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Panini stickers: a 60-year passion

Panini cards, 60 years of history and success that have accompanied generations of kids and an album to celebrate this milestone.

reading time3 minutes

Some things do not age, even if time passes. The legendary Panini card albums, the world’s leading Italian publishing house, have recently turned 60, but the passion is ageless and continues to grow!

A winning idea

Panini is, first and foremost, the entrepreneurial success story of eight brothers from Pozza di Maranello, particularly Giuseppe, Benito, Umberto and Franco Cosimo. In 1960, Benito and Giuseppe, who worked in the family newsagents in Modena, came up with the idea of selling an old batch of footballers’ cards from Nannina Editore in a packet for 10 lire. The packets sold out immediately and, in January 1961, Giuseppe founded Panini Editrice and printed the first album for collecting the cards. It was an instant success. Benito sent his brother Umberto, who had emigrated to Venezuela, two cards and a note that read: ‘Come back. America is here!’. Umberto thus leaves America and returns to his homeland.

The Fifimatic is invented

In the beginning, the production of the cards was essentially a manual process: glue was mixed with a shovel, and the cards were bagged by hand. But in 1963, to cope with new production requirements, Umberto Panini invented the ‘Fifimatic’ machine, still in use today (“fifi” in the Modenese dialect means card). This enabled the company to bag millions of items and become an industrial enterprise.

An international group

Today, Panini is an international group worth $1 billion, employs 1,000 people, has a turnover of 536 million euros and produces 6 billion stickers a year for the 50 collections launched. In addition, major investments made Panini the fourth-largest European publisher in the children’s sector. For its 60th anniversary, the company launched a new Soccer players album dedicated to the 2020/21 season with 748 stickers and the direct involvement of collectors and fans to choose the ‘Top Team Panini 60’ and ‘The most loved Panini’ in addition to the stickers of the historical covers of the albums since 1961 and the MVPs (Most Valuable Players) of the Serie A clubs.