Top 5 Panini Sticker Collections

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Panini stickers have been traded on playgrounds for decades and show no sign of lessening in popularity, with more than one billion stickers produced each year. But how do you know what's hot and what's not? Read on for a cracking top five of collectable series...
 
 
Unopened packs offer an exciting prospect
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Unopened packs offer an exciting prospect

5. 1970s and 80s football

Individual, unopened packs of Panini's football series, which would have cost pennies when they were produced, can now fetch up to £9.99. The albums might reach double figures, even if they contain few or no stickers. World Cup and European Championship editions were released every four years.
 
Every young boy eagerly traded a West Brom fullback for a Southampton striker or, even more exotically, a Chilean midfield general for a silky Algerian winger in time for the World Cup.
 
The albums were generally presented free with football magazines, such as Shoot, and feature team shots and individual pictures of the 22 teams from the top flight. As with all albums, check for the condition of the pages and the stickers themselves. Ask any sellers to send you high-resolution pictures, and make sure the postage and packaging is secure.
 
The retro football market is huge, particularly for players deemed to have an amusing mullet or name. This means that enthusiasts might be able to find the vital few stickers that have eluded them through either eBay or websites such as Stickerswapping.com. For the last World Cup there was even a Panini app that enabled you to scan in your collection so it was always to hand – proving that the old sticker albums have moved into the new technological world.
 
 
Cartoon collectables
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Cartoon collectables

4. Cartoons and movies

Panini is best known for its sports stickers, but the company has produced an extensive range of cartoon and toy tie-ins, including some dating back to the 1980s.
 
Full sets can be ordered at the Paninionline.com website, where collectors can even choose the country of the original collection.
 
However there are many collections that may still fetch a good price, as well as packets or boxes of unopened stickers, which can be worth anywhere from £1 up to treble figures. When these are opened the value will understandably plummet. 
 
Generally, any packets of stickers from the 1970s or 80s, in good condition, will have value. These include  He Man Masters of the Universe, Transformers (original cartoon), UFO, Ghostbusters, and many more.
 
With any purchase, ask for the language of the stickers and ensure that they are the correct collection; many films produced spin-off albums and cards, some of which have no affiliation with Panini. 
 
 
Shiny happy footballers
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Shiny happy footballers

3. Prizms

Panini’s shiny versions of star sportsmen, emblems, and badges in their sticker sets are always popular, but the company’s Prizm shinies are even more prestigious – and may now be worth thousands of pounds.
 
The 12 shiny designations of the cards start at with "base", which is a normal card. The Prizms are rarer and progress through various forms, including "plaid", "pulsar" and "crystal" patterns and different colours – through to "one of one" Black Prizms – where only a single card was ever produced. These will usually be legendary sports stars, and are usually autographed by the star. Most of the rarer Prizms are owned by collectors or memorabilia shops.
 
A 2012 Wilt Chamberlain basketball card was listed on eBay for $3,800. The biography of the all-time-great basket ball player on the back is accompanied by a "1 of 1" designation, meaning that cards of this type are easy to spot, even for non-experts. Bizarrely, basketball megastars such as Kobe Bryant are listed in a Fifa World Cup series.
 
Slightly more common stickers are Gold Prizms (of which 10 were made) and Gold Power of which there are five. A Gold Power Prizm Ronaldo sticker has been listed at £2,000 on eBay, while a Pele version sold for £1,200.
 
For the less rare Prizms, the first card in the set – number one of 149 – is the one to look for. In all cases the condition of the card needs to be pristine, and it needs to be in a case to keep it safe and ready for transportation. The autograph must be clear and not smudged.
 
 
Prehistoric in nature, not in price
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Prehistoric in nature, not in price

2. Dinosaur collections

There are several dinosaur collections from Panini, including a Dinosaurs Like Me album with 3D-effect stickers, and a 1980s variant that used beautiful painted pictures of creatures.
 
These collections are not worth a fortune, but some more valuable dinosaur collections exist. One very rare dinosaur sticker album from 1974 used much of the same style of painted artwork as previous collections, but in a smaller book.
 
This book, entitled Animaux Prehistoriques, may be worth hundreds or even thousands of pounds in mint condition. Even if there is damage, such as loose pages and stickers, expect to pay around £50. Look for the white cover, as a red version was released later, which is not so valuable.
 
 
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1.World Cup 1970

The Panini Brothers created the company in 1961, and launched the first World Cup album in time for Mexico 1970. It was a rather unusual square-shaped album that boasted 271 stickers across 52 pages. The competition was won by the great Brazilian team that included Pele, Tostao, Jairzinho and Gerson, while other featured stars included Bobby Charlton and Gerd Muller.
 
Because the competition featured 16 nations, various albums were produced in different languages and launched internationally for the first time.
 
Individual stickers can fetch £10-£15, including depictions of seemingly obscure players from countries that no longer exist in that format, such as Czechoslovakia and West Germany, many of which were then playing in their own nation’s leagues.
 
A completed book would be a real source of pride, but be careful not to buy recent reprints (launched to coincide with other World Cups). The difference between a page showing how the old completed sticker pages looked, and the raised profile of an authentic book with real stickers, should be obvious to collectors.
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