When it comes to hockey cards, the number of companies can be daunting. Vintage collectors, however, know all about Parkhurst. A brief history: This company was based out of Toronto, Ontario and made mostly hockey cards. Their run was from 1951 to ‘64, when they could no longer compete with Topps and O-Pee-Chee. The thing that was limiting for the company was that it could only secure the rights to certain teams. Parkhurst hockey cards bring back great memories for older collectors and they remain immensely popular.
After they stopped production in ’64 Parkhurst stayed out of the picture until Dr. Brian H. Price tried to bring the brand back by licensing it to Pro Set, Inc. , which was based out of Dallas. Ultimately, it wound up as a European-only company after a dalliance with Upper Deck. The brand has gone intermittently in out of production since then but for true collectors of vintage hockey cards, it’s those early Parkies that provide the magnet.
The company apparently used a cement mixer to assure randomness in collation of the cards back in the ’50s. Add the fact that the cards were printed on thinner than usual stock and finding a completely mint example would be akin to finding the Holy Grail. There was supposedly quality control, but those two situations are not ideal for producing the best cards.
Parkhurst produced one of the top 10 most valuable hockey cards—a 1951-52 Gordie Howe rookie. That same set also features Maurice Richard and Terry Sawchuk rookie cards. It’s definitely a set that a serious collector should pursue.
It’s the 1952-53 set that has Tim Horton’s rookie card and was is the first Parkie set to include a short biography of the player and a few stats on the back.
The 1953-54 Parkhurst hockey cards are slightly larger than the first two sets. You’ll find Jean Beliveau, which is also considered one of the top hockey rookie cards in history. Gump Worsley’s card is there too.
The 1955-56 through 1959-60 sets (there was no ’56-67) include only Toronto and Montreal players. In ’60-61 they added the Red Wings and the sets included those three teams until Parkhurst bid adieu in 1963-64.