Gordon “Gordie” Howe (3/31/1928) made his NHL debut for the Detroit Red Wings in 1946. Howe’s career would span more than three decades spent primarily with Detroit.
The winger-turned-defenseman remains a luminary of hockey and a prized pig for sports card collectors. Here are some of the most in-demand Gordie Howe hockey cards for your consideration.
10. 1991 Gordie Howe Parkhurst #PHC1
The Junk Wax Era is one filled with low points. The 1991 Gordie Howe Parkhurst #PHC1 is not one of those low points.
Though it’s far from the most exciting card you’ll find on the market, it’s Gordie freakin’ Howe. And, the image is strong enough to forgive any stylistic shortcomings.
The card features an aged Howe in the timeless red-on-red Detroit Red Wings uniform. He looks down at the ice, receding hairline showing his years.
The legend wears the leather gloves of a bygone era, reminding the viewer of Gordie Howe’s multi-decade career, which spanned 33(!) seasons.
Mr. Hockey is the centerpiece of the card, surrounded by only a vertical black nameplate (on the card’s left border), an ovular turquoise Parkhurst emblem, and a “Legend” graphic in the upper-righthand corner.
You may be able to track down an autographed copy for an affordable price.
9. 1966 Gordie Howe Topps USA Test Hockey #23
The 1966 Topps USA Test Hockey set has a completely unique look that you can’t help but love. The love is even greater when it’s Gordie Howe on the cardboard.
The card is set up like your grandparents’ TV set, with a faux wood border and a horizontal card layout. A grinning, green-eyed Howe commands attention as the card’s focal point.
Behind Howe’s massive headshot is an artist’s rendering of a packed arena. A white sub-border sits between the player image and the wood grain outer border.
The other design feature is a yellow and white nameplate reading “Gordie Howe – Right Wing – Detroit Red Wings”. The card has aged exceptionally well, especially considering its off-kilter concept.
Per PSA, collectors who own this card benefit from a limited number of highly-rated copies.
8. 1979 Gordie Howe O-Pee-Chee #175
By the time Gordie Howe suited up for the Hartford Whalers, he had resembled the grey-haired Paul Newman in the Slap Shot film series.
Because Howe only lasted one season in Hartford, the 1979 O-Pee-Chee #175 is something of a novelty.
The card shows Howe, grey hair on full display, in the green, gold, and white Whalers uni. He wears no helmet because Gordie Howe doesn’t need any dang helmet.
Collectors will want to target Gem Mint copies of this card, as they command significantly higher prices due to extreme rarity.
The card is standard fare for 1979. A Carolina blue outer border envelops a vibrant yellow internal banner. That banner is shaped like a prolonged musical note, with a circular Whalers logo merging into a red and green “Hartford Whalers” team plate.
A white Gordie Howe nameplate rests subtly above the yellow team plate.
7. 1964 Gordie Howe Topps Hockey #89
The 1964 Gordie Howe Topps Hockey #89 is a card focused squarely, emphatically on Gordie Howe’s face. Its tall, rectangular shape is distinct from modern-era cards.
The card certainly looks classic, with an attention-grabbing neon yellow backdrop and a bold, red “Red Wings” banner in the style of old-school boxing promotion.
Howe wears a quizzical look, with green eyes projecting the lively spirit of an all-time hockey great. He wears multiple layers of crew necks, one red and one black.
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The bottom of the card contains Topps’ standard nameplate for this era. A black backdrop gives rise to a red, capitalized “Gordie Howe” nameplate and white, lower-case “forward” text.
With a fairly finite pool of copies graded an eight or higher, this card can command a healthy (albeit not pocket-clearing) sum.
6. 2009 Gordie Howe Upper Deck Exquisite Flashback Red Wings Logo Patch Auto (/25)
With a print run of 25 cards, the 2009 Gordie Howe Upper Deck Exquisite Flashback Red Wings Logo Patch Auto card has a stable price floor.
The card mixes modern and old-school design features. The image is a throwback, featuring a helmet-less young Howe in his blood-red Red Wings sweater with a single white stripe on the sleeve.
The rest of the card is modern but understated in a way that suits Howe’s era of hockey. The red-and-white player patch sits in the card’s center, framed by an “R”-shaped cutout.
The “R” refers to the “Exquisite Rookie Patch” banner just above the image of Howe. The card’s bottom plane contains a new blue Gordie Howe autograph.
Below the autograph reads “2009-10 Exquisite Collection” in a thin, fancy-style font.
The auto-patch combination rarely fails. Throw names like Gordie Howe and Upper Deck; you’ve got one rock-solid card.
5. 1963 Gordie Howe Parkhurst #55
The 1963 Gordie Howe Parkhurst #55 is about as American as hockey cards get. It features the Red Wings winger as a life-like portrait, arms crossed in front of Old Glory.
It has the feel of a postcard for the city of Detroit. There is no nameplate, Parkhurst logo, or other design feature present. It’s simply the portrait of Gordie, grin plastered on his tan face.
Howe wears the tight-necked red Red Wings sweater, a common fixture in his best hockey cards.
The American flag imbues this card with a heavy dose of nostalgia. Older collectors may be interested in this card as a time portal to Detroit’s and America’s heyday.
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Target one of the few Mint copies PSA has entered into its books for maximum ROI.
4. 2002 Gordie Howe/Wayne Gretzky SP Authentic Sign Of Times (/99)
Adding Wayne Gretzky (and his autograph) to this card makes it unique from every other card on this list. There’s no doubt that the Gretzky auto helps drive this one’s price.
The card has a horizontal layout. A slate grey trim runs up the card’s left border, containing a series of lines and shapes, the SP Authentic log, and the /99 print run indicator.
A black “Sign of the Times” banner runs alongside the slate grey trim.
The rest of the card is where the money’s at.
Two horizontal, ticket-shaped rectangles are stacked on the card’s right side.
The top triangle features a blue Wayne Gretzky nameplate, an image of a fresh-faced Great One in his blue-orange Oilers uni, and a white slate containing a blue autograph.
The bottom triangle has the same layout but features Gordie Howe rather than Gretzky. The red nameplate reads “Mr. Hockey”, and the image features Howe in a photoshoot set, grinning at the camera with his clean-cut, All-American look.
Prices for this one are more reasonable than you might expect considering the men on the card.
3. 1952 Gordie Howe Parkhurst #88
Old age is not always considered an advantage. In collecting circles, it very much is.
The 1952 Gordie Howe Parkhurst #88 won’t knock you over with its design. It’s a drawn image of Howe in his red Detroit Red Wings gear, stick to the ice with a yellow backdrop that is apparently supposed to be the boards.
It’s an illustration you might expect to find in a children’s book of the 50s more so than a top-tier Gordie Howe card.
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However, the card is old. This means that unblemished copies are rare, so the price of well-graded copies skyrocket. PSA identifies only a handful of Near-Mint and Mint copies, which command serious cheddar.
2. 1954 Gordie Howe Topps Hockey #8
Collectors have shown love for old, drawn Gordie Howe cards. That trend continues with the 1954 Gordie Howe Topps Hockey #8.
An impressive illustration of Howe in his all-red Detroit kit occupies most of the card’s surface. He skates to his right, stick gripped by massive leather gloves as he lifts his left leg above the ice.
A sizable Red Wings logo pops amidst a white backdrop in the card’s upper-righthand corner. A laser-printed autograph is superimposed at calf level of Howe’s image.
The card’s bottom border contains a blue-and-red nameplate. The upper red portion reads “Gordie Howe Right Wing”, while the blue lower portion reads “Detroit Red Wings” in well-spaced lettering.
This design is ahead of its time. Its age, iconic look, and limited pool of Mint copies make this a pricy asset.
1. 1951 Gordie Howe Parkhurst RC #66
Parkhurst got in on the ground floor of the Gordie Howe card movement, and it’s no coincidence that two of the top three cards we’ve listed are Parkhurst’s.
The older, the better.
The 1951 Parkhurst Howe RC #66 features a crude drawing of Howe in his Red Wing reds. He sports his era’s bulky leather gloves and holds his stick to the ice in the classic hockey card pose.
The backdrop behind Howe’s cartoon image is a blue-purple gradient. A white border (faded on many cards to a beige color) stands outside the image of Howe.
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Within the white border on the card’s bottom portion is Howe’s stats from the 1950-51 season. It also features his name, position, and birthplace.
It’s a bona fide Howe rookie card, and the purchase price is stratospherically higher than the other cards on this list.
Those who want to purchase a well-regarded Gordie Howe hockey card must determine what they’re willing to spend.
If you’re looking to spend a few hundred or a couple thousand, you’ve got a few options. If you’re compelled to shell out the monetary equivalent of a new Lexus, at least one card on this list will allow you to do so.
In general, age is the name of the game when it comes to Howe. Though there are a few modern releases of note, the older offerings are leading the class.
When it comes to Howe cards, though, it’s tough to go wrong no matter which one you add to your collection.