Tuesday August 23, 2022 – La Minute Monocle
Opinion / Fernando Augusto Pacheco
Stick to it
Since 1998, I have had a personal ritual that I repeat every four years: collecting Panini World Cup stickers. It’s a curious hobby: I’m not a football fanatic, but I’m a fan of printed products, so there’s something that draws me to the iconic and enduring sticker album. The 2022 version, for the Qatar World Cup, hits newsstands in the UK this week; it was released in my native Brazil last week. Its release has long been a key date in the calendar of football fans.
Four years ago, I visited Panini’s UK office in Tunbridge Wells to find out more about the brand’s appeal. Album sales figures are not disclosed but the World Cup is undoubtedly a profitable time for the Panini group, which is headquartered in Modena, Italy. Brothers Benito and Giuseppe Panini founded the company in 1961 and although they have many other products under their umbrella, the World Cup album is probably their most prized possession. They have been publishing sticker books since 1970. That year, Brazil won the World Cup; what I wouldn’t give for a Pelé sticker from this first issue. The most sought-after collectibles fetch gold at auction: $555,000 (€556,000) for a Maradona sticker, anyone?
These days if you go to the Panini site you’ll find a hardcover album and all sorts of extra gimmicks but, to me, nothing beats the original softcover version. This week I’ll start collecting stickers, hoping to find all 670. In Brazil there are already complaints about prices doubling from 2018, but it’s an age-old tradition that I’ll take advantage of no matter what. what does it cost.
Fernando Augusto Pacheco is Monocle 24’s senior correspondent, producer and host of “The Stack”, Monocle’s take on the world of print.