I’d like to start off with an introduction. This is a card sent to me by fellow card blogger Topher. He’s the author of a card blog that I follow and highly recommend - Crackin Wax. Topher also happens to be the proprietor of a small company called Varsity Trading Cards. He recently asked me if I’d like to review some sample cards from his company. Obviously, he has read this blog and noticed my penchant for hard-hitting, in depth analysis and critique (I can’t type this with a straight face). Curious about the cards, I readily agreed.
First, a little background. What is Varsity Trading Cards? Well, they are a company that specializes in producing trading cards of high school athletes. You send them the photos, player information, and statistics. They will do the rest. Honestly, I wonder why I haven’t run into more companies that do this type of work. If you’re parent, coach, or booster, this would make an awesome gift for the young athlete in your life.
Here are the two sample cards he sent me. Let me start off by saying they look and feel very professional. It’s not cheap card stock at all. The cards have a modern design to them. I love how the card design incorporates the primary color of the team. It’s a nice, personal touch.
The front of the card features a photo of the player (obviously), player name, the team nickname, and team logo. I do have a few minor quibbles. I would have preferred to see the full team name on the card – Caledonia Warriors instead of just Warriors. Also, I’m not sure I like the placement of the team logo. For my taste, it cuts too much into the space reserved for the player’s autograph.
The back of the card is just like your standard trading card. Player information, stats, and a short bio. The design of the back pairs up well with the front design. There is a QR code on the back that leads you to the Varsity Trading Cards website.
One thing you’ll notice about the cards is that they are not as glossy as your typical cards. In my opinion that doesn’t detract from the cards at all – especially if you plan on having the players autograph the cards. With a glossier finish, you would run into the potential problem of the ink smearing or smudging. If you do plan on utilizing the autograph space, I recommend using a thin sharpie that isn’t black. Signing with a color like blue or red would really stand out on this design. Black ink would just make the signature blend in with the dark border.
One small issue I see with the cards is the thickness. These cards are slightly thicker than your standard base cards, but not quite a thick as most jersey cards. I had no problem sliding the cards into a 9 pocket page or into a penny sleeve. However, when I tried to put the cards into a standard top loader, they were just a hair too thick. I could slide them in and out, but it took me a bit more force than I’m comfortable with. I had some thick top loaders for cards up to 75 pt. The cards went in easily, but they were prone to sliding while inside the top loader. Ultra Pro makes some thick top loaders for cards up to 55 pt. Unfortunately, I don’t have any handy. I assume that the cards would fit into these with no problem. [EDITOR”S NOTE: I’ve been told that the cards I received for review are thicker than the ones that come off the commercial printing press. The cards will have no problems fitting into standard size top loaders.]
If you are a parent or coach of a high school athlete, I think these cards would make a truly unique gift. They would be great gifts for Little League and Pee-Wee players as well. A couple of things to keep in mind. First is the photography. Don’t use a cheap camera for the photos, especially if you plan on using shots of the player in action. The better the photo, the better the card will turn out.
The second thing to keep in mind, especially with amateur athletes, is ensuring that you do not inadvertently violate their eligibility. The Varsity Trading Cards website has a page that shows which states allow high school players to be depicted on cards. However, I would still check with your school administrators to make sure that any rules aren’t violated.
If you’re interested in these cards, be sure to check out Varsity Trading Cards for more information.