I choose to make a custom card either when a player doesn't have any existing cards or when I think I can simply do better than what's out there.
As I make custom cards exclusively to get them signed, the most important criterion is that the card looks good once signed, i.e.: the signature is visible and it doesn't destroy the design or photo.
12 April 2015 - As a follow-up on my three-card 'Gold Standard' set I did two years ago I made a similar mini-set of three called 'Gold Rush'. Luke Harangody, Rafa Martínez and Sam Van Rossom signed their cards. Unfortunately the scans (nor the photos) don't do justice to the actual appearance of the cards - IRL they look pretty cool!
07 July 2014 - Dan Gadzuric very kindly signed this card as part of the six-card through-the-mail package I had sent him. This card uses the famous design of the 1986-87 Fleer basketball card, renowned for the much sought-after Michael Jordan rookie card.
30 September 2012 - Kelati came back to Valencia Basket for the 2012-13 season, but got injured in preseason.
Even though he is depicted in a Lakers jersey, he only did a summer camp with them and never ended up playing for them.
Kelati did a signing session prior to the preseason exhibition game and that's where I got this signed.
I made a second copy of this card for a Lakers collector and got it signed and dedicated to him.
18 & 30 September 2012 - I made this card when Marko Keselj was signed up to the Valencia team, making him the second current player from Serbia after Stefan Markovic.
The card shows both players on a black card with an artistic impression of the serbian flag I found on the internet.
They signed the card with a silver pen that unfortunately didn't come out very well.
Henk Norel is a rising Dutch player who was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves but nevertheless has been playing in Spain for a while now. I thought I'd give it a try and make a card for signature through the mail. I printed it myself on my inkjet and glued front and back onto a decoy. Unfortunately I didn't get it back.
A few weeks later Norel's team DKV Joventut played in my city against Valencia Basket, so I decided to try again. I took the same design and had it printed at the print shop on thicker card stock. After the game I met Norel and we chatted for a while and he also signed the card.
Then, a few weeks later, to my great surprise I received mail. It turned out Norel had received my initial card and had signed it on both sides and returned it back to me! Quite a remarkable story and great cards to go with it.
4" x 5.5" blow-up version
original, standard trading card size version
14 October 2012 - Valencia Basket played CAI Zaragoza and I met Henk Norel for the second time. I had a good chat with him - you couldn't meet a more friendly and down-to-earth guy. He told me he liked the card and was kind enough to sign it.
07 July 2014 - Dan Gadzuric very kindly signed this card as part of the six-card through-the-mail package.
This set really is for players that I don't have another card for and shows players in their college uniforms. The front shows a photo with the player in color, while the background is black and white. The bottom half of the 4" x 5.5" card is for signature and has the college team's logo in grey in the background. The back - horizontally orientated - shows the player with his team in full color with a small description below.
This is the first in-person auto I got from the Valencia Basket team in the 2012-13 season. Justin Doellman had just joined the team and signed this card after the team presentation and exhibition game.
This set was the first I did with holographic paper. The design shows an action photo of the player dunking and shattering the background into pieces. The design itself was printed on a transparent sticker so that the 'whites' would reveal the holographic paper. These 4" x 5.5" cards don't have a back side (didn't bother doing it).
I met Lyday after his 26-point game (6/6 3pt) with his team Unics Kazan here in Valencia on 6th March 2013. He signed a blank card that I had with me, which I will give a post-signature design to make it a bit more appealing to the eye.
To be continued..
15 January 2012 - One of my earliest custom cards. Australian player A.J. Ogilvy was recovering from an injury and did a signing session before the game. I didn't have anything to sign so I made this card. Printed with my own inkjet and then stuck it onto a decoy card. No back side.
I made this card for a New Zealand-born trader in the States who was desperately looking for Kirk Penney cards. It so happened that he played for Spanish team Fuenlabrada (Madrid) and I thought I try and get him a surprise.
I made a copy for each of us and sent them by mail to the team. A few days later I already received them back.