Wednesday, November 27, 2013

PARKIE PROJECT - The Start Of A New Collection

A number of months back a question was thrown out to the members of one of the hobby boards I belong to.  It was a simple question in its succinctness...but could be seen as much more complex if one allows.

"What are your bucket list goals/projects/wishes in this hobby?"

I have a few listed in the back of my brain.  But there was one that has been giving me the itch to start for quite some time.  And this past weekend at the card show...I decided to start it.

I would like to build and complete a set of 1951/52 Parkhurst Hockey.

Yes, it's a tall task I know.  But I've always been mesmerized by the simple beauty these cards possess.  I've always wanted to buy one but have always been intimidated by the potential "big ticket" aspect these cards can command.  But I finally went for it.

To many, this set is an iconic set in all of trading cards.  It was the first post-WWII set of hockey cards to be put out and has a truly rich checklist.

Measuring 1 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches, this 105-card set was the first set printed in more than a decade at the time and thus has an almost exclusive list of rookie cards.  The three biggest names - Terry Sawchuk, Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe.

Yeah, this is a mountain.

The book value of this set well exceeds $10,000 and high-graded copies of the cards easily garner thousands of dollars.  Thankfully, I will not be pursuing the top end stuff.

Instead, I will be finding that fine line.  Cards that make me happy both in the aesthetics of the cardboard and the price tag associated with it.  I have no expectations on the final price I'd like to pay for a built set (because this will take a looooooong time).  Instead, I'm looking for those diamonds in the rough....or a kick ass sale.

I got the latter last weekend.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#47 - Harry Lumley RC

Let's start with a goalie shall we?  This is a great action shot (a rarity in this set) featuring Hawks netminder Harry Lumley.  This card will give you a good indication of the condition I am looking for in this set.

It is not terribly off-centre, has good color, a pretty unblemished surface (this card has a bit of a crease in the lower left corner...but you wouldn't see it unless reflecting it off the light) and "not horrible" corners.

I don't know what it would be graded if I sent it to PSA, but I'm guessing it would garner more than a 1 or 2.

Now, I'm pondering whether or not to divulge the prices I pay on each card.  For now, I'm keeping that info documented privately.  Maybe down the road I will share some of those stats with you.  What I will do is share the book value (according to my somewhat outdated Beckett magazine)

BV $90-150

A great start to the set.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#85 Cal Gardner RC

Oh.....there's more.  This Gardiner is another rookie card and its traits are very similar to the Lumley.  A lot of the pictures have this kind of pose - simple, straightforward, bland.  But hey, it was over 60 years ago...they had no idea we'd want high quality action shots.

There are a couple of small ink marks on the back of the card which do not concern me in the least.  Another great add to the set.

BV $50-80

I'm saving the best for last.

1951/52 Parkhurst
#105 Jim Conacher RC

This was the card that started it all.  I just love the rich color in this card.  Amazing since there's only red and blue  There's some great detail in the jersey, gloves and laces as well.

What I didn't know at the time that I bought this card is that it's the last in the set....and thus is very condition sensitive.  Think about it, many copies of this card would be hugging elastic bands or coffee stained tables.

This is the best centered card out of the three and the corners almost have a uniform look.  I heard that Parkhurst would use a cement mixer as a tumbler to mix up the cards before distributing them into the packs.  How any copies managed to keep its sharp corners is beyond me.

Here's the back so you can take a look at the condition bar that I'm putting up.

BV $100-200

And with that - the start of the Parkie Project.  If you are looking forward to seeing the finished job, sit back and enjoy the'll be a long one.  I'm easily giving myself 15-20 years - if not more.

Parkie Progress - 3 out of 105  (2.9%)


  1. awesome.

    yet another of your collecting projects that I can soooooo not help you with.

  2. I wish you luck on this. It's a neat set (though I have to admit I like 1952-53 better) and a long road.

  3. I started my 51-52 Parkie collection in July 2014 and finally got my last card, of course the most expensive in the set, a Gordie Howe PSA 2 (under graded in my opinion) this September. Took me 14 months and $4000+ to finish my set which had an average grade of 5.

    Never say never, the Internet today makes completing this set possible but also driving up the prices.


    Darrell T.

    1. Hi Darrell. Thanks for the great story. I'm in no rush to build it and want things to stay really fun.

      Amazing build on your part. average of 5's would be awesome. Congrats!