Although it’s often overshadowed by its predecessor, the 1952-53 Parkhurst hockey set is still considered one of the most important hockey sets in the hobby. So when a complete set, along with its accompanying album, becomes available for sale, it’s a rare opportunity that usually brings some big bids. One such lot was sold on eBay recently, offering hockey fans a chance to add an iconic piece to their collections. In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the particular eBay item, the 1952-53 Parkhurst set, and the album and explore why they are held in such high regard among collectors.
As I was perusing eBay in search of Parkhurst hockey albums to add to my hobby library, I stumbled upon this complete 105-card 1952-53 Parkhurst hockey set with an album.
Based in Princeville, Canada, the seller also had several other vintage hockey sets available for sale. In the end, the lot sold for an impressive $2938 CAD (about $2135 USD at the time of the sale) after a bidding war that ended on March 27th, 2023. Although some cards had minor imperfections, such as creases and surface print tear-offs, they still presented well.
Now that you’ve seen the 1952-53 Parkhurst hockey set and album that sold on eBay, it’s worth looking at why this particular set and album are so highly regarded among hockey card collectors. First, let’s dive into the set.
The 1952-53 Parkhurst hockey set is often linked to its highly-regarded predecessor, the 1951-52 Parkhurst set, as cards from this series were distributed in packs constructed from 1951-52 Parkhurst sheets. The 1952-53 set consists of 105 cards, each measuring 1-15/16″ by 2-15/16″. The card fronts feature two basic designs, with on-ice photos and posed player pictures with a solid background, while the backs showcase the player name, card number, biographical information, the player’s 1951-52 stats, and, in a black box at the bottom of the card, a send-in offer for the “Special Album.” The set is anchored by notable players such as Maurice Richard, Bernie Geoffrion, Doug Harvey, Red Kelly, Terry Sawchuk, Ted Lindsay, and Gordie Howe, as well as rookie cards of players including Dickie Moore, Tim Horton, and Bob Hassard.
This PSA 8 Horton example sold for $7800 in the Fall of 2016 by Robert Edward Auctions.
Heritage Auctions sold this PSA 8 Gordie Howe for $9700 in February 2023.
The 1952 Parkhurst Set is known to be one of the toughest hockey sets to put together, especially in ultra-high grades. In fact, there are only two PSA 10s and 121 PSA 9s out of nearly 9479 total cards graded. While the first and last cards in the set are often victimized by rubber band wear, the cards in the middle of the set tend to be evenly distributed across grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
Classic Auctions is the biggest hockey-focused auction house, and they’ve sold complete sets for between $2k and $5k over the years. Prices are heavily dependent on the condition of the star players. They’ve also sold two sets with an album. In March 2010, they sold a 105-card set and album for $1589, and in their Spring 2021 auction, they sold an album with 102 cards (shy of Richard, Howe, and Horton) for $1034. An outlier in price happened in the Fall of 2016 when Robert Edward Auctions sold a near-set (missing Horton) of 104 cards for $16800 that appeared to average a bit below Ex.
To me, the 1952-53 Parkhurst album is an essential component of completing the set, as the offer for the album was included on the back of the cards. It instructed collectors to “Send 25c to “B”, 96 Paton, Toronto, for Special Album to hold 105 N.H.L. Players.”
The 9″ x 11″ album features an attractive cover, a complete set checklist on the back, and included 13 card sheets intact with spaces for displaying a total of 104 cards, leaving a slot for a personal favorite card to complete the album (the complete set of 105). While the album is not particularly rare, it is still sought after by collectors.
In terms of prices, Classic Auctions sold a trio of 1952, 1953, and 1954 Parkhurst hockey albums together for $268 in their 2020 Winter Auction. They also sold a 1952-53 and 1953-54 catalog pair for $222 in the spring of 2022. And back in February, a single 1952-53 Parkies Photo Folio sold on eBay for $124.
In conclusion, the 1952-53 Parkhurst hockey set and album continue to captivate hockey card collectors and enthusiasts over 70 years after their initial release. The set’s inclusion of legendary players like Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe only adds to its allure; despite the challenges of obtaining high-grade cards. With its attractive graphics and checklist, the album is also a desirable collectible for fans looking to complete a set in style. Overall, the 1952-53 Parkhurst set and album represent a cool piece of hockey hobby history. Happy collecting!