50 years ago the Panini figurines started to be sold at newspaper kiosks and that’s where they still can be found today. The series runs from the most famous collection Calciatori Panini which is dedicated to Italian soccer players to a collection of Disney animated feature films.
The Panini brothers started this business in 1961. They bought a lot of old stickers and started packaging them in pairs. Since then the company has been bought and resold by both foreign and Italian owners, but today its headquarters is still in Modena. Since the company was born it has sold about 25 billion Panini figurines.
To celebrate their 50th anniversary Panini has opened an exhibition in Rome that offers not only a look at their past albums, but a more intimate perspective on the ideas and values that shaped the company as well as the emotions they stirred in so many Italian children who hoped that the next pack they opened would contain the last figurine needed to complete the album. I bet that when they started they didn’t realize what they were about to create. In fact, I doubt they could have imagined how something so small could become a culturally important trend that would define the childhoods of an entire country.