Football fan nets £115,000 with unique Panini sticker of Argentina’s 2022 World Cup hero Lionel Messi

  • Henry Barrios, from Virginia in the US, is the lucky collector who bought the card
  • Read more: Can you recognise these footballers from their classic panini sticker

A unique sticker featuring footballer Lionel Messi and issued for the 2022 World Cup has sold for £115,000.

Part of a set made for collectors, it features a photo of Messi in his blue and white Argentina kit (pictured left) but was the only one to be printed with a black border.

Made by Italian company Panini, which produces books, comics, magazines, stickers and trading cards, it was in a standard pack of five that lucky collector Henry Barrios bought to put into his World Cup sticker album. 

He had bought 300 packs to kick off the album last September.

Mr Barrios, from Virginia in the US, realised it was the ‘holy grail’ of Panini stickers and decided to auction it after Messi led Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar. 

The unique Panini sticker for Lionel Messi issued for the 2022 World Cup which sold for a staggering £115,000

Argentina’s Lionel Messi kisses the trophy as he celebrates winning the World Cup

It sold for $139,000 (£115,000) at Goldin Auctions of New Jersey.

Panini had decided to issue a limited number of stickers for all 600 players in the 2022 World Cup with different coloured borders to go alongside the standard white borders.

A Goldin spokesman said: ‘The card was produced by Panini as a one of one variation of the base Messi sticker in their 2022 Qatar World Cup product.

READ MORE: Football fans will have to fork out £870 to fill famous Panini sticker books amid soaring inflation


‘Panini has released World Cup stickers for many years, but this is the first time they had 1 of 1 variations.

‘The sale price is due to the fact that Messi is widely considered one of the best players of all time and he happened to win the World Cup last year.

‘With that being said, timing is everything and the timing of the sale benefited as the product is new and desirable at the moment, but that doesn’t mean this card will not increase in value in the future.

‘It was a very lucky find by our consigner.’

The £115,000 paid for the Messi sticker is £355,000 less than the most expensive Panini sticker ever sold.

That was for one of Diego Maradona from 1980 that was bought for £470,000 at auction in 2021.

That beat the previous record for a Pele sticker from 1958 that sold for £237,000 in 2020.

Last year a Panini sticker of a young Cristiano Ronaldo from his time at Sporting Lisbon in 2002 sold for almost £60,000.

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