Gordie Howe Rookie Cards
The 1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe #66 is the card universally considered the Gordie Howe rookie card. However, there were several postcards made before that card and a few other cards made around the same time. In this article, we’ll look at the “cards” that predate the Parkhurst rookie, a rare oddball contemporary, and the first Topps Gordie Howe card which came a few years later, but is an absolute classic!
1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe #66
The 1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe card #66 is one of the most sought-after and valuable hockey cards ever made.
His rookie is significant because he, along with Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr, is one of the few players who is often considered the greatest hockey player of all time.
Gordie Howe, known as “Mr. Hockey,” was a Canadian professional ice hockey player who played for 32 seasons. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. During his career, Howe won four Stanley Cup championships and was named the NHL’s most valuable player six times. He was known for his exceptional physicality, scoring ability, and leadership on the ice.
Off the ice, Howe was a humble and respected figure, known for his sportsmanship and dedication to the game. He was beloved by fans and teammates alike, and his impact on the sport continues to be felt today. Despite his impressive stats and accomplishments, Howe’s legacy is about more than just his on-ice performance. He represented the spirit of hockey and embodied the values of hard work, determination, and perseverance. For many, he remains an iconic figure and a symbol of the sport’s enduring greatness.
Any rookie card of an all-time great draws interest from collectors, but some additional factors make the Gordie Howe rookie even more valuable.
- 32 Seasons! – Sometimes athletes fade into history as their statistical accomplishments are surpassed repeatedly. This isn’t going to happen to Gordie Howe because he played 32 seasons of professional hockey! This type of longevity is unlikely to ever be seen again and ensures that Howe will forever rank high in several all-time statistical categories.
- Gretzky’s Competition – For a time Gordie Howe was the undisputed greatest player in NHL history. Wayne Gretzky came along to challenge Howe for this honor in the minds of hockey fans and journalists but being compared to “The Great One” underscores how incredible Howe was and ensures his legacy is on solid ground.
- A League-Wide Jersey Retirement? – Thus far, only Wayne Gretzky has had his jersey number (#99) retired by the NHL for all teams. However, Gretzky believes that Gordie Howe’s #9 should also be retired for the entire league. Nobody in NHL history is more influential than Gretzky and if he gets his way Howe’s already legendary status will grow to heights few athletes have achieved.
1951-52 Parkhurst Set Details
The 1951-52 Parkhurst Hockey set, which was manufactured by an Ontario-based card maker, is widely regarded as the first modern hockey set. Collectors commonly refer to cards from this era as “Parkies.” Each card showcases a crude photograph that is printed on heavy paper stock and measures a mere 1 3/4″ x 2 1/2″. While the front of the card features the player’s photo and information, the back is entirely blank.
This hockey set represented the first collection of its kind in over ten years, resulting in a considerable number of cards being considered rookie cards. While Gordie Howe and Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s cards are the most well-known, the list of Hall of Fame rookie cards is extensive and includes the following players:
- Emile “Butch” Bouchard (#3)
- Murray Bert Olmstead (#5)
- Tom Johnson (#7)
- Douglas Harvey (#10)
- Bernard “Boom Boom” Geoffrion (#14)
- Bill Quackenbush (#26)
- Bill Gadsby (#37)
- Douglas Bentley (#48)
- Bill Mosienko (#49)
- Roy Gordon Conacher (#50)
- Leonard “Red” Kelly (#55)
- Robert “Ted” Lindsay (#56)
- Terry Sawchuk (#61)
- Alex Peter Delvecchio (#63)
- Rene Marcel Pronovost (#68)
- Harry Watson (#70)
- Fern Flaman (#80)
- Teeder Kennedy (#86)
- Allan Stanley (#94)
- Edgar Laprade (#96)
- Chuck Rayner (#104)
Be cautious when making expensive purchases from this set since it has been known to be counterfeited.
- Year: 1951-52
- Manufacturer: Parkhurst
- Number of Cards: 105
- Card size: 1 3/4” x 2 1/2”
1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe Rookie Card #66 Details
- Card no: #66
- Name on Card: Gordon Howe
- Position: Right Wing
- Team: Detroit Red Wings
- Goals: 43
- Assists: 43
- Points: 86
- Min. in Penalty 74
- Born: Floral, Sask., Mar. 31 1928
Front of the card
Design: The Parkhurst #66 rookie card from 1951-52 showcases a vintage design reflective of its age. Its small size of 1 3/4″ by 2 1/2″ and rough photo printed on heavy paper is in contrast to modern cards. Gordie Howe, sporting his predominantly red Detroit Red Wings jersey, is pictured in a thin black-framed photo on the card. Personal information, a few stats, and his name, which interestingly appears as “Gordon,” in its formal version, are found at the card’s bottom.
Shop for a 1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe Rookie card #66 on eBay (affiliate link)
Back of the card
Design: There isn’t a design on the back of the 1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe #66 card, it’s just blank paper stock.
1951-52 Parkhurst (#66) Gordie Howe Rookie Card Value
The 1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe rookie card is one of the most valuable hockey cards of the 1950s. The chart below was pulled from the popular card grading site PSA on 02/13/2023. It shows prices for the Gordie Howe rookie card in various conditions.
Keep in mind that prices fluctuate. While PSA is a great way to find out the value of a card, we recommend going to eBay to see what cards are currently selling for on the world’s most popular auction site. Click here to view current auctions for the 1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe Rookie card #66.
Other Relevant Gordie Howe Cards
Aside from the Parkhurst Gordie Howe rookie card mentioned above, Howe has a very rare postcard that can be considered a rookie and a few other cards that predate the 1951-52 Parkhurst card. His first Topps card, while not a rookie, is a legendary card that also needs to be discussed.
1947-48 J.D McCarthy Detroit Red Wings Postcards
The 1947-48 J.D McCarthy Detroit Red Wings postcard is the first Gordie Howe “card” and it is extremely rare. It’s so rare, in fact, that it’s hard to find pictures of it. The print run was not large, it was made a long time ago, and some of these would have been used and discarded as postcards. It is worth a small fortune and most of the existing copies are likely in the hands of Gordie Howe super collectors.
1948-52 Exhibits Canadian Gordie Howe
The 1948-52 Exhibits Canadian Gordie Howe oversized (3 1/2″ x 5 1/4″) card is one of those odd situations we sometimes get into with older cards. This card was released over multiple years, but there is no easy way to tell the difference between the first print or versions that were reprinted in subsequent years. PSA stopped grading these cards for that reason. So is this a rookie? That depends on whether we’re talking about the first print run or a reprint, but all authentic versions of this card are valuable.
Shop for a 1948-52 Exhibits Canadian Gordie Howe on eBay (affiliate link)
1952 Royal Desserts Gordie Howe #8
The Royal Desserts Gordie Howe #8 card is part of the Royal Desserts “Royal Stars of Hockey” set. It can be found on the back of Royal Dessert products like Royal Puddings and Royal Custard Flavor Dessert Mix. The cards are known for having poor edge trimming due to being cut from a box. The set could also be collected in an 8-page Plastic Album, which collectors could mailorder for 15 cents, and 3 Royal Dessert package fronts. I wouldn’t consider this a rookie card, but it is extremely rare and awesome.
Shop for a 1952 Royal Desserts Gordie Howe on eBay (rare) (affiliate link)
1948-49 J.D McCarthy Detroit Red Wings Postcards
This is Gordie Howe’s second J.D. McCarthy postcard. I don’t consider this to be a rookie because of the existence of the previous year’s postcard. However, I felt it was important to discuss this one because it does predate the 1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe rookie card #66.
Shop for 1948-49 J.D McCarthy Detroit Red Wings Postcard on eBay (affiliate link)
1954-55 Topps Gordie Howe #8
This isn’t a rookie card, but Gordie Howe’s first Topps card is an iconic Hockey card and ranks among the coolest cards ever made. The photo of Gordie, complete with ice shavings around his skate, captures the grace and the confidence of the man who was considered at this point to be the greatest Hockey player of all time. This inaugural Topps Hockey set raised the bar for Hockey card designs and produced this iconic card.
Shop for a 1954-55 Topps Gordie Howe on eBay (affiliate link)
Gordie Howe’s Legacy
Gordie Howe was a Canadian professional ice hockey player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. He played 26 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Detroit Red Wings, and was known for his physical and skillful style of play. Over the course of his career, Howe won six Art Ross Trophies as the NHL’s leading scorer, four Hart Trophies as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player, and 23 NHL All-Star Game selections. He also helped the Detroit Red Wings win four Stanley Cup championships, and holds several NHL records, including most games played (1,767) and most seasons played (26).
Gordie Howe was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972 and was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history in 2017. His number 9 has been retired by the Detroit Red Wings, the team with which he spent the majority of his career. Gordie Howe continues to be remembered as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.
Here are just some of Gordie Howe’s accomplishments:
- 26 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings (1946-1971)
- Named to the NHL First All-Star Team 10 times
- Named to the NHL Second All-Star Team 7 times
- Six-time NHL scoring champion
- Four-time Hart Trophy winner as NHL Most Valuable Player (1952, 1953, 1957, 1958)
- Six-time Art Ross Trophy winner as NHL’s leading scorer (1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1963)
- 23-time NHL All-Star Game participant
- Holds the NHL record for most games played (1,767)
- Holds the NHL record for most seasons played (26)
- Scored 801 goals in the NHL, ranking him second in league history at the time of his retirement
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972
- Named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history in 2017
- Number 9 retired by the Detroit Red Wings in 1972.
Get Your Gordie Howe Rookie
Do you want to own a 1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe rookie (#66)? If so, we recommend starting your search on eBay – the world’s #1 card trading place. Even if you’re not planning to buy one just yet, it’s fun to look at all the great cards currently for sale.
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All About Gordie Howe Rookies Infographic
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