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22 facts you probably didn't know about Panini stickers

With Euro 2016 in full swing, sticker nerds everywhere are set for a busy couple of weeks.

THE ONSET OF a major tournament generally provides people with a good excuse to start collecting stickers.

And with Euro 2016 in full swing, millions of kids and adults with a fondness for nostalgia are taking part in what has become almost a rites of passage for any self-respecting football nerd.

But despite their popularity, not everything is widely known about these stickers. When they did come on the market first? How many stickers are sold on an annual basis? What is it that makes them endure even in this sophisticated age where there are a million different other forms of distraction and escapism for youngsters to contend with?

With that in mind, The42 recently got in touch with the folks at Panini as we attempted to get an answer for the aforementioned questions. Here’s what we found out…

  • Panini was founded in 1961 with the launch of its first Calciatori/Football Players collection.
  • The founders, the Panini brothers, had already opened a news stand on Corso. Duomo in Modena in 1945 and by 1954 had started the Panini Brothers Newspaper Distribution Office.
  • The Panini Group, with headquarters in Modena, Italy is the world leader in the collectables and trading cards market.
  • Present years sales expect to exceed 1 Billion (USD) with sales in over 110 countries, supported by 12 subsidiaries.
  • The Group has around 1,000 employees.
  • The first self-adhesive stickers were introduced in the 1971-72 Calciatori collection. Originally, the stickers were made of light cardboard, and collectors had to paste them into the album with glue. At the end of the 60s ‘celline’ – small double-sided adhesive triangles — were attached to the back of the stickers so that they could be stuck into the album without having to use glue.
  • The Swedish player Nils Liedholm, who at the time played for AC Milan and formed part of the legendary trio of forwards known as ‘Gre-No- Li’ (along with Gren and Nordhal) was the player shown on the cover of the first issue of Caliatori.
  • On average, Panini has produced 1 billion packs a year over the last few seasons. That equals 6 billion stickers!
  • A picture of Bruno Bolchi, defender and captain of Inter Milan was the first Panini sticker to be printed.
  • The first Calciatori packet cost 10 lira (around 0,5 Euro cents), and it contained only 2 stickers.
  • The Panini logo is a knight because Giuseppe Panini, who loved riddles and puzzles, invented his own crossword puzzles under the pseudonym ‘The Knight’.
  • The first Calciatori Collection sold 3 million packets, which grew to 15 million the year after and to 29 million the year after that. Panini can now sell many times this volume and so the hobby is more popular today than ever before.
  • Giuseppe Panini, who founded the Company in 1961, having previously run the Panini Brothers Newspaper Distribution Agency (1955), invented the Panini Collection. His brother Benito started with him in the business at the same time, while their other brothers, Umberto and Franco also joined the company in 1963.
  • Giuseppe Panini died on 18 October 1996 at the age of 71.
  • “Mexico 70” was the first sticker album published for the Football World Cup. This album coincided with the final edition of the World Championships, where the winning team was presented with the historic Jules Rimet Trophy, which was then substituted by the present day FIFA WORLD CUP in 1974. There have been 12 World Cup collections up until then right up until the 2014 World Cup.
  • The Panini World Cup sticker collection is sold in over 100 countries worldwide.
  • Panini can produce over 25 million packets of stickers a day; that’s over 750 million individual stickers a week!
  • They have to guess the qualifying team players before the team managers announce them in order to get the product to market in good time and so this will often lead to speculation on whose team selection is best!
  • In the UK they expect to sell enough World Cup stickers to stretch around the world, if lined up end to end’ — almost 25K miles.
  • In total the Panini Group expect to sell enough world cup stickers to stretch from here to the Moon – yes, all 239K miles!
  • The Uefa Euro 2016 collection is the 10th album released by Panini on the major football continental competition, and is a candidate to be a milestone among football — themed collections.
  • The collection consists of a 96 pages album and a total of 680 stickers, 50 of which are printed on special metallic material; some versions of the album, targeted to specific markets, include a poster dedicated to individual national teams with extra stickers.

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