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Sticking point! Panini World Cup 2018 album will cost collectors £773 to complete, claims maths



Sticking point! Panini World Cup 2018 album will cost collectors £773 to complete, claims maths expert
Completing this year’s Panini World Cup sticker book will cost collectors £773.60, according to maths expert Professor Paul Harper. That is double the cost for the 680-space book that came out for the 2016 European Championships in France. The steep increase in cost is due to the fact Panini have put packets on sale for 80p each, which represents a hefty 60 per cent rise from the last international tournament. The pages contain 32 squads of players, plus managers, stadiums and World Cup legends, totalling to 682 stickers. Prof Harper, from Cardiff University’s School of Mathematics, worked out a formula to include the least probable number of duplicate stickers. In the end, he demonstrated that on average you would need to buy 4,832 stickers – or 967 packets – to complete the Italian-made book.  One cost-effective method is to swap stickers between friends. With 10 friends swapping, it could still cost them an average of £247 each to complete the album, according to Harper’s calculations. However, that tactic is still redundant in the grand scheme of things with the cost involved still risking pricing out young children who used to be able to afford a packet or two with spare change from their lunch money.    In a statement, Panini said: ‘If you have difficulty swapping, you can send off to Panini for your missing stickers. ‘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.’   Harper has found that over the yeas completing stickers books has gradually become more expensive with Panini working out ways to create larger albums. He said: ‘I can still recall the joy of finally completing my first Panini album as a young boy for the 1982 World Cup in Spain. ‘Filling an album has become progressively more expensive over the years since then, not just because there are typically more teams competing now, but because Panini have become more creative about allocating spaces.’

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