If you’re thinking of buying sets to go along with your individual cards or are just someone who has to complete anything that comes to your collection, here are some vintage hockey card sets to think about.
Hockey cards now stretch back more than 100 years and the first set collectors often gravitate to is the 1910-11 Imperial (C-56) set. It includes the biggest stars from the pre-NHL era including Art Ross, Newsy Lalonde and Cyclone Taylor. The next year, Imperial produced a set that included the Georges Vezina rookie card. Obviously, condition is a major factor here, with high grade examples of these two sets selling for big bucks. Focus on lower grades and enjoy the history.
The 1930s produced several hockey card sets including 1933-34 Ice Kings but we like the 1933-34 OPC set. It’s the first set ever issued under the OPC brand (O-Pee-Chee) and includes the legendary Howie Morenz. The OPC name is so closely associated with hockey card history throughout Canada that owning the first set–or even just a card or two–is just plain cool.
As any vintage hockey card collector knows, owning some Parkhurst hockey cards is a must. The company’s impact on the hobby can’t be denied. One of the best ones to find is a 1951-52 Parkhurst set. There are 104 cards in the set, which helped launch the post-War era of modern card collecting and includes the famous Gordie Howe rookie card and several other players who made their trading card debut.
The 1954-55 Parkie set is also popular with collectors. It’s packed with big names and Hall of Famers including the Johnny Bower rookie card, Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Tim Horton and Terry Sawchuk who is also featured in the landmark 1954-55 Topps hockey set. This very attractive set includes action photos and helped launch the company’s presence as a player in the hockey card world, although the two Canadian teams couldn’t be represented because of Parkhurst’s contract.
Two sets from the 1960s have to be part of any list of vintage hockey card sets to consider. The 1964-65 Topps hockey set of ‘tall boys’ provide a real challenge with unmarked checklists very, very difficult and expensive to find. The stars of the decade are well represented here and the unique size and look makes it a really attractive set to chase.
The 1966-67 Topps hockey set includes the Bobby Orr rookie card, which alone makes it worthwhile but this one is a major challenge because of the brown “TV” style borders that make high grade examples tough to locate.
This is a small sample and only meant to be a rough guide – plus it’s always fun to explore and piece together the vintage hockey card sets that are important and attractive to you.