Yea or Nay? 2015 Contenders Football Jarryd Hayne rookie card gets “No Autograph” stamp


2015 Panini Contenders Jarryd Hayne

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

If you pull a 2015 Panini Contenders Jarryd Hayne (they’re short-printed, so they’re tough), you’ll immediately notice something curious about it. Unlike all the other Rookie Ticket Autographs, there’s no signature to be found. In its place? A foil stamp stating, “No Autograph.”

The lack of signature makes that obvious, but for Panini, it’s intended to be a throwback to past Contenders cards where autographs were, ultimately, not available. But this was only after autographs were thought possible and included in packs as redemptions.

Hayne, an Australian rugby star, joined the San Francisco 49ers this season. According to their blog, The Knight’s Lance, Panini tried to get Hayne to sign autographs but were unable to. Rather than leaving him out of the product entirely, the card maker opted to still produce a card, albeit with the “No Autograph” notation.

Panini notes that the 2015 Panini Contenders¬†Jarryd Hayne is an “SSP” meaning that few copies exist. And while it’s numbered within the Rookie Ticket Autographs subset, it does not count as an autograph among the promised hobby box hits.

The blog post also points out that they didn’t want to leave a hole in the checklist, although there are still a few gaps.

This is not the first time the “No Autograph” stamp has been used, but the circumstances are different. In the past, similar cards have been sent to collectors in place of redemptions where the athletes didn’t end up signing. A replacement autograph was also included. These go all the way back to the Donruss/Playoff days before Panini acquired the company.

The thing here is that while previous “No Autograph” cards did fill in gaps in checklists, to many collectors, the stamp on these cards is likely a reminder of a long wait that ended up in something they weren’t expecting. If they were disappointed, they’re probably not going to connect with the intended nostalgia.

2007 Playoff Contenders Ahmad Bradshaw No Auto

Hayne marks the first time a “No Autograph” card has been included in packs. While it’s not likely to cause any ill will in the sense that collectors were expecting a signed card, it begs the question whether the stamp was necessary if there wasn’t a signature to start with.

Year after year, Contenders Football delivers one of the deepest checklists when it comes to rookie autographs. Releasing at the end of the season, it let Panini go back and get autographs from breakout players who weren’t projected to do much at the start of the season. That’s a huge part of the brand’s identity.

Short prints and variations are also a big part of the brand now. There’s no argument that there’s a wide base of collectors who chase both singles and the set. This creates some surprising premiums for players you might not expect to simply because demand from set builders outpaces available supply.

This is what appears to be happening with the Hayne card. It’s the first that Panini has confirmed as an SSP. A handful have been listed on eBay already but no base versions have sold. Of the three listed as auctions, bids range from $35 to $101. There’s also one sitting with a $799.95 asking price.

In future instances like these, perhaps there’s room to play into Contenders’ history even more. If it’s deemed that a player is unlikely to sign, maybe start with a plain unsigned base card. Then the variation could be a similar card with the “No Autograph” stamp. This plays into the brand’s heritage in a couple of different ways while giving collectors a choice in the version they want.

So what do you think of the 2015 Panini Contenders Football Jarryd Hayne “No Autograph”?


Feel free to add your own comments below or connect with us on Twitter.

Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter @tradercracks.


Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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  1. Charley DiPietro 7 January, 2016 at 16:21

    Another solid Panini release with this year’s Contenders. The customers in my store can’t get enough of it. The “no autograph” card is a throwback to previous years. As usual, GREAT work by Panini.

  2. Luke higgins 7 January, 2016 at 23:31

    This is an awesome idea! Think about it, if nothing else people are talking about the product more. This is great for marketing, and in a way sends a message I am sure this young man will see and hear. Not that he did anything wrong, 100% his choice to sign an autograph, but do you want, or are you worth the publicity and distraction to keep on the roster.

  3. David Johnson 8 January, 2016 at 16:06

    The reason to use the stamp is if the back of the card has wording that certifies the authenticity of an autograph (which wouldn’t exist as noted by the stamp). Not sure if that’s the case for these cards though.

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