Panini World Cup stickers: How much will it cost to fill Russia 2018 album?

Panini sticker World Cup 2018 composite
This year's book requires the collection of 682 unique stickers from the tournament. How much will it cost to complete the full album?

Every World Cup has particular milestones to get fans in the mood for the biggest tournament in football. Poring over photos of new jerseys and choosing favourites always proves popular, but one of the most momentous occasions for any World Cup fan is the release of the Panini sticker album for the competition.

This year's World Cup 2018 album has stickers from all the 32 teams involved in the tournament, players, managers, logos, stadiums and much more. In total, there are 682 stickers to collect, meaning that collectors will have to open at least 137 packs to get them all.

Packs of stickers for the 2018 World Cup sticker album cost 80p in the UK and contain five stickers. Without opening duplicates, this would mean that filling the album costs £109.60, but this price increases as you open multiple copies of the same player - known as 'swaps' in the sticker collecting community.

Professor Paul Harper is known as the expert on sticker collection calculations, having previously worked out how much the average cost of filling a Panini album would be. He estimates that the newest album requires collectors to buy 4,832 stickers or 967 packets on average to get every sticker they need, coming in at a cost of £773.60.

This figure drops dramatically if you have people to swap duplicates with, and in a group of 10 collectors, the average cost of filling an album is £247 each the professor from Cardiff University's School of Mathematics revealed in a press release.

“The first sticker you buy is absolutely guaranteed not to be a duplicate,” Prof Harper said. “The second sticker you get has a 681/682 (99.85 per cent) chance of being a new sticker.

"The third sticker you get has a 680/682 (99.7%) chance of being a new sticker, and so on.

“What is interesting is that to collect just the last 19 stickers for the book, you would still be required to buy 483 packets of stickers, or half the total number of expected packets.

"Put another way, you are only halfway through when you have just 19 stickers left to collect."

How to fill your Panini World Cup 2018 book without spending a fortune

Since Prof Harper's statements, Panini have eased collectors' concerns, offering them assistance in completing their albums.

"If you have difficulty swapping, you can send off to Panini for your missing stickers," the Italian company confirmed.

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"The theoretical cost calculated by the academics assumes that the collector is in a bubble with no one to swap with or no access to the internet to send off to our missing stickers service."

In addition, numerous communities have emerged online with collectors setting up Facebook groups and reddit discussions in order to trade their duplicate stickers for much-needed players and managers.

There also many websites committed to the same task, having offered sticker-swapping services for previous albums. Some of these even continue to trade old stickers from classic collections, and have mobile apps for iPhone and Android to allow people to swap on the move!