‘Duplicates’ was at one point or another the favourite word of nearly every single Maltese person, with many an afternoon spent exchanging stickers. Even those of us who weren’t really into football could still be seen with packs of the Panini stickers, and a quickly-scribbled list of three digit numbers to remind them which ones they still needed to collect. And if collecting stickers was a pilgrimage, then Valletta’s Anastasi was definitely mecca.
In their latest short Tells interview clip, V Squared sat with Dominic, owner of the iconic shop in the capital which collectors have been flocking to for the last 48 years. Dominic’s own passion for the hobby clearly ended up becoming a lifelong career.
In the short, four-minute clip, Dominic runs audiences through the shop’s never-ending collection, which even includes Panini stickers from past collections. And while some of them are veritable holy grails (did you know the Mexico ’70 sticker album sells for €1,500?!), others are the regular collection of duplicates that Dominic sifts through to help people complete their collection.
“We do not offer this service before the end of the World Cup,” Dominic explains. “I would like to watch the football, not work. I think I deserve that much, no?” he trails off with a smile.
Nearly five decades and literal millions of sold stickers later, Dominic has obviously collected some hilarious or insane stories of his own.
At one point, he recalls arriving at 7:30 in the morning to open the shop, only to see a boy who had been waiting outside for a whole hour. On another occasion, his shop had sadly been robbed, but the only thing the perpetrators took were a collection of stickers. “Those are truly fanatics,” he remarked.
You might think sticker collecting would be a hobby reserved for young children, but Dominic knows best.
“Fathers claim they buy for their kids… not really! They’re actually buying for themselves,” he smiles, seeing right through them. “Politicians, magistrates, everyone comes in here. Recently, government and opposition members were exchanging stickers, supposedly on behalf of their children. Together, they were giving each other stickers, an endearing gesture.”
Clearly, nearly half a century later, collecting and exchanging Panini stickers is still the unifying phenomenon was all those years ago. And it’s great to know that, come what may, Dominic Anastasi’s iconic Valletta shop will still be there to satisfy all your collecting needs.