Back in 1998, a new era of rookie card collecting was born.
The Rookie Ticket autographs were born in 1998 in Playoff's Contenders brand. These rookie autographs still exist today, 26 years later in Panini's Contenders products. However, what Playoff started back then doesn't feel the same in today's product.
First, let's break down the odds of hitting one of these. In today's market, they fall five or six per box. Back then, they fell when you saw an actual unicorn. This makes finding one more than rare.Next, the design. Not much has changed, but I still like the classic look of 1998. Panini tried to commemorate it last year during the 25th anniversary and did a decent job. But, it still wasn't the same. Finally, value. Today's autographs in the product, unless Sp'd, are worth between $1-$100 on average. They also have a tendency to go up and down with value. The 1998's, you normally can't score for under $20 and the values continue to hold strong today. You also don't find many listed either.
I was lucky enough recently in bidding on eBay and landed this one for $6!!
In the end, Contenders Rookie Ticket autographs won't ever be like the originals. I am glad that Panini has continued on with the product and it's still a fun yearly find especially for us rookie card collectors. However, the 1998 product set a landmark for the hobby with it's value and rarity.
To me, the Rookie Auto Tickets in the 1998 product are like an original movie, you just remake or in this case, Contend with the original.