Sunday, May 8, 2016

My Return to Making Custom Cards

You might recall there was recently a bit of drama over my custom cards that paid homage to designs from Topps. It all worked out fine, but expect my custom cards to feature non-Topps designs going forward.

As an aside, the other day I stumbled upon an eBay seller offering "reprints" that were clearly unlicensed counterfeits he made. The cards are identical front and back to each classic card being copied, with no distinguishing reprint marks/notation. While his listings clearly state the card is an "awesome reprint" there's nothing stopping someone from acquiring one and turning around and trying to pass it off as the read deal. I suspect the counterfeit Mike Schmidt RC I bought a few months ago might've been made by this guy. The person who sold it to me may or may not have known it was a fake (chances are they knew). At least I was able to spot it and get a refund. A young and/or casual card collector not familiar with vintage card stock could easily be duped into thinking such cards are authentic. I tweeted to Topps with a link to the guy asking if they could do something about stopping him. I didn't get a response from them, and the guy still seems to be at it. And I'm sure there are several more sellers just like him on eBay, pumping counterfeits into the hobby and getting away with it by calling them reprints. I just think it's kind of bullshit that my harmless "cards that never were"-type customs rile up Topps' legal department, yet blatant counterfeits that are clearly polluting the hobby don't seem to be a priority for them to deal with.

But anyways...

While thinking of classic designs I could use for customs that would be unlikely to step on toes, I immediately thought of Hostess box-bottom cards from the 70s. Simple and beloved, those seemed like fun designs to work with. I doubt anyone currently at Hostess is even aware the company ever put out cards, and I'm sure baseball cards are nowhere to be found in their business plan, so I don't think it's going to ruffle any feathers if I pay tribute to these classic 70s oddballs.

I've made a dozen so far, using the design from the first year of the Hostess cards, 1975.

My idea is to whip up a custom set of current stars and hot rookies, probably around 36 or so different cards. Perhaps I'll make it an annual "Heritage" type thing and do a custom set next year using the 1976 Hostess design.

As a nod to the originals, in addition to separate "cut" cards, I've also been making "uncut panels" featuring 3 cards. I figured I'd make the panels "limited" for the heck of it, so each panel is #'d /25 in the upper right corner. (and yes, the 12/25 panel will be my personal copy, of course!)

Update: this original image had Donaldson erroneously listed as Outfield. Robert in the comments helped me remember he plays 3rd. D'oh! I've also made a few other little bloopers as I've been putting these together, but luckily for me the original set had errors too, so my mistakes only add to the authenticity! haha
I've tried to keep these true to the original Hostess cards in size, feel, and appearance. That means mostly pre-game posed shots, with backgrounds often featuring empty stadiums or spring training imagery. This has made it a bit trickier for me since it's much easier to find action shots these days. Outdoor posed photos are harder to come by online. But it's a fun challenge for me to find (or create) a photo that fits in with the aesthetic of a typical vintage Hostess card.

Keep an eye out for more from this set soon as I get around to making them.
And please get in touch if you're interested in scoring yourself any of these. I've got a few to spread around. Thanks!


  1. The Blue Jays panel features an error card!! The value just went through the roof!! LOL

    I'm definitely interested in anything Blue Jays that you do Gavin. Let me know

    1. Ah shit! Donaldson plays 3rd base (or "infield" as these Hostess cards simplify positions). Damn it.. need to whip up a corrected variation now.

      But thanks, Robert.. yeah, I'd be down to trade.

  2. Very nice, glad your back at it

  3. I love the Hostess design and always have. Nice tribute!

  4. Well done Gavin. I'm definitely in on one of the Betts

  5. Can't go wrong with '70s oddballs as inspiration!

  6. Cool choice in design, it really brings back memories.

  7. really great. will there be twinkies variations with the black bars on the back?

  8. Nice stuff as always and I emailed ya back :)

  9. Beautiful set. Hostess cards from the 70's rule.

  10. Those are really well done! Looking forward to seeing the rest of the checklist when you finish it up.

  11. I never knew that Mookie's given name was Markus. What a weird way to spell such an awesome name.