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7 steps to completing your Panini World Cup sticker album
For soccer fans, the countdown to this month’s World Cup started as the last one ended almost four years ago. Now, with kick-off in Brasil just over a week away, a very different countdown has begun – the race to complete the Panini World Cup sticker album.
Panini stickers are traditionally purchased out of pocket money and traded on playgrounds, but adults are increasingly (and perhaps worryingly) getting in on the action as well. There are 640 stickers to collect in total and – with time running out before the final – collectors will do just about anything for that elusive shiny.
Sticker collecting is a serious business, then. It’s also an expensive business – with one estimate suggesting that a completed sticker album will set you back as much as £450 ($750).
If that price-tag has you feeling faint, you’re probably quite sensible. However, if you’re still determined to complete your book, we’ve devised a seven point plan to get you across the line before the tournament finishes on July 13.
1. Get the sticker album
Before you go blowing your wages on stickers, you’re first going to need to get hold of an album to put them in. This is the easy part as it’s completely free from most supermarkets – almost as if tempting you with a free book will somehow work out in their financial favor. Hmmm.
The good news is that this year’s album comes with six free stickers to get you started – so, only 634 to go!
2. Share the burden
Burden is definitely the right word. Now you’re hooked on collecting, we’ll level with you – completing this album is one of the hardest challenges you’re ever likely to face. Your best chance, then, is to join forces with fellow collectors who can lighten the load. If your flatmates, friends or colleagues have also been bitten by the Panini bug – pool your resources and fill up one album between you. Just try not to come to blows over who gets to stick in the shinies.
3. The ‘value for money’ option
Given that you’re reading an article about Panini stickers, the phrase ‘value for money’ probably means very little to you. However, any experienced collector will tell you that buying in bulk is the most affordable way to do it.
Of course, the purists will argue that buying stickers by the box (each containing 100 packs) is crass. The true addicts may even tell you that such methods ‘betray the spirit of Panini’ – but the truth is they’re just jealous they didn’t think of it before you.
4. Consider raising a child
As your pile of swaps begins to grow, you’re going to need to find some swapping buddies. While many adults collect Panini stickers, most of them are ashamed of doing so – timidly requesting them over shop counters before quietly ripping open the packets beneath their desks.
Kids, on the other hand, unashamedly love stickers and the playground is the biggest marketplace around. If you’re lucky enough to have children, send them into school with your trusted swaps and have them carry out deals for you. Just make sure to give a strict briefing first, or risk them coming back empty-handed.
5. Trawl through eBay
Don’t have a child? Then it’s time to trawl eBay to hunt down the remaining stickers on your shortlist. Swaps are auctioned off in bundles of all different sizes, so you’ll need to go through the tedious process of reading through lists and finding the ones you need. We did say this was going to be difficult.
6. Download trading apps
Sticker collecting has come along way since the 1990s – and, as with most things, technology has made it easier than ever. Websites like Sticker Swapping exist to link together a network of frustrated collectors, sending swaps to one another in the post when buying new sticker packs begins to feel fruitless.
There’s also now an official Panini app, where you can scan in your collection so it’s always to hand during trading. There really is nothing worse than giving away your prized swaps in exchange for a sticker you already had.
7. If all else fails – cheat
The last ball has been kicked, and you still haven’t got your hands on all 640 stickers. It’s time to swallow your pride and buy up the last few missing stickers at the Panini website. You won’t feel good about it, but you’ll feel even worse holding onto an album that’s 90% complete and knowing that it was all for nothing. Of course, the next World Cup is only four years away.