The 2014 World Cup is nearly upon us and for some people that can only mean one thing – it’s time to start collecting football stickers.
Children, and adults, who have bought their Panini World Cup sticker album, which was released in the UK on March 27, are busy buying and swapping stickers in a bid to complete it before the tournament begins in Brazil on Thursday, June 12.
Trying to complete the album can become quite addictive, and for every collector there will be a player that seems to pop up in every packet they buy, while others remain annoyingly elusive.
Although aimed at children, many adults who started collecting the stickers in their younger days have continued into adulthood.
Carl Willmer got in touch with the Northants Telegraph via Facebook and said: “I’ve started collecting them, taking me back to my childhood. In fact starting the 2014 album has spurred me on to complete my 1996 Merlins Premier League album.”
One collector, who just wanted to be called Robert, said: “I’ve been collecting since the mid-1970s. I spent every penny of my pocket money as a child and now spend £10 to 15 a week.
“I do dozens of swaps, sell on eBay, use online swap forums or keep them in a box in the attic until they are thrown out unwittingly by the wife.
“There is always one player you get 40 or so times.”
Newsagents in Kettering town centre said the stickers are popular with adults and children alike.
Mr Patel, who owns S & S Newsagents in Newland Street, said the stickers were proving to be “reasonably popular” and added: “It’s mainly children who come in for them. Once they start collecting they keep coming in.”
The shop manager at Allan’s Newsagents in Silver Street, Mr Patel, said: “The World Cup stickers have been very popular.
“It has been mainly adults buying them but they could be buying them for their children. I’m not surprised at how popular they are, this kind of thing always is.”
Jen Hughes, from Asda in Kettering, said hundreds of packs had been sold in the past few weeks. She added: “They have been very popular.”
According to a national newspaper a teacher in London has worked out the average Panini sticker collector will have to buy 4,505 stickers to complete the album, which has room for just 640 stickers.
His figure is so high because it assumes the collector will not be able to swap his duplicates with other collectors.
The experience of Tracey Lawson backs up the teacher’s claim of the number of stickers needed and how the costs add up. She said: “My eight-year-old has been collecting for a while now. He’s just over half filled it. Devastated when we sat and worked out how much we’ve spent so far.”
Kerrey Healey suggested, via Facebook, that town centres should organise swap days. She added: “If you run out of swaps, sell your stickers for 10p each to help buy more packets.”
Despite the frustration of trying to complete the album, it has proved a hit. The Panini World Cup album website reports that the company has run out of its 50-sticker packets and free album offers as well as its 50-sticker packs offer.
The website does, however, allow collectors to buy their last 100 missing stickers. But that’s cheating – surely.
Who were the Paninis?
Panini is an Italian comics and collectibles company that has been manufacturing football stickers since the 1960s.
It is named after Benito and Giuseppe Panini, the brothers who founded it in 1961.
It brought out its first World Cup album for the 1970 tournament in Mexico and a complete album from that time was available on eBay recently for £1,800.
It can cost up to £200 to complete an album. 1970 was also the year the company started to sell self-adhesive stickers instead of users having to glue them in.
In 2010 the company acquired a licence to create an official sticker collection for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.