Only 20 Royal Desserts hockey cards in total have been graded by PSA—a mere 8 of which exceed the "Authentic" tier, with the highest-graded being VG-EX 4. How many Howes exist in the PSA Pop Report? Just 4. What's more, combing through auction results of the past 15 years, we can find no record of a single Royal Desserts Howe card ever having surfaced individually for public sale...until now. The “original six” icon was neatly extracted from a period pudding box and presents on par with the few other known specimens. Despite general handling including corner creasing and evenly rounded corners, the overall presentation remains bright and attractive. The facial region of the prolific scorer is neatly outlined in pencil while the reverse displays writing notations frequent to Royal Desserts cards. As a point of reference on value, we previously offered #6 Leo Reise (PSA Authentic) and #7 Red Kelly (raw) back in 2011-12 and saw impressive results of $6,500 and $7,000 respectively. Obviously, neither of those figures—or any of the set's other ice stars—come close to matching the caliber of "Mr. Hockey." The sky's the limit with this regional classic!
“Mr. Hockey” Collection Intro
There has never been—and never will be—another Gordie Howe. And not just in hockey but in all of professional sports. He’s a true-blue original who combined the raw talent and Golden Boy mystique of Mickey Mantle, with the guts and grit of Johnny Unitas, with the dazzling versatility of Oscar Robertson, with the age-defying longevity of George Foreman. He was John Wayne on the ice.
Idol of Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky, both of whom declared him the best ever, Mr. Hockey was a Red Wing star before either of them were even born…and he was still skating in the pros when Bobby retired and the Great One debuted. What’s more, “Old Elbows” never lost his famed fierceness and tenacity. Here was a legend who spawned the term “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” (goal, assist and fight) and whose injuries included over 300 stitches; a fractured skull; and broken ribs, wrist and toes. All in all, Howe suited up 2,421 times during 32 pro seasons in 5 different decades, capturing 6 MVP awards and 4 Stanley Cup championships. But of all his myriad achievements, Mr. Hockey has always said that the single greatest thrill of his unparalleled career was playing alongside sons Mark and Marty for 5 seasons in the WHA. And that should tell you everything you need to know about the man himself: For all his ferocity in the rink, Gordie Howe is a devoted family man, a humble hero, a class act, a kind and generous soul with a heart of gold.
Over the past half-century, one Detroit-born die-hard fan has followed Howe’s life and times as closely as anyone and has amassed arguably the premier Howe collection in terms of depth and breadth. It is no exaggeration—indeed, it’s practically an understatement—to say that our consignor has endeavored to collect every last souvenir under the sun featuring Gordie’s name or image. An accomplished artist in his own right, our consignor has even expressed his adoration by painting Howe using solely the NHL/WHA team colors of the Red Wings, Houston Aeros, New England Whalers and Hartford Whalers, and then personally acquiring his subject's signature on the portrait to boot!
Cards, magazines, programs, scorecards, tickets, buttons, posters, banners, pennants, advertising, endorsed items, limited-edition prints, calendars, photos, artworks, sculptures, game-used equipment, board games, autographs, retirement mementos—this and so very much more will be presented over the next several H&S auctions. And so it with pride and pleasure that we now kick off the “Mr. Hockey” Collection with this exclusive showcase of 6 elite offerings, highlighted by Howe’s ultra-rare 1952 Royal Desserts card; his 1960s Red Wings game-used stick; a near-complete 1949-2007 Hockey News run of Howe covers; and a one-of-a-kind 1970s WHA Houston Aeros banner declaring “Howe Sweet It Is.” We couldn’t agree more—and Howe!