking back as we will be updating it all week.

Share This Article

3 Comments on “2012 Contenders Launch Day: First Impressions”

  1. Phillip Bradley Hughes

    I also don’t like how they chopped the feet and legs off in the actual cards. and the chopping off and addition of the white boxes for the sticker autos. the preview cards, imo, were perfect. all in all, tho, i still like contenders.

    remember back in the day there was always a SSP of the player in his college uniform? I miss those days!

  2. 2012 Contenders is a BIG HIT at Sports Cards Plus of San Antonio. Boxes have SIX AUTOs but only one on-card auto per box. Inserts look great. I’ve had customers come in two days in a row to get more.

  3. Yeah and unfortunately, ONCE AGAIN, I have to be out of town the week a hit product launches at Sports Cards Plus. Was so disappointed I had to be in Arizona the week SPA launched and everyone pulled RGIII autos :-( REALLY wanted to be able to visit this week for Contenders launch but had to be in Austin and Houston. Look forward to visiting sometime soon, Charlie!

Leave a Reply