AS Panini fever sweeps the nation The Sun meets the man with over 400 completed sticker albums.
World Cup fever is taking over the world – in the form of Panini’s 2014 World Cup sticker album.
Thousands of children, and an alarming number of adults, have joined the craze in a desperate bid to complete the 639-sticker-strong album before the big kick off next month.
But for one man collecting the 50p stickers is far more than a phase – it’s a family tradition spanning nearly 40 years.
Pavle Djordjevic, 25, has over 400 completed sticker books dating back as far as 1958.
“Collecting football stickers has been a hobby in our family since the 70‘s” he says.
“My father used to collect them, so my brother and I carried on the tradition. Last time I counted, my collection included over 400 complete sticker albums and 40 full trading card sets.”
While most of us see collecting the five-sticker packs a race to finish before our mates, Djordevic insists he does it only for the love of collecting.
“Collecting is about the people, not the piece of paper. Football stickers have a way of bringing all sorts of different people together. Doctors, mechanics and shop assistants can all have something in common with a 5 year old.
“Part of the buzz is when someone helps you complete your collection; it doesn’t matter if they’re from China or Spain”
Serbian-based Djordevic, trades stickers and albums with other collectors online, from all over the world. Although most people he’s swapped with are genuine swappers, looking to boost their sticker books, he has fallen foul of one internet fraudster, which cost him hundreds of pounds worth of his collection.
“A collector from abroad scammed me in a trade and I lost over £600 worth vintage albums. Sending that parcel to a complete stranger and getting nothing in return is not something I am proud of,” confesses the stickaholic.
Eager to protect fellow collectors from the same problem, Djordevic now runs a successful blog, which attracts 50,000 users a month. The site tells others about the pitfalls of having such a valuable collection – as well as being a place fans can swap stickers and albums.
“I wanted to warn other people about this guy, so I created a blog, Cardzreview.com. Now people around the world have somewhere to share their thoughts, problems and joys about football stickers.”
Like many of us, he’s reluctant to answer when asked how much he’s spent on his collection, but he’s aware the long-standing family tradition is now worth a lot of money.
“The Brasil campeão Mundial de Futebol from the 1950’s is quite valuable. It’s so old you have to glue the stickers into the album. The most treasured sticker in the set is of Brazilian icon Pele, which sells for around £100 online.”
Despite the huge price tag, there’s no chance of him selling his 400 sticker books as the excitement of peeling and sticking is something you can’t put a price on.
Football stickers mean a lot to him but recently he parted with some of his prized books, to help raise funds for flood victims in his native Serbia.
And while most of us are frantically spending and chasing our missing stickers, Djordevic, who is yet to complete his Panini 2014 World Cup sticker book, has somehow mastered the art of control.
Unlike the rest of us, he manages to not tear open as many packets as he can in one day.
“I could have bought a complete album right away online, but then it wouldn’t be fun. I want to enjoy every single pack I open. I have few boxes, but I only open 3 packs per day,” he tells me.
“Collecting is a process, it’s not a phase. People strive to get that last missing sticker as soon as they can and when they do, they quit collecting because it’s not fun anymore.
“It’s important to get most out of your collection by enjoying the whole process, sharing the passion with family and other collectors.”
While many of us only started buying the Panini World Cup stickers because our friends are doing the same, for this avid this is just one more book to continue the family tradition.
“I see it as a hobby; it’s not about the value of the albums. If we look it that way then we are dealers – not collectors. I collect because it makes me happy and happiness is priceless.”
2014 PANINI WORLD CUP STICKER FACTS
- Eight million packets of stickers are sold EVERY DAY (50p each containing 5 stickers)
- They’re so popular in Columbia there’s a black market for phoney stickers
- Thieves in Brazil recently stole a van containing 300,000 stickers
- A complete 1980 World Cup in Mexico album was listed on eBay for £2,300
- Panini produce 750 MILLION stickers a week – All in equal measure so none are rarer than others
- Panini say they’ll sell enough stickers to stretch to the Moon