Best way to complete sticker collection is to buy bulk

The cheapest way to collect all of the stickers in Panini's 2018 World Cup album is to buy boxes of 100 packets a time, according to an avid collector.

Gary Gladwell, 50, from Romford in Essex, admitted the method may take the fun out of collecting the stickers a packet or a handful of packets at a time, but said it reduced the risk of getting so many duplicate stickers, or "swaps".

Mr Gladwell said so far he had bought two boxes of 100 packets, with each packet containing five stickers, for £70 per box and had only seven stickers left to complete the latest album, which has 682 spaces.

He said: "I can understand that to parents with young kids that want to buy it, it is very expensive now - but I do believe that Panini now aim at an older market as well as children.

"The reason I buy a box of stickers and other people buy a box of stickers is because you know that you're not going to get that many swaps.

"The problem with buying them for the kids is parents use different newsagents or supermarkets and you walk in and buy five packets, the next time you walk in there and buy five packets they're probably out of another box so you could be buying exactly the same ones."

Mr Gladwell, who runs the Panini Stickers Swaps World Cup 2018 Russia group on Facebook - which he said helped to keep the costs down, said he started collecting stickers when he was aged 10 in junior school when he was one of those "got, got, need" children in the playground with fistfuls of the stickers in his hands.

His interest in the hobby was reignited in 2014, and since then his collection has expanded to include a number of albums, purchased complete online - and he said he was currently collecting for 43 different editions.

Rinku Bedi, 43, from London, described himself as a "dedicated" collector and said he had completed all of the World Cup and European Championship albums since 1980, as well as collecting football cards.

"What I normally do is buy at least three boxes (of 100 packets) to start with," he said.

"I would try to trade with other people and if I can't then I would sell them on eBay, get the money back and go an buy what's left over.

"But I would definitely complete my collection, I wouldn't leave my collection unfinished."

Mr Bedi, an admin on two sticker swap Facebook groups, said he only had five stickers left to get to complete this year's book.

Of swapping on Facebook, he said: "It's really helped. Maybe five or six years ago we didn't have this much help, but with all these groups on Facebook it makes a lot of difference."

He said the increase in price of packets from 50p to 80p was putting off the parents of children who wanted to collect.

Mr Bedi added: "If you have got two boys collecting they are going to find it very expensive.

"When I started they were 7p a packet.

"It is expensive now for kids... not many parents would be able to afford that."

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