However, its breakthrough year was 1970 when it gained the rights to publish its first FIFA World Cup trading cards for the tournament in Mexico.
The cards were given multilingual captions and were offered for sale outside Italy for the first time. The craze for collecting and trading football stickers that became the norm in playgrounds in the 1970s-80s was born.
The cards from the original 1970 World Cup issue are not easy to find in quantity and in good condition. The complete album offered by Stacey’s (25% buyer’s premium) in Rayleigh, Essex, in association with Dave Alexander of Football Wanted on October 31-November 1 was the best the auction house had seen.
While the centre page (Uruguay) had come loose and there was a very small tear to the cover, it was otherwise in great condition with all stickers neatly placed in the book. Estimated at up to £2400, it took £2800.
For Panini collectors 1970 means everything. Later albums bring relatively modest sums. A complete run of five World Cup albums from 2002 to 2018 sold at £280 while five albums from the Euros dated 1976, 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2016 made £290.