After purchasing boxes of 2016-17 and 2017-18 Panini NHL Stickers this summer, I decided to go “all in” and collect the 2018-19 Panini as soon as they came out. That is, instead of being thrifty and waiting for the season to end — and thus the price of a 50-pack box to drop significantly — I am going to try to build and complete this set during the season.
One reason I am doing this is because it is more fun to collect a modern set the year it comes out, instead of one or two years after the fact.
Another reason why I decided to build the 2018-19 set during this season is because I was very impressed with the collation of the 2017-18 box that I purchased, which had only 11 doubles out of 350 stickers.
Maybe Panini finally realized — after 30 or so years — that if collectors buy a full box of stickers, they don’t want to get doubles and triples within that very same box.
I recently went to a card show in Chicago, and one of the dealers was selling full boxes of 2018-19 Panini NHL Stickers for $35, so I decided to pick up two boxes. Here is my break of the first box.
About 2018-19 Panini NHL Stickers
This year’s set has 575 stickers — 434 standard “paper” stickers and 141 shiny “foil” stickers. But packs only have five stickers each, instead of seven stickers per pack like in past seasons. Usually, when Panini puts less stickers per pack, it is because the stickers are bigger — like closer to the size of a standard trading card. Not so here, as the stickers are about the same size as they were in previous years (roughly 2″ by 2.75″).
With only 250 stickers in one box, and 575 stickers to collect, building this year’s sticker set is a deceptively expensive goal.
What I Got in My Box
201 paper stickers; four were doubles.
49 foil stickers; zero were doubles.
How about that? Out of 250 stickers, only four were doubles. Even better, none of the foil stickers, which really are the short-prints of the set, were duplicates.
Some packs had one or two foil stickers, while others had none, and I averaged just under one foil sticker per pack (49 foils in 50 packs). I do wish that number was a little higher. The set is 25% foil stickers, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect one out of every four stickers to be a foil. Here, it was closer to one out of every five.
Breakdown by 100s
I wanted to see how many stickers I got in each grouping of 100.
27 paper stickers
12 foil stickers
= 39 stickers total
35 paper stickers (1 was a double)
5 foil stickers
= 40 stickers total
42 paper stickers (1 was a double)
10 foil stickers
= 52 stickers total
32 paper stickers
11 foil stickers
= 43 stickers total
34 paper stickers
7 foil stickers
= 41 stickers total
31 paper stickers (2 were doubles)
4 foil stickers
= 36 stickers total
As you can see, the box even had a pretty even breakdown by groupings of 100s. I recall in some years getting a glut of stickers from 1-200, some in the 300s, and then very few in the 400s and 500s. While the simple majority of the stickers in this box were in the 200s, I still feel like this was a pretty even spread overall.
At $1 per pack for five stickers (or $0.70 per pack if you can find a box for $35 like I did), building the 2018-19 Panini NHL Sticker set is something that would cost you well over $100. That may seem like a lot of money, and it is when you consider that there are no “rookie cards” in this set. However, the collation seems to be pretty good. The set also has a lot of variety, from bobblehead-like “caricature” stickers, to season recap stickers, to All-Star Game stickers. New collectors and seasoned collectors will all find something to like about the 2018-19 Panini NHL Sticker set. ■
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.