A rare copy of the first ever Panini World Cup sticker album could fetch a record price at auction – after spending decades gathering dust in a garage and nearly being eaten by mice.
Andrew Knott, 65, was given the already-complete sticker book from the Mexico 70 world cup as a 12th birthday present from his auntie 53 years ago.
It features some of football’s biggest legends – including England’s Bobby Charlton, Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer, Portugal’s Eusébio and Brazil’s Pelé.
The album commemorating the tournament from over half a century ago could now fetch between £1,200-£1,800 when it goes under the hammer on December 5.
If it sells for the higher estimate, then the price would surpass the record-breaking £1,550 achieved for another 1970 Panini album back in 2018.
The nearly complete edition of the first ever Panini World Cup sticker album which was gathering dust in a garage for more than half a century
The album includes England football legends Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton. It is estimated the album could fetch as much as £1,800 when it goes under the hammer
The rare album was given to Andrew Knott, 65, for his 12th birthday – more than half a century ago
Andrew, of Arthingworth, Leics., said: ‘As my 12th birthday present, it was amazing to be presented with the complete album, although the fun of swaps in the playground with my friends was lost on me.
‘But after years of it sitting in the garage without any attention, the time is right to part ways with it.
‘The mice got the other footballing programmes and material that it was stored away with, but thankfully Panini was off the menu for them.’
Auctioneers say as the first Panini World Cup sticker album ever produced, it is a ‘highly coveted’ item for football collectors.
The memorabilia will be offered in near-complete condition by Gildings Auctioneers in Market Harborough, Leics.
That is because two stickers featuring the Jules Rimet Trophy and the Moroccan Football Federation badge were lost in storage.
Apart from the missing stickers, the album comes with secure staples, no additional writing added and only ‘minor wear and tear’ to the front cover.
Gildings director, Will Gilding said: ‘We’re delighted to be offering Mr Knott’s rare piece of World Cup memorabilia to auction.
‘Panini stickers are highly sought after by collectors, and to this day they are traded in playgrounds across the world.
‘So, the chance to own this original example of a childhood tradition with such an enduring appeal presents an unmissable opportunity for collectors.’
The 1970 World Cup, which was won by Brazil, was the only time during that decade that England qualified for the tournament.
Arriving in Mexico as world champions, great things were expected of the Three Lions but they were knocked out against West Germany in the quarter finals.
On the day, the team suffered a blow when goalkeeper Gordon Banks pulled out at the last minute due to a stomach upset.
Despite the setback, England led until the 80th minute before conceding in extra time to lose 3-2 following a winning goal by Gerd Müller.
Andrew Knott, 65, with the rare edition of the first ever Panini World Cup sticker album which is due to go under the hammer
The football sticker album includes legendary icons such as Brazil’s Pele, Germany ‘s Franz Beckenbauer, Portugal’s Eusébio and England’s Bobby Charlton
Football stickers are still traded on playground across the world and also collected by many football mad fans
Their next World Cup appearance would not be until 1982, when despite being unbeaten, they were knocked out by hosts, Spain, following a 0-0 draw.
Panini was set up in 1961 as a family business in Modena, Italy.
In 1970 the first international set of cards with English, French and German text, was distributed by Thorpe & Porter, who were based in Thurmaston, Leicester.
Andrew’s aunt worked at Thorpe & Porter and had the album printed for him at her workplace as a birthday present.
Mr Gilding added: ‘After over a half a century in storage not far from its origins in Leicester, we’re looking forward to finding a new home for this special item on behalf of Mr Knott.
‘With interest sure to come from the UK and abroad, we’re excited to see where that will be.’