2018 Panini Contenders Football Variations: The Easy Way to Spot Them


For the past couple of years, base Rookie Ticket Autographs and variations have been numbered separately. The 2018 Panini Contenders Football variations, at least the on-card RPS signatures, go back to the true variation route. That means base and variant RPS versions share the same card number but the photos on the front are different. There’s also another subtle but easy-to-spot difference to help tell them apart.

How to Tell If You Have a 2018 Panini Contenders Football Variation

Don’t want to memorize a bunch of different photos to tell if you have a variation? That’s totally understandable. And you don’t have to.

If you want to identify a variation in 2018 Panini Contenders Football, look to the “ticket stub” area. Now, hone in on the team logo. This is the key.

Base versions have a black team logo on the front. It’s easily identifiable from its single color.

2018 Panini Contenders Football Lamar Jackson Variation Autograph

Variations have a full color logo.

Yes, it’s that simple.

Here’s a base version side-by-side with a 2018 Panini Contenders Football variation.



Still easy.

A similar approach exists in 2018-19 Contenders Basketball, which came out just a couple of weeks earlier.

Panini has not announced any short prints yet for any of the 2018 Contenders Football autographs, base or variations.


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. Brian 15 January, 2019 at 12:22

    Any price guide out? Having a tough time pricing my Kyle Lauletta rookie ticket variations redemption.

    • Ryan Cracknell 15 January, 2019 at 15:05

      @Brian – Contenders just got its full release on Friday so it’ll likely take a week or two to analyze data and price it out.

  2. Max Drehwing 20 January, 2019 at 23:34

    So you know anything about a 1 of 1 Saquon Barkley rookie of the year contenders on card auto? (Platinum)

  3. Matt Lapp 1 February, 2019 at 13:50

    Another way to identify the variation is on the back. The base identifies the college of the player, while the variation identifies the home town

  4. Matt Lapp 1 February, 2019 at 13:57

    sorry, i just realized they aren’t true variations since they have different card numbers. But the logo on the front and variation of where they are from are different on each of the player’s cards. one card is the base with the black logo and the college, while the other card is #’d +100 and has the color logo and hometown.

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