A friend of mine keeps his guest bathroom’s “library” populated with recent copies of AutoWeek magazine, and the other day I was making use of that library and flipping through a special insert celebrating the 100th anniversary of Maserati automobiles.
I was half skimming through a page about a Maserati museum in Modena, Italy when I was blindsided by some hobby information. Quicky Quicky summary of what I found: Nineteen historic Maseratis, which had at one point been in a company-owned museum, were about to be sent to London to be auctioned off when someone came in, bought all the cars and maintained the museum in Modena.
That someone was Umberto Panini, whose family made their fortune selling football stickers.
It was at this point that I went “Uhhhhrrrrr????”
It was at that point that I realized that I’ve heard many things about people like Abe Shorin, Sy Berger, Richard McWilliam and Frank H. Fleer, but knew absolutely nothing about the Panini family… indeed, it wasn’t until then that I even knew there was a Panini family.
When I got a chance, I did a search, and found the English-language site for the museum, known as Collezione Umberto Panini (CUP).
A little more Googling about Umberto turned up an article from Yahoo UK about the passing of Umberto Panini last December, and the effect that Panini stickers had on the youth of the UK and other European countries.
Both links are well worth checking out. It turns out that Umberto made a significant contribution to the family business by inventing the machine which cut and packaged the stickers.
…and to think I wouldn’t have known this if I hadn’t been… um… visiting my friend’s library.