The quest to complete a World Cup Panini sticker album is a worldwide phenomenon. In Argentina, adults and children queue for hours to buy stickers. In Brazil, criminals hijacked a van carrying 300,000 World Cup stickers. In the United States, you can find entire families working together in teams to complete their World Cup sticker albums.
It is a tradition for many. It is an addiction for others. For millions of soccer fans around the world, it is a World Cup ritual.
It’s an obsession I’ve had ever since I bought sticker packs for the ’78 World Cup. And for the 2022 World Cup, I am proud to say that I have completed the collection.
But with estimates that it could cost upwards of $900 to complete your World Cup 2022 sticker album, what tips do I have to save you money and time so you can complete the album too? Let’s go.
The thrill of the sticker quest
On a recent Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville, Florida, I drove to my local Walgreens which was hosting a Panini sticker swap day. An old man walked up to me and looked at the more than two dozen people outside the pharmacy. “What are you doing?” he asked. “They’re here to exchange soccer cards,” I explained.
“Football? Ahh, Qatar,” he replied, nodding knowingly. “Football is the only sport I understand.”
As he walked away I started mingling with everyone outside exchanging stickers. I was on a quest to find the last sticker I needed to complete my collection.
“I’m looking for US No. 13 Tyler Adams,” I told everyone. The scene was a mix of mothers with their children, as well as grown men and entire families. All of them were armed with lists. They were looking for the missing stickers to complete a World Cup sticker album.
Within minutes, the savior came to my rescue, offering me the prized Adams decal, to exchange for one of the double ones I brought her that she needed. With him, my collection was complete.
How to complete your album
So how did I do it?
The first step is to purchase a box or as many stickers as you can reasonably afford at your local Walgreens pharmacy. Some CVS pharmacies also have them, as well as other stores. But Walgreens, to me, is the most reliable. For example, a pack of World Cup stickers is $1.19 at my local Walgreens. With each pack you get five random World Cup decals.
Once you have a stack of stickers, the second step is to paste them into your World Cup Panini album. Below you will quickly see which stickers you need to complete your collection. At this stage, it is important to keep the faith. Even if it seems like it might be a daunting task to finish the album, you can do it.
Step three is the one that will benefit you the most. Since 2020, I use the LastSticker.com site to exchange stickers with soccer fans from all over the world. The best part is that it’s free to sign up.
Once you sign up for Last Sticker, you can indicate which stickers are missing from your collection. In addition, you list the double stickers that you have that you can exchange. Then click the ‘Find Trades’ button and you’ll find other collectors that you can message and ask to trade.
Trust me, this is an amazing website. Yes, it takes a bit of time to set it up and figure out how it works. But once it’s up and running, the site saves you a lot of time and money to exchange stickers by mail.
The power of the social media
Last but not least, the final step harnesses the power of networks. The fourth step is to sign up for free to find the next Panini trading card event. Hosted by Panini NOI USA Distributor, you can receive email or text message notifications. There is no cost to participate in the commercial events. When you attend them, you’ll find like-minded collectors looking to trade for free.
Even if you don’t complete your collection at the trade event, you can come back the following week for more trades. You are likely to see a few familiar faces each week.
Yes, completing the sticker album requires patience. I didn’t calculate how much it cost me to complete the album, but it was on purpose. It’s much less than the $900 some newspapers claim. But if you knew how much it would cost, it would take the fun out of the experience. After all, when I’m not watching football, you can find me on Last Sticker.
Photo Credit: IMAGO/Belgian
World Cup 2022 Guide
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