Got, Got, NEED! The Wonderful World of Panini Stickers

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This summer's festival of football sparked near- Panini sticker hysteria, as schoolchildren up and down the country flocked to their local newsagents to snaffle up much-loved stickers of their favourite footballers. Not to mention the legions of grown men who did so too. Here’s everything you need to know about the craze. 

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Quick history of Panini stickers

The Panini stickers story began in 1960, when two Italian brothers, Benito and Guiseppe Panini, came across a collection of stickers that an Italian company was struggling to sell.

The Paninis bought up the stickers, selling them in packs of two for 10 lire apiece. They were an instant hit, and it wasn’t long before the brothers had sold 3 million packs. The following year they decided to make their own and sold 15 million packets. And voilà, a trend was born. 

Pic: Julio Cortez/AP/Press Association Images
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3 cool old-school Panini football sticker albums

1. München 74

The only thing cooler than a current Panini album is a retro Panini album, and this one from the 1974 Munich tournament has vintage appeal in spades. These are hard to come by, which means they can command a real premium. 
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2. Mexico 70

When Mexico hosted in 1970, Brazil were the victors with a team that included the likes of Pelé, Rivellino and Jairzinho.

Many say it was the best international football team ever, which only makes the Mexico 70 Panini book of football stickers even more collectable.

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3. Mundial 82

Italy took home the trophy at the 1982 tournament, which was held in Spain.

The album produced to celebrate the tournament is suitably design-savvy, and features one-time England greats like Kevin Keegan, Glenn Hoddle and Peter Shilton. 
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How to swap Panini stickers on social media

Social media is a fantastic tool for Panini collectors. Small wonder, then, that in the weeks leading up to this year's festival of football, online swaps reached crazy levels.

The best part is that it’s so easy. Simply list the stickers you need on sites like Gumtree or Craigslist, or plead your case via Twitter or Facebook. Failing that, you can join a forum, or even download the Panini Collectors’ app. Remember that some of the very rarest Panini stickers can be quite valuable.
 
This is a great way to get to know other collectors. It also means you can avoid having to buy your last remaining stickers from Panini, which purists see as cheating. 

Pic: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport
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How to create your own Panini album

Panini and football are inextricably linked, but did you know you can create your own online Panini sticker album? Send your favourite photos off to Panini, who’ll turn them into stickers.

You can then paste these into your own bespoke album. It makes a great birthday or anniversary gift, and it’s certainly an original take on the wedding album.

Pic: Andre Penner/AP/Press Association Images

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3 great Panini news stories

1. The football fan who completed his football sticker book in just 6 weeks
 
One dedicated Panini collector managed to complete a whole album in record time, thanks to Facebook and Twitter. He bought around 180 packets of stickers before joining a Facebook group of collectors. This meant he could join a Panini sticker swap, allowing him to track down hard-to-find players like England star James Milner. 

2. The 'Panini Cheapskates' who drew their own stickers
 
And if all else fails, you can always do what these two did. Just buy a pack of crayons and draw in any missing players yourself.  

3.  The men who stole £400 worth of Panini stickers 

To give you some idea of how big the Panini craze is, three men old enough to know better were caught on CCTV pinching £400-worth of stickers and albums from a supermarket. 

Pic: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport
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