Friday, December 15, 2017


history about calciatori Panini stickers

When we talk about stickers first word that comes on our mind is Panini. Panini is alfa and omega in stickers business. It all started back in 1961 with Italian Serie A albums. It is not easy to talk about beginnings of Panini stickers but I will do my best. It is hard to find collector from those ancient times (tnx Emiliano for help). I already wrote on this blog about Calciatori Panini but later more about that.

First I will try to introduce you some of football stickers that were avaliable before Panini. Of course we are talking about Italian football. In 50s and early 60s most know albums where published by: Elah, Vav, Lampo, Nannina, Enciclopedia... At that time there was many producers and distributors of the stickers. They were scattered over the whole Italy.  
For our story most important publisher is Nannina. Why? Story starts in 1960. Panini brothers found a collection of stickers that Nannina was unable to sell. The brothers bought the collection and sold them in packets of two for ten lire each. Their success was huge and unexpected. They sold three milion packets. With this success Giuseppe founded Panini in 1961 to manufacture and sell his own stickers. They did everything by their means, printing the stickers and also creating the first album. Benito and Giuseppe were operating a newspaper distribution office in Modena. Benito jointed Panini the same year. Two other brothers Franco and Umberto jointed the company in 1963. In first year Panini sold 15 milions of sticker packets. The Calciatori collection was officialy born. The following year they sold 29 milion. First album published by Panini is Calciatori 1961/62 dedicated to Serie A. Calciatori means footballers. From first Calciatori album regulary goes out every year. In the first years of Panini Giuseppe was inventor, Benito shipping manager, Umberto was tipografo and Franco administrator. Today Panini company produce lot of different stickers and cards not only about football but also about other sports, flora and fauna, movies, TV series... 

nannina gol 1960 1961
-It all started with Nannina album "Gol" 1960/61 and stickers that they were unable to sell (First Panini stickers have similarity with this Naninna stickers)

In few years Panini made the "competition" disappear. The Panini albums had a several advantages over some other albums at that time: they had photos of all Serie A teams, they were also very accurate about biography data of players. For many football fans they become the reference of footballers birthdays, matches and goals. But above all Panini invested a lot in distribution. Their goal was to get all newsstands in Italy and keep them stocked with stickers for the whole season. 
First album was printed in 4 different versions. Album have 40 pages in total and 288 stickers. On the cover of first Calciatori album is former Milan player Nils Liedholm who already appeared in sticker album in previous year by Nannina which was his last year as professional footballer. First printed sticker is former Inter player Bruno Bolchi. In the first ten years of collection stickers where sticked with glue. Stickers were printed black and white then colored by hand. The back was white. Italian champion in 1961/62 was Milan. Each club was presented with 14 player stickers plus emblem and team stickers. Final pages of album were dedicated to Grande Torino, the best team in Italy after WW2. Torino players lost their lives in Superga air disaster in 1949.
I have to say that first album is very expensive, of course, even individual stickers are very expensive like first sticker of Bolchi, emblem stickers, Udinese team sticker... Read down story about Udinese team sticker. For completed first album price on ebay is from about 4000$ to 6000$. Price of Bolchi sticker is about 60$. For other stickers prices are from about 10$ to more.    
In next edition of albums we could seen stickers of some famous players outside Italy, then team stickers of European cup, Intercontiental cup winners... There were also stickers of former Italian national team players then foreigners players in Italian football, caricatures of famous players from Serie A...

Calciatori panini 1961/62 nils liedholm
-Original picture of Nils Liedholm and first cover of Calciatori Panini album. All other covers you can see here.

-First packet of Calciatori albums. It costed 10 liras and contained two stickers. Click here for others. 

Calciatori panini milan 1961/62
-Serie A winner in 1961/62 is AC Milan. Click here for other winners.

Calciatori panini 1961/62 squadra Udinese
-Udinese team sticker 1961/62. Panini were about to start printing the album and they discovered that they are missing Udinese team photo. The album had to go out in a short time so a photographer was sent to the first game available. It was a midweek friendly game in the late afternoon. Photographer took photo but there was so little light so the sky turned out to be completely black. This sticker is famous as "The black of Udinese". Price on ebay is 141$.   

grande torino Calciatori panini
-Grande Torino from first album

First album with Serie B teams was in 1963/64. Two players were printed on one sticker
Calciatori panini varese 1963/64
-Varese Serie B champion in 1963/64. Here are other Serie B winners.

-In 1965/66 album we can see referees stickers (Raoul Righi on picture)

In 1967/68 we have Serie C teams but only emblem stickers. In this album all emblem stickers were silver and self-adhesive. In this season album appeard manager stickers but not all first league teams coaches were included. Serie B teams were presented with one sticker per player and not like in previous seasons two players for sticker. In early 2000s we also have album with one sticker per player for Serie B teams.    

Calciatori panini plaermo 1967/68
-1967/68 Serie B winner Palermo

Calciatori panini 1967/68 faustino goffi padova
-This is most rarest and expensive Panini sticker. Faustino Goffi Padova 1967/68 (Serie B). Price on ebay it's about 100$ or even more. At that time it costed about 2,5 lire. If we calculate it means that price went up for about 9000000%. Why it is so rare? According to info avaliable on net story goes like this. Panini were taken pictures of Padova players but something went wrong. Goffi picture was not of the right quality. Some corrections were needed to do. They were running out of time. His sticker was not printed in the first run. He is on the bottom left of page where we have Padova squad, immaculate kit and red border, changed. Another confirmation of post printing is this is the only sticker to have an intense fuxia border, all other Padova stickers have a pink not so strong. It seems to be printed in a different moment. Later I found one sticker more expensive then this. Look below:

Calciatori panini 1963/64 italy italia emblem scudetto
-Searching net i found this. Italy emblem from Calciatori 1962/63, with its original back side. New info says that this is the rarest and most valued Calciatori Panini sticker. Seems there are only 3, each valued around 500€.  

Calciatori panini pizaballa atalanta 1963/64   
-Another sticker quite rare was Pizzaballa, goalkeeper of Atalanta. In the 60s there were rumours that this sticker did not exist, but that wasn't truth. It was printed in same number as others. It is not clear what happened but maybe it was just about his first sticker. Part of the answer is probably the fact that he was goalkeeper of first team in album. The absence of his sticker was notice more than others. But Pizzaballa said: "How it was possible I don't know. It has always been mistery for me too. They also told me that at the time of reprinting the photos, my sticker was not possible to find and then the number of sticker began to fail."  

The theory about different printing and delays about some stickers can't be valid all times. Often Panini had to change late some kits, images or pictures due to some mistakes (wrong player, role not correct etc).

In 1969/70 we have innovation because player stickers were full-length. But some less important players from Serie A teams were presented with two players on one sticker. Profile picture were used instead of full-length like other ones. See Cagliari. In next season we also have full-lenght player pictures. From 1971 Panini publish "Almanacco illustrato del calcio". It is a yearly book with all info about Italian football. 

Calciatori panini cagliari 1969/70
-Cagliari 1969/70 

-Ernesto Castano sticker in Juventus 1969/70 and modified in next edition of album when he was Vicenza player

From 1972/73 stickers become self-adhesive and glue went to history. In this album half of the sticker was player profile picture and other part was him in so called „in play“ position. Innovation in this album was also a each Serie A club president and coach stickers. In this album first appeared team stickers for Serie C teams and emblem stickers of Serie D clubs.

-Example of Milan president sticker and one player 

In 1974/75 we could see stickers dedcated to the rules of football. Picture down:

Innovation in next album was league map. I have to add that 70s were period of experimentation especially in player stickers. Main question was are they going to be full-lenght or half-lenght. In previous albums we could se lot of stickres dedecated to other European and World teams and players. We won't see much those stickers in next editions.  

-One part of map from 1975/76 

From 1980 albums begins to take form that it has today. All player stickers were profile pictures (half-lenght).
In 1980/81 album Panini printed stickers of previous album covers for 20th anniversary. There is also a league map.

-Two pages dedecated to stickers of covers from previous albums and a league map on down picture which is much better for me then one in 1975/76

1982/83 album have one of the best cover. On that cover they paid tribute to Italy WC 1982 title glory. In the middle we can see stickers of all players that were part of Italy winning squad.

Calciatori panini 1982/83

In 1986/87 the influence of American sports, brought by private television, caused the appearance of new original stickers of Serie A and B teams. New stickers were designed of a fanciful names and logos in American style. See picture:
americana Calciatori panini

Calciatori panini serie a serie b 1987/88  
-Serie A and B mascot stickers from 1987/88

At the beginning of the 1990s Panini changed ownership. It follows a corporate crisis that also failed on the production of the Calciatori album. In 1992/93 edition of album was printed the smallest number of stickers in total (except several first editions). All other albums had around 600 stickers while this one have 524. In this album team pictures were already printed with album.
Panini crisis ended with new ownership. In next Calciatori albums innovation was color pages and the graphics also improve thanks to help of new computer technology.

1996/97 album was 35 years of Calciatori albums. On first 5 pages we can see all cover album stickers. In the same year, after a decade of absence, badges stickers of Serie C2 teams are back.

First update stickers (aggiornamenti) appeared in 1998/99. Other innovation in this album was 4 pages per team instead of two. With all updates this album have more then 700 stickers.   

thierry henry Calciatori panini 1998/99 juventus
-Juventus aggiornamenti 1998/99

First collection in third millennium is called Calciatori 2000 (instead of Calciatori 1999/00). This is first album since early 70s where were also printed coaches stickers for all teams in Serie A. All next editions have coach stickers. Also international referees were produced in this and next edition of album.

Calciatori 2001/02 had one error sticker. Reggiana (Serie C1) and Reggina (Serie B) had the same squad sticker. During season Panini printed a new Reggina squad sticker. No picture avaliable. 

2002/03 is first album with women Serie A teams. There were only emblem and team stickers. Inovation in this album is also a "schema" (style of play or tactic). Schema was printed for all Serie A clubs and was also included in update set. For example all clubs changed their style of play so Panini "updated" it. 

schema Calciatori panini
-Example of Juventus schema first one and update

primavera Calciatori panini
-In next edition of album news are Serie A clubs youth team stickers (Primavera)

supporters Calciatori panini
-2004/05 saw fan stickers. One for each Serie A team. 

2005/06 is first album with sticker "My Panini". My Panini is a sticker with your own picture. 
Calciatori 2006/07 is a kind of unique album in history. Both Serie A and Serie B had same size of stickers (Calciatori 1967/68 also had same size of stickers for both Serie A and B). Reason is because Serie B had several great teams: Juventus, Napoli, Genoa. There where also updates for Serie B teams. Also lot of collectors are disappointed of the cover of album. Panini should produce cover with tribute to Italy 2006 WC title just like they did in 1982/83.

In new editions of album we can see "Il film del campionato". On those stickers we can see some important moments from that season championship. Todays player stickers have more details like town and date of birth, height, kilos then which trophies they had won... Inovation is also a jersey stickers. We can also see stickers made of covers from "Gazzetta dello Sport". 2011/12 album have also Serie A and B referees. Innovation in 2013/14 album is 6 team stickers (something like in 1974/75). In same album we also have manager stickers for Serie B teams. With all updates this album have almost 1000 stickers (more precisely 981).  

Album Calciatori 2009/10 had error in printing. Panini forgot to assign 3rd Roma Scudetto. Panini later printed a special sticker to be sticked on the page of Roma with all the trophies they won during history. They later reprinted album with right numbers of Scudetti. At the presentation of this album in Roma, leaders of Panini told that they are sorry about this. 

roma errore 2009/10 Calciatori panini

 -Roma 2009/10 error and correction plus special sticker down
Calciatori panini 2009/10 figurina

-Sticker published in 2010/11. It was 50 years since first Calciatori album. It was numbered 00. All 50 covers can be seen in this album. 

-In 2012/13 Calciatori we can see new football rules like goal technology and spray

The official logo of the collection is former Juventus defender Carlo Parola. The symbol is inspired by him in the athletic movement in a match against Fiorentina in 1950 when he kicked the ball out of his area. He was on the several covers of Calciatori albums.

Francesco Totti is the player who has made most appearances on the Calciatori covers. While Paolo Maldini has been printed in most editions of the album (24 times).

Last season (2016/17) I had a chance to collect one of Calciatori albums. Of course it is my first (I also have 2015/16 but lot of stickers are missing) and I am very amazed with quality of album and stickers.  First stickers are holographic on which you can see emblem from Serie A and trophies. Every Serie A club have 22 player stickers, coach, emblem, team, jersey, two talented players on one sticker (Generazione Z)... Jersey sticker is fabric. For me best part of album is section called "Calciatoripedia". Very great part of album where you can read some stories about each club or players and previous stickers. Interesting part is also a "Scudetto story nelle figurine Panini" where you can see how emblem changed trough Panini albums. Of course there are stickers of Serie B teams. On last pages you can see career from Serie A players. They already published a lot of Calciatori album but they never lost the passion. Doing all this history of Calciatori Panini albums I fell in love even more with them but I don't have much money to collect. I hope my Calciatori collection will get bigger one day.  And thank you Panini for this great albums.  

Calciatori panini storia history