I changed my vintage approach last year and liked it so much that I’ve kept it for this year. Normally, I’d plug away at a small number of sets that needed upgrading or finishing and not really approach anything else until I was done. I would then go after the next one in sequence. If 1969-70 was complete, 1968-69 would follow it.
This was great in terms of getting projects completed, but it got a little dull from a collecting viewpoint, so a year ago I decided that instead I would simply aim for five nice examples of every postwar vintage set that I had yet to finish. It made for a greater variety of years and players and was a lot more fun because sets I hadn’t touched in 20 years were now in play. One of those was 1953-54 Parkhurst.
I never was that much into this set. It was the first of the full-size Parkhurst cards (and, as I’ve come to realize, still owes a lot to Bowman baseball) and had a decent back, but I always was more of a fan of 1954-55. Part of this, I’ve come to realize, is that most of the examples I had were fairly bashed up and these sets are always more appealing when the cards look good.
1953-54 was one of the only two 1950s sets (1954-55 was the other) to rely on actual game action shots for many of its images. There are a handful of staged shots, particularly of rookies and bit players, but most regulars had a shot like this one above. These two sets would be the last to feature game action in earnest until 1973-74.
1953-54 also has the best goalie shots, bar none, of any set made prior to the advent of Upper Deck. When I get the lot of them, I’ll scan them all in.
I ended up with five cards in one lot, which technically finishes me off 1953 for this year, though if I find any bargains, I’ll nab them.
The card backs are nice and wordy, which was always a Parkhurst strength (at least prior to 1959, when they started mailing them in) and have the prior year’s stats up top:
Hal Laycoe played 11 seasons with the Rangers, Habs and Bruins, but is probably best known for being the player who high-sticked Maurice Richard in 1955, setting off the sequence of events that got Richard fined and suspended for the balance of the season and playoffs. This, of course, led to the Richard Riot of 1955 which some credit as a catalyst for the Quebec nationalist movement.
That’s actually quite a lot to lay on one person.
I won’t show all five cards here, since if I finally have posting material (we moved and everything went on hiatus for ages), I might as well use it. I will add Pete Conacher, though.
Pete is one of the famous Conacher clan, son of Leaf legend Charlie. He didn’t have quite the size of his father nor the full level of success, though he would score 19 goals in ’53-54, which was a pretty good total. For anyone who though the early 2000s were a dead-puck era, they had nothing on the early 1950s. He’d play 229 NHL games, but would play in the AHL until 1966.
This is an example of one of the staged shots. Parkhurst probably licensed this image from Quaker Oats, Bee Hive Corn Syrup or one of other the companies that arranged the various promotional pictures that were available to kids at that time. Still, with the boards in the background and some painted-in spectators, it fits in.
I’m liking this set a lot more than I used to. I’ll have to keep an eye out for bargains.
There was an album available for this set as in 1952-53, but not as many must have been ordered. These cards rarely show album damage, while 1952-53 show it all the time.