Sunday, June 30, 2013

Why aren't there more cards of Broadway Joe?

Football card collectors with a sharp eye may have noticed that the last Joe Namath card during his playing days was a 1973 Topps card.  But he played until 1977 but cards of his later years are conspicuously missing. Apparently there was a contract dispute between Namath and Topps causing there to be no cards issued of Broadway Joe from 1974-1978.

Topps went so far as to create a card for 1974 but it was pulled.  Some proofs were printed and have found their way to collectors and according to Bob Lemke's blog, he states, "Larry Fritsch showed me the one he had more than 25 years ago. In 2004, Heritage Auctions sold an example for $2,340. I'd be surprised if more than two or three other examples of the Namath proof card exist."

Custom card makers like myself attempt to correct the wrongs of the Card industry and making custom Joe Namath Cards.  The first card is the 1974 proof that was never officially released. I made a slightly more attractive card with the next sample.  The next 3 cards are cards for 1975, 1976 & 1977 Topps while the last card features Joe's final year with the Rams.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Autographs on RetroCards

1968 Walt Garrison
We've had some big smiles from players that have discovered RetroCards at signings.  My favorite is Walt Garrison who held up the signed card for this photo. It is a 1968 Topps-style card which originally never existed. 
Walt Garrison with signed RetroCard, 2012

We have had a few sons of former players seek out memorabilia of their fathers.  We typically make a few cards for them in exchange for a couple of autographs for ourselves.  It is especially fun to hear how happy some players are to finally get on a card!  Sometimes good things come to those who wait.

Some have requested we make a stack of cards for them so they can use them to send autographs to fans or to keep for their families.  If asked, we'll include an area for the autograph that is a white, partial opaque box.  Below is a collage of a few old Cowboys who have been gracious enough to sign a card or two:  (clockwise from lower left: Ron Fellows, Dave Sherer, Don Talbert, Tom Braatz, Chuck Howley, Tom Stincic, Frank Clarke, and Jerry Rhome.

Mike Downs, Tony Hill and Chuck Howley are all smiles when seeing their respective RetroCards for the first time.  Mike got an 1984 Topps -style card, Tony Hill signs a "pre-rookie" 1978 Topps - style card, while Chuck Howley works on 1962, 1963 and 1972 Topps -style cards.

Monday, June 24, 2013

I Love Player Feedback

One of the great things about making custom cards is some of the players get a kick out of them.  RetroCards was originally conceived as a way for autograph seekers to have something for players to sign.  Former All-Pro receiver Frank Clarke was a very grateful for the cards and sent a hand written "thank you."  Other players have purchased photography that they have sent to RetroCards with the idea of creating a custom card for them.

Many of the photos submitted are black and white and need to be colorized.  Depending on the quality of the photo, this can be well worth the time.  Both Clarke photos on the left were black and white photos that were enhanced using various editing software.
1962 Design
1961 Design

Another Cowboy receiver that had us create a card was Dennis Homan.  Though be played a few years in the league, he never had a card - until now!  Some players have also helped with getting the bio information on the back of the card accurate, which really help to make a realistic card.

Check out more custom designs here! 

1968 Dennis Homan

Monday, June 17, 2013

If you could have a custom sports card made, which player would you choose?  Maybe a guy that sat on the bench and never got much playing time. Maybe you would choose a player you've always admired but that never had a card.  Maybe you would have a card made of your son or daughter in their softball uniform.  With design software and the available digital photography, one can really have some fun making custom cards.  I have been making my own cards for many years and took it up a notch by actually having them printed on similar stock to what old baseball cards used to be printed on.
1980 RetroCard of Len Sakata

Having grown up in Milwaukee, I was a huge Milwaukee Brewers fan and I had a friend who was President of the Len Sakata fan club.  Len Sakata was an infield prospect that only played a couple years for the Milwaukee before going to the Orioles.  I was lucky enough to meet him and he was my first favorite baseball player.  Much to my dismay,  he never had a card in a Brewer uniform - until now.

I had saved old Brewers yearbooks and had a nice color photo of him that I scanned.  Using Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop, I redesigned the look of a 1980 Topps baseball card and inserted the photo. It took a lot of time and patience but I was able to come pretty close to the original design.  I then designed a back for it too.

I hooked up with someone else who was doing the same thing and we decided to join forces and concentrate on Dallas Cowboys cards.  I was amazed to learn that some retired players were interested in having cards made of themselves for autographing.  So we dedicated a couple of years to creating some very convincing looking cards - and have had a blast doing it.

RetroCards website