The sports world lost another great one Friday with the death of ‘Mr. Hockey’ at age 88. The Gordie Howe rookie card from the 1951-52 Parkhurst set is one of the most important ever made and represents the beginning of a career that began in 1946 and didn’t end until 1980.
Howe appeared on Topps’ first hockey set in 1954-55 and was still active when the company produced its 1979-80 set that featured Wayne Gretzky.
Howe’s rookie card can fetch thousands of dollars in higher grade but lower grade examples can still be obtained for $1,000-$2,000, making it one of the more attainable cards of any 20th century sports legend. His second card, in 1952-53 is a less expensive option that still captures him in the early stages of his career.
The record price for a Howe rookie card was set in 2015 when an SGC 96 (mint) example sold for more than $29,000. Few high-grade examples exist and they don’t come to market very often. Prices for PSA 8 (nm/mt) examples have doubled over the past decade. The last sale was $17,101 recorded in 2015.
Until his health made it difficult, Howe signed thousands of cards for modern era trading card products, some also featuring other icons like Wayne Gretzky when both were under contract to Upper Deck. The total number of different Gordie Howe hockey cards numbers over 3,000 according to Beckett. Many of the autographs and signed relic cards from the last 20 years are among the most sought after cards in certain products.
For a look at the current ‘most watched’ Gordie Howe cards on eBay, see the live list below.