By the Box (Retro): 1991-92 Parkhurst

Posted on 30th November 2011 by hockeymedia in Reviews | Tags:


Funny how time flies. For all the attention we gave 1951-52 Parkhurst and its 60th anniversary, another significant Parkhurst milestone flew under the radar: 20 years since Parkhurst made its re-debut in the hockey card market.

The brainchild of Dr. Brian Price, the 1991-92 Parkhurst brand was produced by Pro Set Inc. and issued in three separate releases. The new Parkhurst cards were nothing like the old Parkhurst cards, but much more like the modern cards from 1990-91 and 1991-92.

Cards featured full-colour action photography on the front and year-by-year stats with a lengthy player story on the back. The cards also featured a gloss finish on the front and back.

So what did a box of 1991-92 Parkhurst offer hockey collectors of the 1990s? Well, there were no special cards like autographs or memorabilia cards. There were 10 chase cards, one of which was a Santa Claus card (which for whatever reason was a popular hockey card depiction of the time). There were also 17 rookies in Series 1 and another 48 in Series 2, but none of them were tougher to find than the veterans.

Series 1 and Series 2 were sold in packs, with 12 cards in each pack. Series 3 (the update) was sold as a stand-alone 25-card series (451-475). A box of Series 1 or Series 2 offered 36 packs, so 432 cards (36 x 12) was more-than enough to complete a 225-card series.

The first two series were also available in either English or French, so translators had plenty of work to redo the card backs for the French series. The update cards were not available in French, so a complete French series stops at card 450.

Reading the card backs, it is significant to note there is not much in today’s hobby that offers as much text. You will spend more time reading the card backs from a pack of 1991-92 Parkhurst then you will reading the card backs from a box of 2011-12 O-Pee-Chee.

Actually, many collectors also rated the 1991-92 Parkhurst better than the 1991-92 O-Pee-Chee series. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Parkhurst and O-Pee-Chee (Topps) went head-to-head in the hockey card market. Parkhurst stopped producing cards after 1963-64 while O-Pee-Chee (and Topps) continued through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. O-Pee-Chee was considered the “victor”.

After Parkhurst’s sudden re-entry in 1991-92, the Parkhurst brand was considered better than O-Pee-Chee. (In truth, Parkhurst vs. second-year O-Pee-Chee Premier was a much better comparison, but Parkhurst also won that fight with collectors).

The Parkhurst brand was issued for five-consecutive years until 1995-96 (after which Brian Price briefly left the hobby). The brand returned for three more years under the Price-led In The Game company from 2000-01 to 2002-03.

In 2005-06 and 2006-07, Parkhurst was produced for two final seasons by the Upper Deck Company (who in 2005 won the exclusive rights to produce NHLPA cards). Parkhurst has not been seen or heard since, although we for one would love to see it make a comeback.

As for the 20th anniversary celebrations, we busted a box of 1991-92 Parkhurst French (Français) Series One. We (nearly) collated the 225-card set and enjoyed reading the backs of our favourite stars from yesteryear like Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull and Mark Messier.

BY THE BOX: 36 packs of 1991-92 Parkhurst

Courtesy Jim Cregan and Jim’s Sportscards of Ottawa, ON
• 224 cards from the 225-card base set
• 3 PHC inserts and 1 Santa Claus card
• 198 “doubles” (towards a second set) and 10 “triples”

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