I went to the Toronto Spring Expo with a very short list and one particular goal in mind – to finally put the 1963-64 Parkhurst set to bed. This was the second of the two sets I thought I would be able to get finished this year (1974 OPC baseball was the other), meaning that I’ve got the dreaded “now what?” post to follow.
I’ve been working on this off and on since the mid-1980s. It’s a bit of a shock to the system to see some of these 1960s sets actually fall by the wayside.
1963-64 was the last season for Parkhurst, the company that reintroduced hockey cards to the market after the hiatus brought on by WWII. They had had various licensing wars with Topps since the mid-1950s and from what I’ve read, they were making easier money on their other lines of business. For 1964-65, they simply ceded the field and dropped out of sight.
The set has 99 cards and includes players from Montreal, Toronto and Detroit. With a few exceptions (that I have no explanation for), each Montreal and Toronto player appears twice – once on a close-up portrait and once on a full-body image. Detroit players appear once in portrait form. Detroit players appear in front of the American flag, Toronto in front of what was then the Canadian flag and Montreal in front of a pattern of horizontal lines. The card backs have the name, personal data (height, weight, etc.) and a single line of career stats. The rest is dominated by one of three ads for mail-in rebates from Parkhurst.
This is a popular set. The Gordie Howe card (#55) is widely considered one of the classic cards of all time. I personally would rate it middle of the pack for Parkhurst. I think that as their last effort, they largely mailed it in. Gone are the great wordy backs that were so packed with information. Even the stats are nigh-on useless. If you don’t have last year’s card handy, there’s no way to tell just what anyone did in 1962-63. The front design is nice enough, and they look nice when the set is all together.
As with almost all Parkhurst cards, age-browning is an issue. It was possible to order a complete set from Parkhurst (or so I have heard), so high-end commons aren’t that unusual to find.
Being a little taller than Topps/OPC cards, they take the 8-pocket sheet typically used for early Topps baseball.
I’m breaking the set in half for the posts – this will actually allow me to post one of them today. 🙂
Page 1 – cards 1-8
The players are Allan Stanley, Don Simmons, Red Kelly, Dick Duff, Johnny Bower, Ed Litzenberger, Kent Douglas, Carl Brewer. This Leaf team would win its third straight Cup in ’63-64 and then have one last gasp in 1967. Don Simmons was the other Leaf goalie prior to the acquisition of Terry Sawchuk. He was actually in goal for the deciding game in 1962. Dick Duff would be traded to the Rangers in the Andy Bathgate deal late in the season.
I never liked these backs. One can see here all three promotions – the mini Stanley Cup replica, the autographed puck and the table hockey game. Various degrees of age-browning are also evident.
Page 2 – cards 9-16
Players shown are Eddie Shack, Bob Nevin, Billy Harris (the elder), Bob Pulford, George Armstrong, Ron Stewart, John MacMillan, Tim Horton. Shack scored the Cup-winning goal in 1963. Nevin would join Dick Duff in New York in the Bathgate deal. John MacMillan is not present in the second half of this set. His place is taken by Dave Keon, who for some reason does not have a portrait card. MacMillan was a role player – I’m not sure how he bumps Keon from this part of the set.
Click here for the image of the card backs.
Page 3 – cards 17-24
Depicted here are Frank Mahovlich, Bob Baun, Leaf coach/GM Punch Imlach, Leaf Asst. GM King Clancy, Habs Gilles Tremblay, J.G. Talbot, Henri “Pocket Rocket” Richard, Raplh Backstrom. The ’63-64 Habs were almost done the retooling of the team that won five straight Cups between 1956 and 1960. This group would go on to win four of five between 1965 and 1969.
Click here for the image of the back of the cards.
Page 4 – Cards 25-32
Players depicted are Billy Hicke, Red Berenson, Jacques Laperriere (RC), Jean Gauthier (RC), Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, Jean Beliveau, JC Tremblay, Terry Harper (RC). There are a lot of Habs RCs in this set and they’re probably the most difficult team to collect because of it. This is one of my favourite Beliveau cards (on the back, the “3” in the card number “30” is actually upside down – this is not why I like the card, just something odd). Bill Hicke was once reputed to be the next Maurice Richard. He became a good scorer, but not quite that. His brother Ernie was traded to Oakland for the draft pick that became Guy Lafleur.
There does not appear to be much of a pattern to the colour banding in the background other than the fact that colours appear to come in blocks, save for the occasional blue one that appears out of nowhere.
Click here for the image of the back of the cards.
I was hoping to get through the set in two posts, but time is short and it looks like it will be three. Hope everyone is still awake. 🙂