Larger-than-life Gordie Howe stands 6 feet tall on two easel-backed cardboard signs for Old El Paso and Stroh's (1997). Not to be outdone, Coors not only showcases "Mr. Hockey" on a huge 5-foot x 3-foot vinyl banner (2001) along with Magic, Berra, B. Sanders and Aaron, but then pulls out all the stops for a 28x23 tin sign. Our consignor has also compiled two three-ring albums chock-a-block with well over 100 pages of 1960s-2000s magazine/newspaper ads and other promotional ephemera picturing Howe—which truly must be seen first-hand for full appreciation of the painstaking lifelong passion it was. Included as well are: 1961 Soviet All-Stars vs. Minnesota program (Lon Keller illustration w/Howe) along with the promo and salesman's sample copies of its cover design; 19x29 Taormina's Pizza "HOWE 9" box; 18x24 Old El Paso ad posters (matching the above-mentioned stand-up sign); 19x27 2001 Coors cardboard sign w/Magic, Yogi, B. Sanders and Aaron; 1996 Corn Flakes empty boxes (2 diff.); 2000 Mr. Hockey Frosted Flakes/Toasted Oats empty boxes (2). There are also dozens of advertisements and clippings from Hockey News and Sports Collectors Digest.
“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. 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 more is being presented over several H&S auctions. And so, following up on our August auction highlights of Howe’s ultra-rare 1952 Royal Desserts card and his 1960s Red Wings game-used stick, we now offer the second installment of the vast, special “Mr. Hockey” Collection.