Lima, Apr 20 (EFE).- The return of the Peruvian national team to the World Cup after a 36-year absence has spurred a boom in sales of player trading cards and stickers across this South American nation.
In the country’s capital, obtaining all of the stickers to fill the official Panini FIFA World Cup album is no easy task, as the products sell out in a matter of minutes.
Oscar Pizarro, sales manager of the Tai Loy chain of school and office supply stores, an authorized dealer, said the shops sold 140 tons of stickers within the first 10 days of their release.
“We are all in this fever and euphoria,” Jose Luis, a collector who shows up at the local mall every day to trade his stickers with other avid fans, told EFE, adding that he has not been able to complete the album despite having already opened four packs.
The large packs – each containing 520 stickers – sell for 215 soles ($66), while a five-pack goes for 2.50 soles (78 cents).
On the street, however, a large pack will set you back 280 soles ($87), while collectors are paying as much 2.50 soles apiece for stickers of the most popular players, such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
Stickers of Peruvian internationals Paolo Guerrero, Raul Ruidiaz and Miguel Trauco also command a premium.
But the most coveted stickers are the ones featuring a gold background emblazoned with the World Cup logo or the emblems of the national teams, for which enthusiasts are willing to spend up to 30 soles ($9.33).
Amid the countrywide craze, counterfeiting has emerged as an issue, evinced by this week’s police seizure of around 20,000 counterfeit albums from a warehouse in Lima.
Some members of the national team, such as Luis Advincula, have shown their own enthusiasm for the stickers on social media, proving that no one is immune.