Every four years, collectors come together to enter the wonderful world of the Panini World Cup collection. For over 50 years, Panini has brought sheer joy and excitement to millions of fans across the globe to celebrate the high-profile tournament. To many, Panini’s albums are a representation of their schoolyard memories and pure childhood joy. They become heirloom pieces on their shelves, and a tradition to act out every four years.
Despite the fact that the FIFA World Cup itself has been ongoing since 1930, Panini did not make their World Cup debut until 1970. If you are an avid collector, you would know that collecting their sticker and card albums is a vital part to celebrating the tournament and making the experience worthwhile. Since the World Cup in Qatar is right around the corner, we thought there was no better way to celebrate than to take a look back on the past albums that Panini has brought to us and where it all began!
1970, Mexico – Stickers
Album Pages: 48 Number of Stickers: 288 Champion: Brazil
Panini’s first World Cup collection began in 1970 with the tournament in Mexico. Unlike the self-adhesive stickers we have now, the majority of the stickers in this collection had to be stuck down with glue. Today, this is the most rare and expensive Panini Album selling for anywhere between 2500-5000 euros.
1974, Germany – Stickers
Album Pages: 48 Number of Stickers: 400 Champion: West Germany
After a great success with their Mexico 70 album debut, Panini released their first worldwide album, München 74. It contained 400 self-adhesive stickers, and became the first Panini album to be translated into six different languages.
1978, Argentina – Stickers
Album Pages: 48 Number of Stickers: 400 Champion: Argentina
The Argentina 78 album is fairly similar to the past years’, but this one now contains city stickers. The launch of their 1978 album was their most successful tournament sticker album to date as they took stronger control of distribution and a new office in the UK. However, there was no real difference in layout or special features.
1982, Spain – Stickers
Album Pages: 48 Number of Stickers: 427 Champion: Italy
This revolutionary World Cup album introduced shiny stickers to the market, which were a first of their time. Their ‘shinies’ were a stand-out for the collection along with the extra foil’s stickers of the World Cup trophy, tournament logo, and the mascot of that year.
1986, Mexico – Stickers
Album Pages: 48 Number of Stickers: 427 Champion: Argentina
The 1986 World Cup was the second to be held in Mexico, and is famously known for the actions pulled off by Argentina’s Diego Maradona. The album featured a busy cover for a change, and an Avant Garde light font that caught the eye of collectors.
1990, Italy – Stickers
Album Pages: 50 Number of Stickers: 448 Champion: West Germany
Picturesque photos of the host cities filled the opening 5 pages of the 1990 album, along with a collection of trendy 90’s designs. Tournament branding was taken to an extra level with this album, and many design changes were made to include two goalkeeper stickers for each team.
1994, USA – Stickers
Album Pages: 48 Number of Stickers: 444 (International) Champion: Brazil
Talk about host identity! The exterior and first few pages of the USA 94 album featured everything that identifies with the United States. Stars and stripes were featured to distract from the fact that no official World Cup branding was featured, and the stickers showed off the representation of the 90’s mullet.
1998, France – Stickers
Album Pages: 64 Number of Stickers: 561 (International) Champion: France
In 1998 the World Cup increased their number of participants to 32, causing Panini to increase their number of pages. This was their largest album at the time, and once again an official licensed product, unlike USA ‘ 94. Unfortunately, they faced multiple image problems revolving around the licensing and agreement with multiple national teams leaving collectors with uncompleted albums. Some team images don’t feature the team’s logo, national flags, or group photos.
2002, Korea/Japan – Stickers
Album Pages: 64 Number of Stickers: 576 (International) Champion: Brazil
Panini embraced the growing technological age by launching a statistics and image packed website alongside the release of the Korea/Japan album. Sales of the Korea/Japan sticker collection did well but didn’t reach the sales level they were hoping to see since the tournament was being hosted by two different countries.
2006, Germany – Stickers
Album Pages: 72 Number of Stickers: 597 (International) Champion: Italy
In 2006 all of the stops were pulled out when they released an album containing 72 pages. This album brought back the proper reputation that Panini was holding before the upsetting releases of the last two years. The Germany 2006 album brought back the fun to sticker collecting, and was also the first album to have official update stickers.
2010, South Africa – Stickers & Cards
Album Pages: 72 Number of Stickers: 640 (International) Champion: Spain
Running off of the success of the Germany 2006 album, Panini collectors had high expectations. The 2010 World Cup album featured the most stickers yet, and each nation received an identical double-page spread made up of 17 player stickers. This was the first time since Argentina 1978 that each team had the same number of stickers for each nation. As well, this was the first year they released a World Cup Adrenalyn XL card collection.
2014, Brazil – Stickers & Cards
Album Pages: 72 Number of Stickers: 640 Champion: Germany
The FIFA World Cup Brazil sticker album became Panini’s biggest-selling sticker album up to that time. Germany may have spoiled Brazil’s win on their home ground, but Panini was thriving selling hundreds of millions of stickers in the UK alone, and their first ever hardcover sticker album. Complimenting the sticker album came the Adrenalyn XL card collection, as well as the first Road to World Cup sticker album include 396 stickers of the teams featured in the qualifying rounds!
2018, Russia – Stickers & Cards
Album Pages: 80 Number of Stickers: 682 Champion: France
Panini hit a home run in 2018 going all out for the tournament in Russia. First came the Road To Russia sticker album in 2017, ahead of the main offering, then came the official Adrenalyn XL card collection. In the official sticker album, collectors could now find the England national team in proper uniform since Italy 1990. There was a nod to past ‘Legends’ in this year’s album, and each team was now given 20 stickers to be found. Albums varying in color and material were released in different places across the globe creating a mystery for what collectors might find.
2022, Qatar – Sticker & Cards
Album Pages: 80 Number of Stickers: 672 Champion: TBD!
Today, the world of sticker and card collecting has expanded to include the digital world. Collectors can now redeem codes for online sticker packs, as well as swap and trade stickers with their friends online. To celebrate the 2022 tournament, Panini excited the world with four different collections: Road to World Cup Sticker & Cards, and the official World Cup Sticker & Card collections. These 2022 Qatar releases feature modern designs that are bolder and brighter than any other year!
When Panini launched their very first World Cup collector’s album in 1970, even they couldn’t have imagined the phenomenon they would create. They’ve brought children and adult collectors together to bask in the fun that is collecting and swapping.
Comment down below what albums you have been able to collect over the years! If you still need to get your hands on the newest World Cup sticker and card albums before the tournament begins, head to SoccerCards.ca where you can find everything you’ll need! You can even find the 2018 Russia sticker album or the 2006 World Cup Germany sticker box on our website to collect stickers from the past!
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